It is always interesting when a probability question produces a counter-intuitive result, and the following “glimpse a heart” question is a wonderful example of that:-

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## Archive for November, 2009

### Have a Heart!

Saturday, November 21st, 2009### Hard Problems

Friday, November 20th, 2009hardproblemsmovie.com is the website of a documentary made about the US team in the 2006 International Math Olympiad.

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Although American students on the whole rank well behind many countries in mathematics, American math Olympiad teams regularly finish among the top teams. While aiming to inspire and entertain, *Hard Problems* provides an insightful and thoughtful look at the process that produces successful teams, and ultimately, great mathematicians of the future

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The first part of the above quote raises some interesting questions about how educational effort should be prioritized. Does effort directed to strong performance at the top levels compensate for, or compete with, that needed to maintain the basic levels of verbal and mathematical literacy that are needed for effective democratic decision making (as opposed to the woefully ill-informed nonsense that passes for debate about health care in the US for example)?

### Mathematical Paintings

Friday, November 20th, 2009From the MathForum newsletter:

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David Crockett Johnson was perhaps most famous for his children’s book *Harold and the Purple Crayon*. From 1965 until his death in 1975, Crockett Johnson painted over 100 works relating to mathematics and mathematical physics. Of these paintings, eighty are found in the collections of the National Museum of American History. They are presented on this site, with related diagrams from the artist’s library and papers.

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### Why Math?

Friday, November 6th, 2009A couple of recent additions to the arsenal of reasons for promoting mathematics education are this recent article by Ian Stewart in the UK Telegraph and the collection of ‘Math Matters – Apply It’ posters developed by SIAM (the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics).

### Stanford Study of Writing

Friday, November 6th, 2009The Stanford Study of Writing provides a welcome counterpoint to some of the nonsense that has been put about regarding impact of the internet on literacy.

### Media Democracy Day Vancouver – November 7, 2009 | Media Democracy Day

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009### A Widening Gap

Sunday, November 1st, 2009The Back Page article by Joseph Ganem in this month’s APS News suggests that nominal content and student capability outcomes in US high school mathematics are moving in opposite directions – and attributes this largely to attempts to introduce abstract topics before the students are ready.