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Yearly Archives: 2019

They Don’t Represent Us (Part 1)

Mon, 30 Dec 2019, 11:48 PM (-06:00)

A book: “They Don’t Represent Us” by Lawrence Lessig.  Some notes about Part 1, in which Lessig talks about the flaws in our system… Lessig divides his analysis of inequality problem into “us and them” which he tackles in two chapters. Chapter 1. (Them) Five aspects of inequality: (1) the ability to vote, (2) gerrymandering and […]

Lost in Math (or Eye Rolling about Big Thoughts)

Sun, 29 Dec 2019, 09:41 AM (-06:00)

A book: “Lost in Math” by Sabine Hossenfelder (who blogs at BackReAction). A quote… “How patently absurd it must appear … that people get paid for ideas like [those of Xiao-Geng Wen and his collaborators]. But then … people also get paid for throwing balls through hoops.” (p. 192) Let’s explore this a bit. Big […]

His Father’s Writing

Sat, 28 Dec 2019, 05:43 PM (-06:00)

“Do you read your father’s writing?” she asked.  There was silence. I stared at my hands. I knew the answer. She had to ask again. “Do you read your father’s writing?” He shook his head. Mumbled a no. She asked why. “It’s just too weird,” he said. She asked why. He talked about being the subject […]

Eye Contact

Sat, 28 Dec 2019, 12:49 PM (-06:00)

1. On Eye Contact In Switzerland, I understand, it is considered poor form to toast someone without making direct, intentional eye contact with them. Having been told this, Trudy and I have adopted the habit. Whenever our glasses meet in cheer, so do our eyes — intentionally, with the unspoken knowledge that we are following […]

Three x minus nine

Fri, 27 Dec 2019, 10:18 PM (-06:00)

“Three x minus nine?” I heard one of the guys say. There were three of them huddled together near the classroom door. The semester was drawing to a close. Our last lesson with new material was behind us. What remained was a day or two of review and then the final. These guys were taking […]

Automating Inequality

Fri, 27 Dec 2019, 10:27 AM (-06:00)

A book: “Automating Inequality” by Virginia Eubanks. Some notes… The book is a remarkably specific, in-the-trenches look at the role that automation is having in our country, how despite its patina of objectivity, the technology is contributing to a new kind of growth of inequality in American society.  The argument is based on three case studies: […]

Color Aberration

Thu, 26 Dec 2019, 08:50 PM (-06:00)

We had gone thru a page or two of notes. The usual routine: daily topic at the top, underlined with a straight, black line; objectives next, with the word “objectives” underlined with a squiggly line; same with “vocabulary” next. And so on. To the more observant of the kids, there’s a pattern to these notes. […]


Sun, 8 Dec 2019, 10:25 AM (-06:00)

1. Adopt-a-Family In years past, as successful as Adopt-a-Student day was, it was a bit awkward for adopted middle school kids to take their gifts home when none of the rest of the household would have anything. Nothing for the brothers or the sisters or the parents. So this year it was Adopt-a-Family. Each person in […]

In Third Person

Sun, 8 Dec 2019, 09:10 AM (-06:00)

I don’t know what they were talking about. Maybe it was the red and green streamers that several of the boys had put up in the room. Or maybe it was the fancier streamers that several of the girls had put up on the other side. Or maybe it was something about the cookies we […]

Hot Pastrami Sandwich

Sat, 7 Dec 2019, 10:18 PM (-06:00)

“Can I ask you a question?”  She was making me a hot pastrami sandwich, which is the special this week. I had told her I was a math teacher to justify the book I had been reading while I waited in line, and it evidently made her think of something. I looked at her, a […]