Electronotes ,My math is crap!

Martin Czech czech at Micronas.Com
Fri Mar 31 11:50:34 CEST 2000


:::>Horray, my math is crap too!!
:::>Anyone else of DIY'ers whos math is
:::>tottaly devastatingly crappish?

:::any tips or encouragement?

Let me annoy you with some boring, clearly off topic stuff...

Well, my abilities are very limited, too. I guess that's why I'm an
engineer, not a mathematician. I always have a hard time to translate
mathematical tables, books etc. into something I can use for solving
problems.

If I had known that I will need EVERY bit of math I've ever should have
learned in the past, I would have studied harder!

I passed all math exams on university with mediocre results, or "just
pass", one time I didn't pass the first try. But: the math people
were chosen to be the "bad guys", filtering out all the crap people at
university (there are a lot when education is basically for free). So
only 30% or 20% of candidates passed a usual math exam.

And: most teaching is done in a "mechanical" way. There is certainly
a degree of mechanical "symbol chain manipulation" but somewhere there
is a point where you need understanding, I mean real understanding of
what's going on.  I found this part is always missing in favor of the
mechanical side.

Most math people don't like computers, but I would have learned a lot
more, if good simulation programs, visualization programs etc. would
have been available. I.e. the possibility to toy with parameters,
, graphs, servo control loops etc.

I'm totally against the use of computers or pocket calculators at primary
school level. This will create idiots which will believe any computer
result, be it the most obvious bullsh*t.

I had to learn the usage of mechanical calculators, i.e. logarithmic
sliders for multiplication etc. Don't laugh about it, it gave some insight
into log stuff that electronic pocket calculator people will never get.

Math has evolved since at least 4000 years, basically in an unbroken
line and any individual has to follow that long history in his/her
life/education. Most of these years are covered in primary school.
Other sciences don't have such a long way to go, for example biology,
the biological knowledge of 2000 b.c. Is certainly not essential today
but Euclid's fundamentals of geometry are (do you know when this
work was written? 300 b.c.?).

Later on this Greek work was saved by the Arabs and Indian ("algorithm"
is a very twisted name of an Arab mathematician, does anybody know who
and when?). We should never forget that. When lights turned out in Europe
these people saved most of the knowledge. 

Business people had to be taught arithmetic at the end of medieval times
(because most of the population where totally ignorant) by "masters of
arithmetic", in Germany a guy named Adam Ries wrote a legendary book
about these topics. We still have a saying like "this is correct as by Adam 
Riese" (somehow an "e" was added to the name).

So, mankind had a very long way in math skills, so it is clear that
learning all that is a lifetime job for the individual.
Don't give up!

m.c.







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