[Edu-sig] Calculus with Stickworks (more Gnu Math)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Sep 30 17:36:28 CEST 2006

On 9/30/06, Arthur <ajsiegel at optonline.net> wrote:
> kirby urner wrote:
> >Related chatter with math teachers:
> >http://mathforum.org/kb/thread.jspa?threadID=1459250&tstart=0
> >
> >
> I go there and hear you talking to a community of math teachers as if
> you were an official ambassodor of Python and edu-sig, and as if we were
> all on the bangwagon of "gnu math" and "__rib__ syntax" here.

But we both know:  edu-sig and the Math Forum are both public
archives, so if I were really doing something too slimey, that'd be
evident to everybody pretty I'm trying to impress (not you though)
darned quick.

My story is pretty easy.  I programmed my friend's dad's HP in high
school, dove into programming at Princeton (APL terminals in Firestone
and dorm basement), took lots of engineering and math, aside from
majoring in philosophy, and ended up a career geek for the NGOs and
GOs (a little commercial sector).  As a former Jersey City high school
math teacher, I'm still interested in pedagogy, and from my years of
pro programming, know that a *lot* of kids would groove on math more
if it could be taught more like a computer science.  That's what I'm
already up to, plus having the most active Bucky site on the net (BFI
didn't exist, no Bob Gray's site -- Chris Fearnley with his FAQ was
one of the first).  Only then do I come across Python.

> My inituition failed to failed me again.
> I don't see anything terribly wrong with a "gnu math" meme or  even
> __rib__, if you must.  But you are bullshitting them that there is a
> cohesive community around these particular Kirby-centric semantics
> here.  Just as you bullshit us that there is a legion of "gnu math"
> teachers out there awaiting your next instruction.

"Better'n ENRON's Bull" could be my bumber sticker?

Accusing me of BS is an OK sin, but there's plenty to spread around,
if you want to start pointing fingers.

> You are taking something open and public, and  narrowing it, and
> appropriating it.

Absolutely.  My right and freedom.  No apologies.  Go for it.

> I am an active participant of edu-sig (too active for some), so all I
> can demand is that you not purport to speak for me.  Consider this that
> demand.

So considered.  Not a problem.

There's an irony here.  I'm always writing this for a huge invisible
public school army, making America great, but in practice I'm this
super exclusive army of none.  That's just some kind of geometric
pattern, of the type we study in Bucky type Synergetics (I say "Bucky
type" because there's a Haken guy who wrote some Springer-Verlag type
stuff that ain't like ours).

> More generally, I wish you would stop this flim-flam business. Or do it
> more elegantly, at least.
> Art

Oh yeah, easy for you to say.

I had this red and black jacket in London, very loud by English
standards.  As I was preparing to address the London Knowledge Lab in
a state of high jet lag, I ordered beer and potato (just trying to
blend in).  So a baked potato is called a Jacket Potato over there, or
so they tell me.  I could just see a gleam in the waitresses eye, as
she coasted by asking loudly "so how's your Jacket?"  I bet she was
obliquely referring to my loud coat, now on the back of my chair.  I
was so much the tourist.

In other words:  elegant isn't always my style.


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