[Edu-sig] poking some dying logs...

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Sat Aug 1 01:36:50 CEST 2009

I'd like to make another plug for including this title on the edu-sig home page:


Ian thought it was too much a hybrid of CS and math, not an elegant
amalgamation, though I don't have has remarks in front of me at the
moment.  Steve was gonna get back to us.  Andre thought he might work
it onto the page...

That was all months ago by now, so it make sense to raise the issue
again, as the title does break new ground in some ways, has claim to
being a math teaching book, yet uses a computer language (one most of
us know).

'Concrete Mathematics' and 'The Art of Computer Programming' are both
math books of course, amenable to a "through programming" approach.
Jsoftware folks implemented the former in J, whereas the latter is in
MMX already.

Another hot button issue in Portland these days is whether families
have the right to demand a PDF version of any assigned textbook,
versus a hardcopy edition.  We have lots of tree huggers around here,
worried about "green" and unsustainability.  To quote one of my
colleagues (from her blog):

"We need the text book companies to print thousands of copies of new
textbooks every year, not so the authors can make money, though they
make a little, but so the companies can make money... Do some central
planning, and if the government can't do that without going through
corporations, then it is time to [do it ourselves]".

Anyway, just wanted to re-raise that as well.

I mostly do my computer / technical reading on Safari, have no problem
with recycling already printed books, have no problem with small press
runs.  But I can see where truck loads of spanking new 400 page math
books, hot off the press, none containing any computer programming to
speak of, let alone Mites, Sytes or Kites (honeycomb stuff, important
to gnu-bees), would provoke a crisis in conscience for our more

This is the kind of thing 15 year olds talk about.  They're suspicious
of adults who can't follow their logic (about saving trees),
undermines adult authority to not have a response.  So do we all favor
an "opt out" option for hard copy textbooks?  Say aye?  Say nay?


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