SageTex: Relabeling the Vertices

If you use Sage to generate graphs you'll find there are times when the vertices aren't labelled the way you expect them or want them to be:

In this case the graph is the line graph of a complete graph on 5 vertices, so labelling the vertices with 2-tuples makes sense--the vertex (0,2) would correspond to the edge (in K_5) from vertex 0 to vertex 2. but the "None" part of each label is annoying, to say the least. And that has created an additional problem of vertices which are too big. Luckily Sage has the ability to relabel vertices. In this case, I'm going to relabel using the vertices as just 2-tuples corresponding to vertices in K_5 of {1,2,3,4,5} to get:

The relevant part of the code is

g = graphs.CompleteGraph(m)
H= g.line_graph().complement()
H.relabel([(i,j) for i in range(1,m+1) for j in range(i+1,m+1)])

The first line creates the complete graph on m, equal to 5, vertices. The second line uses Sage's knowledge of graphs to create the line graph of K_5. The line

H.relabel([(i,j) for i in range(1,m+1) for j in range(i+1,m+1)])

generates the desired labels and as a result the vertices are not so huge. The code for the figure above can be found on the Graph Theory, Sage, LaTeX page.

Here are some stories that caught my eye.

• A new math series has launched on PBS: NOVA calls it Inifinte Secrets. And yes, the woman waves her hands a lot.
• President elect Donald Trump has picked Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary. She is anti Common Core. KHOU has 5 things you should know about her.
• Gallup pats themselves on the back for accurately predicting the results of the presidential election. They've also given some excuses to explain the failure at the local level: "State polls typically have smaller sample sizes, have more variable quality depending on what organization conducts the poll, are estimating an outcome that can shift more readily because the population is smaller, are often conducted further away from Election Day and are more dependent on precision in estimates of turnout by geography...To the degree that organizations want to predict the Electoral College, they are going to have to find ways to finance or encourage larger-sample, higher-quality state polls, rather than relying on the haphazard polls that happen to be conducted in the various states..". So an "F" performance by most everyone's count but their's. And notice the certainty of the predictions were based on "haphazard polls"---never heard that mentioned before they made themselves look like fools.

SageTex: Complex Numbers

It's been a very busy week as schools wind down for the year. I've added a new page Sagetex: Complex numbers to the sidebar. I will, of course be adding problems to the page in the coming weeks.

Here are some stories that caught my eye this week:

• Mathematician Dr. Ken Ono has been written about in Quanta Magazine.
• Dr. William Stein is leaving academia to start a company around Sagemath. His pdf slideshow can be found on this Reddit thread. He has a talk about this in a video posted here.
• Ars Technica reports, "Google's DeepMind AI division will face off against humanity's number one Go player, Ke Jie, according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua. Ke Jie is currently the top-ranked Go player in the world."
• DurhamLocalNews has a piece on how "Legislation recommended Wednesday by a Senate committee would require North Carolina schools to offer traditional high-school-level mathematics classes alongside newer “integrated” classes that arrived with Common Core...If the bill were to become law, districts would have to offer both math class sequences to students starting in the 2017-18 school year."
• Click2Houston tells us a creepy story about a math teacher who enjoys being with kids a little too much: "The video shows Gregg Gustafson wrestling and tickling minors at a student's home when the parents were not around...One of the students told the police Gustafson gave him several wedgies that broke his underwear. The boy said he was wrestling with Gustafson and that he would not let him tap out.The student posted two videos of his broken underwear. Gustafson allegedly asked the boy to get rid of the evidence."
• Washington Post on the new school report "Many people in education and the workplace don’t think some of the English Language Arts and math standards — which are being used in most states — are what students and workers need to be successful in college and career." One of the findings is that calculators are prevalent in math class. That's exactly what I'm seeing--but you'll see the teacher teaching how to work a problem and then they jump to using a calculator, so that the students quickly forget the skills they were supposed to learn. Whose "best practice" is that? More disturbingly, "There may be disagreement across K-12, college, and workforce about which mathematics topics are important to success in postsecondary STEM coursework and STEM careers. In K-12, there may also be disagreement about when these topics should be introduced in the mathematics curriculum." Shouldn't these issues have been worked out before forcing them upon everyone?
• Ars Technica with an interesting article on "That ’70s myth—did climate science really call for a “coming ice age?”"
• EAGNews on how "For a mere $6.5 million, New York City’s School Construction Authority renovated a former clothing store on Fifth Avenue into a “state-of-the-art” facility for 18 students to participate in its new, free pre-K program....The renovations cost the city about$362,222 per pupil, which was about $160,000 per seat more than the next most expensive renovation in Staten Island, for creating partitions, pouring concrete slabs, adding sprinkler systems and HVAC, and other upgrades." It's easy to spend public money. • ZeroHedge on the embarrassment that is the new generation. But it's not just America. "In the western world, political correctness is often taken to absolutely ridiculous extremes in attempt to keep people from being exposed to anything that could remotely be considered “offensive”. For instance, just consider a couple of examples from the United KingdomThis hyper-sensitivity has prompted the University of East Anglia to outlaw sombreros in a Mexican restaurant and caused the National Union of Students to ban clapping as “as it might trigger trauma”, asking youngsters to use “jazz hands” instead. Could you imagine banning clapping? But this is actually happening. Anything that might make someone feel the least bit “uncomfortable” is now being labeled as a “micro-aggression”, and at schools all over America “safe spaces” are being set up where young people can avoid anyone or anything that may make them “feel uncomfortable, unwelcome or challenged”.And this is not a fringe movement at all. These “safe spaces” are being established at some of the most prestigious universities in the entire country, and in at least one case a “safe space” included “calming music, cookies, Play-Doh and a video of frolicking puppies” At Brown University – like Harvard, one of the eight elite Ivy League universities – the New York Times reported students set up a “safe space” that offered calming music, cookies, Play-Doh and a video of frolicking puppies to help students cope with a discussion on how colleges should handle sexual assault. A Harvard student described in the university newspaper attending a “safe space” complete with “massage circles” that was designed to help students have open conversations.Are you kidding me?...Now that we have defined “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings”, I am going to define a term that I used in the title of this article. “Wussification” is the act of turning someone into a “wussy”. And urbandictionary.com defines “wussy” in the following manner… A person with no guts. A person who whines all day and sits around and cries like a little baby for years over nothing. Will blow anything out of proportion and create drama to forget about their sad miserable lives.If our young people need cookies, Play-Doh and videos of frolicking puppies to deal with the challenges in their lives right now, what in the world are they going to do when the things really start falling apart in America?The real world can be exceedingly cold and cruel, and our young people need to be equipped to handle whatever life will throw at them." • RT with the latest on "A breakthrough in the study of a mysterious Hellenistic clockwork device which was found at the bottom of the Aegean Sea more than a century ago has led researchers to conclude it was designed for philosophers to peer into the future.Dubbed the ‘Antikythera mechanism’, after sponge divers hauled the bronze mechanism from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island in 1900, the machine has been described as an ancient computer because of its advanced technological design." • SOTT has an interesting hour long interview "Stefan Molyneux and Dr. Duke Pesta on the dangers of Common Core" tkz-graph: more options My confusion over the way to implement graphs in LaTeX prompted an earlier post where I started a Graph Theory, Sage, and LaTeX page. The first post suggested the Normal style for creating a basic graph: it's quick, clean and saves on printer ink. But using tkz-graph and tkz-berge you gives you a lot more control, if you need it. The two packages have enough differences in their approach that I thought a page of templates to serve as a starting point would be useful for me. Graph theory and discrete math, unfortunately, don't have much place in the educational curriculum so I've gone a little bit lighter on the details. As you can see from the screenshot above we can change various aspects of the graph: the vertex color, the text color in the vertex, the color and thickness of the edges and even add labels. You can download the template and experiment with the code yourself. Here are some stories that caught my eye over the last week: • Start with the Detroit teacher strike. Detroit is a poster child for what's wrong with public education. EAGnews has the coverage, "Detroit Federation of Teachers members ditched their students to protest about pay today, despite data that shows they’ve been ineffective at improving the district’s worst-in-the-nation student academic performance....The combined results for students of all grades tested last spring shows a mere 2.9 percent met basic proficiency standards for science, 7.9 percent reached that threshold for math, 8.1 were proficient in Social Studies, and 14.6 met standards in English Language Arts." It's difficult to argue that teachers are professionals when their results are this bad. • KOTAnews reports that Wyoming is dropping out of common core. Red Alert News claims that North Dakota is the 9th state to reject Common Core. The Salt Lake Tribune says "On Wednesday afternoon, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson called for the end of SAGE testing in Utah schools.Not to be outdone, Gov. Gary Herbert issued his own call hours later, urging the state school board to abandon both SAGE and Utah's statewide education standards for math and English."Today I am asking the State Board of Education to consider implementing uniquely Utah standards," Herbert said in a letter to the board, "moving beyond the Common Core to a system that is tailored specifically to the needs of our state."". • Be careful about doing math in a public place, especially if you seem like a foreigner. SOTT.net on "A woman sitting next to an Ivy League economist told flight crew she had security concerns about the man, after seeing him write in a foreign script. It turned out to be a differential equation.". How stupid have are we?!? • The Washington Post has a fascinating article on "Education activists are increasingly becoming concerned about the computer grading of written portions of new Common Core tests....The standard PARCC contract indicates that this year, Pearson would score two-thirds of the students’ writing responses by computers, with only 10 percent of these rechecked by a human being. In 2017, the contract said, all of PARCC writing samples were to be scored by machine with only 10 percent rechecked by hand...This policy appears to contradict the assurances on the PARCC scoring FAQ page that says,“Writing responses and some mathematics answers that require students to explain their process or their reasoning will be scored by trained people in the first years.”...The Pearson and AIR contracts also promised studies showing the reliability of computer scoring. ...According to Les Perelman, retired director of a writing program at MIT and an expert on computer scoring, the PARCC/Pearson study is particularly suspect because its principal authors were the lead developers for the ETS and Pearson scoring programs. Perelman said: “It is a case of the foxes guarding the hen house. The people conducting the study have a powerful financial interest in showing that computers can grade papers.”....Indeed, research shows it is easy to game by writing nonsensical long essays with abstruse vocabulary......Unable to analyze meaning, narrative, or argument, computer scoring instead relies on length, grammar, and arcane vocabulary to do assess prose....On April 5, 2016, the same day we sent the letter, Rhode Island Education Commissioner Ken Wagner ...claimed that “the research indicates that the technology can score extended student responses with as much reliability- if not more reliability- than expert trained teacher scores …..”". In an educational system that creates a pathetically weak "standard" of teacher certification that has little to do with quality resulting in most students being unprepared for college even though graduation rates are rising, computer scoring makes perfect sense. Design an algorithm that can be programmed to deliver whatever percentage of good scores you want. It's not really about education, it's who gets the dollars and how to deliver product for as little money as possible. • It's not really math, so perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised how badly statistics is doing in predicting the elections. ZeroHedge reports, "How poor have the election forecasters been this year? It is a topic many are discussing given the large number of upsets we've had during the Primaries. For example, statistician Nate Silver (who started the campaign season proclaiming Trump had <2% chance of being nominated) by March 1 predicted with 94% probability that Trump would win Alaska (he lost). Silver then predicted on March 8 with >99% probability that Clinton would win Michigan (she lost). Silver again predicted on May 3 with 90% probability that Clinton would win Indiana (she lost). But there is another issue besides being wrong, which is how much model flip-flopping is occurring just up to these elections. The most proximate example is Silver stating this past Sunday that Cruz had a 65% chance to win Indiana; the next day (Monday, the eve of the election) and with little new data, he "adjusts" that to Trump having a 69% chance to win! That's horrible! ". Low level math has you churn out answers supported by work for people to check. In statistics you show your data (which may have been massaged or manipulated) and argue your case. The essence of math is proof, and the nontheoretical statistics we encounter most every day has a high BS content. Statisticians like to claim how good it is "...if it's done right", meaning their way. But when the integrity of the data itself isn't open for inspection, statistics is open to widespread abuse in a way that math can't be. • The Hechinger Report addresses the high math failure rates at universities. "A few years ago, administrators at San Diego State noticed high “D-F-W” (grades D and F, and withdraw) rates — 35 to 50 percent — for math courses, according to Michael O’Sullivan, chair of the math and statistics department. In 2014, the newly elected O’Sullivan, along with frustrated faculty, decided to overhaul the program. ....The changes at San Diego State and in other colleges’ math classes are similar to components of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice...As of this year, San Diego State has implemented all seven pieces, said Michael O’Sullivan. It is too soon to know long-term results, of course, but for now the professors are happy that this semester’s Calculus II midterm grades increased by five to eight percent compared to previous years, according to Ricardo Carretero, professor of applied mathematics." • Your funny money is no good here. ABC13 reports, "Now 14, Daneisha was hoping to eat that day's lunch of chicken tenders with her classmates using a$2 bill given to her by her grandmother when she was stopped by the long arm of the law. "I went to the lunch line and they said my $2 bill was fake," Danesiah told Ted Oberg Investigates. "They gave it to the police. Then they sent me to the police office. A police officer said I could be in big trouble."Not just big trouble. Third-degree felony trouble. And that's just one of eight counterfeiting charges investigated against high- and middle-school students at Fort Bend ISD since the 2013-2014 school year....Then the Fort Bend ISD police investigated the$2 bill with the vigor of an episode of Dragnet, even though at that school 82-percent of kids are poor enough to get free or reduced price lunch.The alleged theft of $2 worth of chicken tenders led a campus officer...to the convenience store that gave grandma the$2 bill...... The $2 bill wasn't a fake at all. It was real....The bill so old, dating back to 1953, the school's counterfeit pen didn't work on it...."He brought me my two dollar bill back," Joseph said. He didn't apologize. He should have and the school should have because they pulled Danesiah out of lunch and she didn't eat lunch that day because they took her money."" SageTeX: First Derivative Test This week I've added another problem to the SageTeX: Derivatives page. The screenshot is above. Given a polynomial students need to create a table to show when the function is increasing or decreasing. Then they have to determine the local extrema. Filling out the table makes use of Sage's ability to calculate derivatives. Here's a small snippet of the code. Note the indentation has been lost. if df(0)>0: a13 = '+' a14 = "increasing" else: a13 = '-' a14 = "decreasing" Depending on whether the derivative is positive or negative we can fill out the chart. And the same logical reasoning that allows you to fill out the chart by hand is the same logical flow that the Python code goes through--but without the errors we humans are prone to make. And of course, recompiling can generate lots and lots of problems with an answer key, faster and more accurately than any human could. Here are some stories that caught my eye this week: • ZeroHedge has the latest on the Chicago Pension Scandal, "Take the example of two union lobbyists who substitute taught for one-day in the public schools and then started collecting over$1 million of lifetime public ‘teacher’ pension payout – despite a state law expressly designed to stop them. And now take all the other 7,499 educators. The retirees in question paid so little into their own retirement (breaking even on their cost basis within the first 20 months of retirement) that taxpayers now face a $900 million bill just to keep the pension payments flowing!...The fraud appears to be focused on the city of Chicago. Some examples: • Northern Illinois school districts are driving the majority of$100,000 pensions. In fact, 6,706 pensions for over $800 million in annual payouts were conferred by districts in the Chicago metropolitan suburban area. Only 793 six-figure pensions totaling$95 million in annual payouts were conferred by school districts in the rest of the state. Yet, income-taxpayers across the whole state guarantee the retirement annuities for everyone.
• The Top 100 All-Time pensions: #1 $302,991 (Lawrence Wyllie at Lincoln-Way CHSD) to #100$200,812  (Michael Radakovic at Aurora East USD 131). Read the Top 500 All-Time IL teacher pension list.
• The Top 5 school districts conferring six-figure pensions are Palatine TWP HSD 211, Palatine (449); Township HSD 214, Arlington Heights (419); Consolidated HSD 230, Orland Park (196); Northfield TWP HSD 225, Glenview (188); Maine TWP HSD 207, Park Ridge (180)."
• You thought hoped her 15 minutes of fame were over. But it isn't--she's baaaack! Melissa Click was interviewed, shamefully enough, by the Chronicle of Higher Education. Reason.com dissects it all: "More:

While Ms. Click acknowledges that she was certainly frustrated that day, she says she was simply trying to protect the black student protesters. Everything she has come to stand for since the video came out—intolerance, anger, mouthiness, and dismissiveness—is exactly the opposite of who she says she really is. Focusing on her behavior, she says, is a way to take attention away from the demands of Concerned Student 1950, the group of protesters.

"I’m not a superhero," Ms. Click says. "I wasn’t in charge." But she’s taken the fall. "When it got out of control," she says, "I was the one held accountable."

And not by accident. Click was held accountable because she committed assault. If her behavior is drawing attention away from the student activists, that's entirely her own fault.

The Chronicle story also includes some biographical details that uncritically accept Click's I-am-a-hero narrative....Is this the profile of a woman who has overcome great adversity, or the profile of an intolerant ideologue firmly convinced of her own greatness?.....But she doesn't deserve sainthood, either. She did a very bad thing, and her revisionist attempts to explain away her criminal behavior should be rejected. Assault is wrong, even if the person committing it has a minor in women's studies."

• An article in the Tennessean says, "Police handcuffed multiple students, ages 6 to 11, at a public elementary school in Murfreesboro on Friday, inspiring public outcry and adding fuel to already heightened tensions between law enforcement and communities of color nationwide.The arrests at Hobgood Elementary School occurred after the students were accused of not stopping a fight that happened several days earlier off campus. ....Murfreesboro police didn't say what state law the kids violated, but parents of several of the arrested children say the kids were charged with "criminal responsibility for conduct of another," which according to Tennessee criminal offense code includes incidents when a "person fails to make a reasonable effort to prevent" an offense."
• NPR reports on the latest report card of public high schools, "This tiny downtick was statistically significant in mathematics, but not for the reading test....NAEP scores are comparable across decades — back to 2005 for math and all the way back to 1993 for reading....According to research by Ho and others, just under 40 percent of students score at college and career ready levels on NAEP....One is that in 2015 the nationwide high school graduation rate was 82 percent, not 40 percent. That leaves a potentially large group of kids who got diplomas but who weren't ready to succeed in college. Who is right: their high schools or NAEP?
...On the other hand, he says, "the less-than-charitable view would be that graduation is just a lower standard than college readiness. If you get right down to it, the reading and math required by NAEP, the ACT, the SAT, colleges and careers is much greater than what high schools are saying is sufficient." High schools with dumbed down standards to increase graduation? Shocking!
• Most of us aren't particularly excellent at what we do, but imagine if we could compete against high school students. We'd look really good then. Vice News continues "A few weeks ago, Jonathan Nicola was the star player on his high school basketball team, with a coach who believed he had a shot at going pro. But now that it's come out that the 17-year-old is actually a 29-year-old man, his ambitions — whatever they may have been — have been put on hold, and he's begging the Canadian government to send him back home to South Sudan."
• The Huffington Post looks at standardized testing, "Turns out, academic conformity sells, and business is booming: As of 2011, Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board,nonprofit owner of SAT, was paid $1.3 million. Richard Ferguson, formerexecutive officer of ACT Inc., made roughly$1.1 million. Meanwhile, The National Board on Educational Testing and Public Policy at Boston College reported that the value of the standardized testing market was anywhere between $400 million and$700 million........Standardized testing isn’t just about every student meeting the same standards. It is about every student, school, and administrator paying for the same product." So, so true. And public education means there companies have less people to persuade. Give an incentive for those at the top and a lot of money flows to the company. A good article which is worth reading very carefully.
• Chessbase reports on Fabiano Caruana winning the US Chess Championship. The US Women's Chess Championship was won by Nazi Paikizde after the favorite to win, Irina Krush, had an uncharacteristically bad tournament and the tournament leader, Tatev Abrahamyan, lost the final round. Some very ugly chess by the women but fighting chess that kept me riveted as never knew who would make the final mistake to lose. The tournament was followed by the Ultimate Blitz championship which featured Kasparov, Nakamura, So, and Caruana. Nakamura won, Kasparov was only .5 points behind but the highlight was a So-Kasparov brilliancy. The Chessbase report quotes Yasser Seirawan as saying "Wesley's game against Kasparov will go down in history as one of the greatest blitz games ever played. I will remember that game for the rest of my life." and Kasparov said "It reminded me of games Morphy played against amateurs.". It's that brilliant. Make sure you check out the game at the Chessbase link.
• It looked like Carlsen was going to easily win the Altibox Norway Chess tounament. A loss in the penultimate round kept the issue in doubt but winning the final round gave Carlsen first place. Chessbase has the story here.
• Yet another Common Core defector wanna-be: Michigan. Truth in American Education says, "Michigan’s Common Core Repeal Bill just made it over a a major hurdle. The Senate Education Committee voted to pass SB 826, a bill that would repeal Common Core and replace them with Massachusetts pre-Common Core standards."

Altermundus: circle-circle intersections

I've added information on getting the intersection of 2 circles using the tkz-euclide package. The tkz-euclide package gives a macro \tkzInterCC to find the intersection of 2 circles. As there are multiple ways to input a circle, the macro can be used in different ways.

\tkzInterCC(D,B)(A,C) \tkzGetPoints{M}{N}

finds the intersection of circle centered at D containing point B along with the circle centered at A containing point C. The two intersection points are recovered with \tkzGetPoints macro. Likewise

\tkzInterCC[R](A,1 cm)(B,1 cm) \tkzGetPoints{M1}{N1}

finds the intersection of circle centered at A with radius of 1 cm along with the circle centered at B with radius 1 cm. Note the R option.

Here are some stories that caught my eye over the last week.

• What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but in Mexico---not so much. RT has a piece on "A prestigious fee-paying school in Mexico has failed to separate twerking from working, allegedly forcing a 24-year-old teacher to resign after she participated in a dance competition while on spring break. The primary school teacher, known only as Clarissa, was in the popular Mexican holiday spot Cabo San Lucas when she decided to channel her inner Miley Cyrus and grind on one of the judges."
• Listverse has "10 Strange Cold War Tales Left Out Of The History Books"
• RT on "Flint, Michigan has become the epicenter of the lead water crisis in the United States, but hundreds of schools across the country have tested positive for unsafe lead levels in their water over the past three years, according to a new report."
• Reuters on "Meet the Thai math prof whose copyright case is headed for SCOTUS – again"
• Technology review looks at  "A chip that can’t guarantee that every calculation is perfect can still get good results on many problems but needs fewer circuits and burns less energy, he says...A chip that can’t guarantee that every calculation is perfect can still get good results on many problems but needs fewer circuits and burns less energy, he says....In a simulated test using software that tracks objects such as cars in video, Singular’s approach was  capable of processing frames almost 100 times faster than a conventional processor restricted to doing correct math—while using less than 2 percent as much power."
• The US Chess Championship (closed) has begun. Caruana, Robson, and So are tied for first after 3 rounds of the scheduled 11 rounds. Follow it live here.
• IndyStar's Russ Pulliam looks at who won common core, and with the number of states using common core down to 21 you get the idea that failure has been achieved.
• WTHV11 has a report and video on one of those states that has moved away from common core , "In nine days, 85 Arkansas teachers across the state revised 65 percent of the Common Core Math Standards. They hope these revisions turn confusion into a statewide understanding."
• Wxyz.com looks at the teacher shortage in Detroit, "Two moms want answers. How can it be that in public schools in this country - kids can go months without a math teacher?" Answer: The priority of the system isn't about providing a good education for the kids. If they'd remove the numerous hoops to jump through requiring money and time they'd have plenty of people. Certified does not mean qualified. And many qualified teachers are denied certification. Until they fix the Orwellian double-speak you won't have meaningful change.
• A cougar in LA might not be uncommon, but a mountain lion at an LA high school is. RT has the the details and video that led to a school lockdown.

Altermundus: Line-Circle Intersections

I've added some more information to the Altermundus: Circles page. The new information is related to the finding the intersections of circles and lines. The tkz-euclide package has a macro to find the 2 points of intersection that occur when a line crosses a circle. This allows you to make diagrams, such as the one shown above, more quickly. The .tex files of two examples are posted along with comments. You can download them and experiment on your own.

Here are some stories that caught my eye this week:

• The Verge has wraps up the AlphaGo match, looks at its impact and talks about what is next for AI.
• Reason.com looks at a bill working its way through the Mississippi legislature that would, "....require teachers to grade parents on how involved they are with their kids' education...According to watchdog.org:

The legislation, by state Rep. Gregory Holloway (D-Hazlehurst), would mandate a section be added to each child’s report card on which the parents are graded on their responsiveness to communication with teachers, the students’ completion of homework and readiness for tests, and the frequency of absences and tardiness.

What's more, adds the Parent Herald, parents would also be required to volunteer—an oxymoron at best:

[P]arents will be required to participate in at least one supportive function for the school. This includes holding position in the Parent Teacher Association, working at concession stands during sports games or helping kids at bus stops.

".

• NPR reports "This week, British professor Andrew Wiles, 62, got prestigious recognition for his feat, winning the Abel Prize from the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for providing a proof for Fermat's Last Theorem....The Abel Prize carries a cash award of 6 million Norwegian kroner — around $715,000 at today's exchange rates. Wiles will formally receive the prize from Crown Prince Haakon of Norway on May 24 in Oslo." • The Washington Post reports, "More than 100 education researchers in California have joined in a call for an end to high-stakes testing, saying that there is no “compelling” evidence to support the idea that the Common Core State Standards will improve the quality of education for children or close the achievement gap, and that Common Core assessments lack “validity, reliability and fairness."" Wouldn't it make more sense for experts to determine this prior to spending lots of money to implement Common Core? • ZeroHedge posts "Illinois College Will Stop Arresting Students For Passing Out Constitution". With such repressive, unconstitutional conduct by admin, it's not surprising that student behavior is so poor. • Quanta magazine with the interesting piece for the week: "Two mathematicians have uncovered a simple, previously unnoticed property of prime numbers...Kannan Soundararajan and Robert Lemke Oliver of Stanford University present both numerical and theoretical evidence that prime numbers repel other would-be primes that end in the same digit, and have varied predilections for being followed by primes ending in the other possible final digits...This conspiracy among prime numbers seems, at first glance, to violate a longstanding assumption in number theory: that prime numbers behave much like random numbers.." • The 2016 Candidates matches to determine a challenger for Magnus Carlsen are in the 8th round. After 7 rounds, Karjakin and Aronian are tied for first with 4.5 points. Topolov is in last place with 2 points. With 7 more rounds the tournament is still wide open. You can follow it on ChessBomb (side link). The tournament site is here. LaTeX: Letter template Well, I lost. As I already mentioned, I ran into problems when I moved states. It seems that not having a teacher training program which ended with hours of student teaching was enough deny my application for a regular license, despite the fact that I had 3 years full time teaching experience as a public school teacher. Go figure. And if you knew just how bad some of the certified teachers are in this state (any state) you would understand what a farce the educational system is. From one side of their mouth they say they want qualified STEM teachers but from the other side of their mouth they put up barriers to disqualify them. Want to be qualified according to them then pay some fees and jump through their hoops. But I don't have a lot of patience for this sort of institutionalized stupidity; rather than be classified as a rookie teacher and be forced to pay thousands of dollars to attend hundreds of hours of training on to eventually prepare myself so I'll be officially qualified by this state to teach in a classroom (something I've been doing for years) it's time to give up on being a public school math teacher. That means my job search has been in high gear for the last two months as I write letters--lots of letters-- to apply for jobs. I designed a simple template that you can see in the screenshot above. There is some code that has been commented out to produce a line at the top and the bottom, if you want. I've posted it on the LaTeX page; I call it ClassicLetter as it is inspired by the Classic thesis design. Here are some stories that caught my eye this week: • Tomorrow is Pi Day and CNBC tells us "Want to earn 3.14 years of free pizza from Pizza Hut? All you have to do is answer three math questions. There's a catch. The questions have been devised by famed Princeton mathematics professor John H. Conway and range in difficulty from high school to PhD level....."Pi may be irrational, but free pizza is anything but," Conway, an award winning mathematician, said in a statement. "I'm eager to challenge America with these problems and find the next great pizza-loving mathematician that can solve them."" • Opensource.com with an article by Dr William Stein, on Sagemath Cloud in the classroom, "Before SageMath, we were using clunky, expensive, and incomplete tools (like, Mathematica) that were closed source software, so we couldn't see how they worked and modify them to do what we really needed them to do....I wanted SageMath to be a powerful tool for my students. It wasn't initially intended to be something hundred of thousands of people used! But as I began building the project, and as more professors and students started contributing to it, I realized these were problems many others were striving to solve as well....To solve the problem, I created SageMathCloud, a web-based and collaborative way for people to use SageMath and other open source software solutions, like: LaTeX, Jupyter Notebooks, command line terminals, the full scientific Python stack, Java, Julia, Fortran and more....For the first time, teachers can easily use Python and R in their courses, which are industry standard and mainstream open source programming tools...Teachers can also collaborate in real time to manage their online courses with the same cutting edge software used by top mathematicians at the best universities in the world. For the first time, students can use a full suite of open source math-related software programs to learn, experiment, and collaborate with others to improve their skills and gain a better understanding of math." Note there is a video as well. • The Daily Beast tells us, "Students at Western Washington University have reached a turning point in their campus’s hxstory. (For one thing, they’re now spelling it with an X—more on that later.) Activists are demanding the creation of a new college dedicated to social justice activism, a student committee to police offensive speech, and culturally segregated living arrangements at the school, which is in Bellingham, up in the very northwest corner of the state....WWU must meet the needs of this new “College of Power and Liberation” by immediately hiring 10 faculty members—subject to the approval of student-activists. Finding the money to do all this is solely the responsibility of WWU’s administration, “whose accountability to students should be expressed through their fervent advocacy for students’ needs at both the local and state levels,” according to the activists, who want an extra$50,000 to throw a kick-off party for the new college....At the heart of this effort lies a bizarrely totalitarian ideology: Student-activists think they have all the answers—everything is settled, and people who dissent are not merely wrong, but actually guilty of something approaching a crime. If they persist in this wrongness, they are perpetuating violence, activists will claim."
• The latest in educational "research". From Sott.net, "For elementary-aged children, research suggests that studying in class gets superior learning results, while extra schoolwork at home is just . . . extra work. Even in middle school, the relationship between homework and academic success is minimal at best. By the time kids reach high school, homework provides academic benefit, but only in moderation. More than two hours per night is the limit. After that amount, the benefits taper off. "The research is very clear," agrees Etta Kralovec, education professor at the University of Arizona. "There's no benefit at the elementary school level."".
• Wisconsin takes the lead in real educational reform. From EAGnews, "On Tuesday Gov. Scott Walker signed a bill during a visit to Brown Deer High School, allowing K-12 school districts to hire vocational education teachers who have not earned traditional teacher licenses, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The teachers can now be awarded “experience-based licenses,” so they can share their knowledge and help guide young people into the workplace....Critics of the legislation, “including the state Department of Public Instruction, the state’s largest teachers union and university schools of education have raised concerns, saying the measure will lower the bar on teacher standards and create an uneven licensing system around the state,” according to the Journal Sentinel. Of course the university schools of education crank out most of the traditional teachers, many of whom join the union. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction is led by state Superintendent Tony Evers, a loyal Democrat with strong ties to the union.
...Meanwhile, on the most recent Badger Exam, taken by Wisconsin students in grades 3-8 across the state, only 51 percent tested proficient or advanced in reading, and only 44 percent hit the mark in math.They all have conventionally trained teachers, and a lot of them aren’t doing very well at all.Can it really hurt to trying something different, using people with practical experience in their fields who want to share what they’ve learned with youngsters?". This is a great idea. It opens up teaching to private school teachers and adjunct college professors working for poverty level wages and if Wisconsin is reasonably selective as to what experiences it accepts, would increase the quality of teachers. There is no research that shows a teaching certificate means a better teacher and given how badly certified teachers have performed, this reform is long overdue.
• The NY Times has an article on the tenured professor fired for his views on Sandy Hook: "James F. Tracy, 50, a tenured associate professor of communications at the Boca Raton university, has repeatedly called into question the authenticity of recent mass shootings, including the slaying of churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., and office workers in San Bernardino, Calif. In his blog postings and radio interviews, Mr. Tracy has said the Newtown massacre may have been carried out by “crisis actors” employed by the Obama administration....Florida Atlantic University ultimately dismissed him on grounds that have nothing to do with his theories or his feud with the Pozners. They said Mr. Tracy, who because of his tenure could not be easily fired, had failed to submit paperwork for three years in a row that listed any other jobs or similar activities that he performed outside the university. "
• Crushed in the first three games of the historic match of AlphaGo versus Lee Se-dol, the Garry Kasparov of the game Go, the human has found a weakness. He managed to win game 4 and has asked for, and received, a change in the match rules. But first, The Verge has an account after Alpha Go defeated Lee Se-dol, "A huge milestone has just been reached in the field of artificial intelligence: AlphaGo, a program developed by Google's DeepMind unit, has defeated legendary Go player Lee Se-dol in the first of five historic matches being held in Seoul, South Korea. Lee resigned after about three and a half hours, with 28 minutes and 28 seconds remaining on his clock. The series is the first time a professional 9-dan Go player has taken on a computer, and Lee is competing for a $1 million prize." The GoGame Guru comments on the computer winning the second game,"After losing the first game of the match to the computer Go player AlphaGo on the previous day — something that the majority of the world’s top players had thought to be practically impossible just months ago — Lee’s play exhibited a sense of calm patience and steadiness, which was not evident the day before. But somehow it wasn’t enough. AlphaGo met Lee’s solid, prudent play with a creativity and flexibility that surprised professional commentators, eventually consolidating its advantage in the endgame.Finally, after a tightly fought contest which left spectators on the edge of their seats, Lee was left with no better move than to resign...Lee Sedol was full of praise for AlphaGo, remarking that, “Yesterday I was surprised, but today, more than that, I’m quite speechless.”He added, “. . . there was not a moment in time where I felt that I was leading the game.”." The LA Times has an article after AlphaGo's second win and the Korean reaction was mixed: "Google DeepMind, he said in a Yonhap News Agency report, was nothing less than guilty of “insulting the 2,600-year history of Go.”...But for the most part, more than bristling over the struggles of their native son, South Koreans have marveled at the proficiency of AlphaGo." KoreaTimes has the most recent piece with Lee Se-dol finally smiling, "Lee said he has seized on the AI’s weaknesses in the game. AlphaGo seemed to feel more difficulties playing with black than white,” he said. “It also revealed some kind of bug when it faced unexpected positions.”...During the post-game interview, the go grandmaster asked the Google DeepMind team if he could play with black stones in the final round. According to Chinese go rules, which this competition follows, the player playing with black stones yields 7.5 compensation points to his opponent at the end of the game for playing first, and thus this considered as a disadvantage.“As I won the game with white stones, I would like to play with black stones because winning with them will be more valuable,” Lee said. DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis accepted Lee’s request." With Go essentially conquered, ten years ahead of schedule, what's next: Skynet?!? • Corruption or stupidity or something else? IdahoEdNews notes "A report tracking$16.7 million in teacher “leadership premiums” — compiled by the State Department of Education and presented to two legislative committees — is fraught with math errors....The premiums are designed to reward teachers who mentor colleagues, assume hard-to-fill teaching jobs or perform other leadership roles....In some cases, the report contains grossly inaccurate data about district staffing....In nine cases, the report offers no data at all about district or charter leadership premiums. ...The report lists the total amount of premiums awarded by a district or a charter, and the number of teachers who received a premium. ...But in many cases, this math does not line up with the averages listed in the report...In numerous other cases, the report’s math simply doesn’t add up... For example, the West Jefferson School District reported an average premium of $847.55, a maximum of$1,007.48 and a minimum of $850. This is mathematically impossible — and not the only error of this type." Public education means large quantities of money are available for skimming. Who will lose their job over this? Probably nobody? Stay tuned. • Sott.net on the horrid state of American education, "The US Department of Education just released the results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), and they are perilously disappointing....When it comes to basic technological skills like using email, buying and returning items online, using a drop-down menu, naming a file on a computer or sending a text message — Americans rank dead last. But it's not just daily technology tasks that Americans fail at accomplishing, they also scored terribly in math and literacy. According to study, Americans with a high school diploma performed about the same as high school dropouts in other countries. So what's the problem? Is it lack of spending in the education department? No. The United States spends more money on education than any other country in the world, yet the average high school graduate can't even compete with dropouts in other countries. In spite of the ever increasing DOE expenditures, US students continue to trail their rivals on international standards tests." • The Candidate matches to determine a challenger for the World Chess Championship have begun. The games can be followed here. Unfortunately, you're forced to login to watch the games. You're better of going to ChessBomb--the link is on the sidebar. Sagetex: Rational Functions 4 The latest addition to the website is the sagetex randomized problem on rational functions. It's posted on the Sagetex: Functions page. This one involves functions of the form f = ((a*x^2+abs(d))*(x-b))/((x-b)*(c*x+d)*(x-d)) where a,b,c,d are random integers. Unlike the previous rational function problems you'll see that (x-b) cancels so there will be a hole in the graph, as shown in the picture above.$latex \LaTeX$god Alain Matthes, designer of the Altermundus packages, left a comment on this page. It sounds like providing an English version of his documentation is on his mind but, admittedly, no time frame is given. Keep your eye on the CTAN feed.... Here are some things that caught my eye this week: • The always entertaining Kevin Knudson of Forbes on a new type of puzzle called Sweet 16. • Who could miss the NY Times clickbait "The Wrong Way to Teach Math"? At first I was going to ignore the trashy article, and then after seeing how a hack was given a forum to sell/hype a book I figure I should probably say something. But let's give mathematician Dr. Keith Devlin a standing ovation for stepping in to inflict a brutal beat down: he's got 2 pieces, one on the Huffington Post and the other on Devlin's Angle. The pieces are similar but there are some important differences. From the Huffington Post article he's a bit more restrained: "Since Hacker clearly has a valuable connection to the nation's premier national newspaper, it is then a pity he pitched his article the way he did....There is always a danger in setting oneself up as an advocate for change in a discipline one does not know. Hacker is not a mathematician. He is a retired college professor of political science, who has taught some courses in mathematics to non-majors....Unfortunately, since Hacker plainly does not understand what algebra is, or more generally what mathematical thinking is, he instead proposes we throw away the healthy but neglected baby along with the depressing pool of lukewarm, dirty bathwater it currently hides in....In reading an advance copy to write my review, I annotated 20 pages (out of a total of 200) where he makes significant errors due to a lack of knowledge of, or a misunderstanding of, mathematics. That's an error rate of 10%; way too high for significant errors.". In the Devlin's angle piece you'll see a recap of Huffington Post along with his analysis. But here he gives a couple more blows to the head followed by a$latex \pi$to the face: "Not only does Hacker give no indication he is familiar with the Common Core—the real one, not the azimuth-strewn, straw-man version he creates—he gives every indication he does not understand mathematics as it is practiced today. (He also does not know that pi is irrational, but I’ll come to that later.).....you will be jolted by Hacker’s fundamental lack of knowledge of mathematics. He writes, “Along with phenomena like earthquakes and cyclones, nature also has some numbers that control or explain how the world works. One of them is pi, whose 3.14159 goes on indefinitely, at least as far as we know.” Yes, you read that last part correctly." Oooooooh...SNAP! Isn't it great to find out someone with a lack of basic prealgebra knowledge on the irrational number$\atex \pi$: writes a book on removing algebra from high school, has a forum to voice his ignorance at the NY Times, and teaches math at the college level. Shame on the the NY Times for giving this cr@p a forum and to Queens College, City University of New York for having someone with a "fundamental lack of knowledge of mathematics" teaching math. THANK YOU DR. DEVLIN!!! • EAGNews on how "School officials in Huntsville plan on tracking students’ social media accounts as part of a new system that will also levy punishments based on posts, regardless of whether they’re private or public....The “procedure” involves tracking the social media posts of violent students or any school officials deem to be a risk to school safety. The superintendent can then use the social media posts – regardless of whether they posted publicly or privately – to take action against students. " • The kids really are different these days: Sott.net with the story that "A 16-year old Nashville resident is accused of shooting his grandmother, sister and nephew because he did not want to leave his bed to head to school. He also tried to shoot his mother, but she managed to escape." • Those kids start young, too. EAGNews on "Police recently busted a drug dealer inside Marlin Elementary School – a 9-year-old who brought in several prepackaged bags of marijuana to hawk to classmates." • KDVR.com with a piece on how Denver Public Schools are using district wide credit cards. "The Problem Solvers focused on purchases totaling around$2 million that appeared to contradict school policy but were approved by the finance department anyway.....Auditors sampled 197 employee credit card transactions and found something wrong with 154 of them -- a 78 percent fail rate....That also made it easy to question certain purchases that were culled from a computer database that was built that contained all the credit card purchases in the past couple of years.
• Party City: $23,511 • Flowers:$7,806
• Jewelry: $3,900 • Gift cards:$110,638

Putting nonstudent-related food on credit is supposedly under tight control, but when we searched for receipts linked to "BBQ" or "Famous Dave's," there were $73,917 in credit card purchases by school employees. Einstein Brother’s Bagels came out to$174,222. Pizza restaurants were at \$451,658."

• The Periodic Table of Elements in Pictures would be useful for any chemistry teacher.
• PC zealots are alive and well at Kansas University where the Daily Beast reports that another faculty member has been removed. "You would think that Quenette must have perpetrated an egregious act of harassment or obvious discrimination to provoke her students to publish an open letter demanding her immediate termination. The letter, written by five of Quenette’s students—some, but not all of them, black—alleges that Quenette violated the university’s policies prohibiting racial discrimination...We students in the class began discussing possible ways to bring these issues up in our classes when COMS 930 instructor Dr. Andrea Quenette abruptly interjected with deeply disturbing remarks. Those remarks began with her admitted lack of knowledge of how to talk about racism with her students because she is white. “As a white woman I just never have seen the racism… It’s not like I see ‘Nigger’ spray-painted on walls…” she said....But she did not use inappropriate language to describe any of her students—or to describe anyone else. She was describing her own blindness to racial animus. Could she have used different language? Sure. Should she have? Probably. But genuine self-reflection isn’t usually rehearsed. This wasn’t a public address—it was a classroom discussion about a controversial topic. Some imprecision should be expected, and tolerated.". The potential impact of this generation on free speech in America is frightening.
• John King, President Obama's choice for the new education secretary, is apparently not well liked by a lot of "progressives". According to Alternet, an open letter to the Senate was published in the Washington Post asking for his rejection, "The letter is signed by world-renowned scholar Noam Chomsky, along with journalist Naomi Klein, Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and a host of other prominent scholars and activists, including some of the most established pro-public education voices. A variety of teachers’ and public education organizations signed the letter as well, including New York for Public Education, Save Our Schools and Time Out From Testing. The signatories warn King’s policies “have been ineffective and destructive to schools, educators, and most importantly students.”..."The American public deserves a Secretary of Education who will advocate for their interests, not those of the testing corporations who profit from the Common Core,” the letter reads.""
• Alternet again, this time warning, "The FBI Has a New Plan to Spy on High School Students Across the Country...The FBI’s justification for such surveillance is based on McCarthy-era theories of radicalization, in which authorities monitor thoughts and behaviors that they claim to lead to acts of violent subversion, even if those people being watched have not committed any wrongdoing...The FBI’s instructions to surveil and report young people not for wrong they have committed, but for violence they supposedly might enact in the future, is likely to promote an intensification of this draconian practice."