Stupid math tricks: Judge’s innumeracy screws defendant

June 4, 2010

Had difficulty with fractions in third grade, did you?

 

Fractions, shown on a cake  - 1/4 and 1/2

Which is larger, 1/4, or 1/2?

Nothing like the judge in this story, I’m sure.  From the depths of Europe, Zeno details how a judge’s seeming infacility with numbers took an injustice against a petitioner in his court, and made it worse.

It’s the sort of error you’d expect of a third-grade kid who hasn’t watched enough “Sesame Street.”  Which of these fractions is larger?  1/5, or 1/6?

Is the judge really that dumb, or is this an elaborate, sarcastic hoax on the petitioner?

Math teachers, can you use this to show the importance of learning math well enough to do simple math functions mentally, without paper and calculator?

While you’re at Zeno’s place, Halfway There, look around. Zeno writes well, has good stories to tell, and you could learn a lot about a lot of things — you know, just by observing.


Typewriter of the moment: Wallace Stegner

June 4, 2010

Wallace Stegner and his typewriter - KUED image

Wallace Stegner and his typewriter – KUED image (via What Fresh Hell Is This?)

Wallace Stegner's books, KUED imageI’ve lived with Wallace Stegner’s work since I first got to the University of Utah.  Stegner was the biographer of Bernard DeVoto, whose works I read in a couple of different classes.

More important, Stegner wrote about the West and wild spaces and places, and how to save them — and why they should be saved.

Salt Lake City’s and the University of Utah’s KUED produced a program on Stegner in 2009 — he graduated from and taught at Utah — a film that wasn’t broadcast on KERA here in Dallas, so far as I can find..

In conjunction with the University of Utah, KUED is honoring alumni Wallace Stegner – the “Dean” of western writers. WALLACE STEGNER, a biographical film portrait, celebrates the 2009 centennial of his birth. Wallace Stegner was an acclaimed writer, conservationist, and teacher. He became one of America’s greatest writers. His books include the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Angle of Repose” and “Beyond the Hundredth Meridian.” His “The Wilderness Letter” became the conscience of the conservation movement. Wallace Stegner mentored a generation’s greatest writers including Ken Kesey, Edward Abbey, and Larry McMurtry. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was a student.

It’s difficult to tell from the photo, but his typewriter here looks a lot like a Royal.

Have you seen the film?

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