This is BrainLog, a blog by Dan Sanderson. Older entries, from October 1999 through September 2010, are preserved for posterity, but are no longer maintained. See the front page and newer entries.

May 2009 Archives

May 15, 2009

My Personal Credit Crisis by Edmund L. Andrews, adapted from his upcoming book, Busted: Life Inside the Great Mortgage Meltdown. That he's not actually as bad off as many people caught up in the crisis makes the story much more terrifying and identifiable.

Autistic Trekdom by Matthew Baldwin.

May 7, 2009

The Seattle Public Schools community blog: Good Luck All You Future High Schoolers - Here Comes Discovery Math.

Controversial math textbooks adopted by Seattle schools. UW professor Dr. Cliff Mass has a detailed report and commentary. More follow-up from Sound Politics.

Reggie Watts at The Sound of Young America Live:

Via lonelysandwich via dalasverdugo via Maximum Fun.

May 6, 2009

Seattle Public School Board, Please Vote NO on "Discovering..." Math


Michael DeBell,
Sherry Carr,
Harium Martin-Morris,
Peter Maier,
Cheryl Chow,
Steve Sundquist,
Mary Bass,

Greetings Representative Carr and Seattle School Board members:

Please vote NO on the adoption of the "Discovering..." math curriculum at tonight's school board meeting. The Discovering series was deemed "mathematically unsound" in a study commissioned by the Washington State Board of Education.

My wife and I are deeply concerned about the lowering of standards for math education in our pubic schools. Together with our kids, currently ages 5 and 3, we will spend the next 12 years with the math curriculum decided for Seattle public schools by this board. It is unacceptable that an educational program lacking basic deductive reasoning skills and mathematical facts is being considered seriously for our children.

Education is more than a family value in our household, it is our primary recreation. Even before we had kids, we'd been looking forward to supplementing our children's schooling with family activities for the exploration of mathematics, science, literature and culture. It pains us to think that the time we spend together as a family may have to focus on basic math skills left behind by a slower pace in the classroom, instead of taking established fundamentals in new directions.

While the Discovering series tries to encourage creative exploration of math concepts, it fails to recognize that creativity is not the only essential mathematical skill. It burns too much of the time children are eager for skill and knowledge acquisition on the slowest kind of learning. It's frustrating, time consuming, and saps kids' interest in the subject. We appreciate the attempt to focus on learning in groups, but this approach overlooks how valuable the social environment is for other kinds of learning—especially the more "boring" activities you and I grew up with, the kind parents are unlikely to do with their kids at home.

The future of human kind depends on the steady acceleration of education. I was privileged to have had the opportunity to take Calculus (single-variable) my senior year in a Spokane public high school, and I want all of our kids to reach and benefit from similar and better opportunities. With Discovering math, our children will fall far short of this expectation.

Thank you,

Dan Sanderson

May 3, 2009

This weekend only, place an order through and receive a limited edition LEGO Star Wars poster, and be entered to win a first edition LEGO Millennium Falcon. Check out this hi-res image of the poster.

You can also buy the LEGO Millennium Falcon for 25% off for a limited time. That's $375 instead of $500.

May 1, 2009

Sugar Stacks, pictures of food products with their sugar content indicated with sugar cubes. Ick.