Archive for October, 2007

Math Doesn’t Suck by Danica McKellar

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Math Doesn’t Suck by Danica McKellar

In her Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, Danica McKellar writes in a language that will appeal to her target reader — middle-school girls. It is a commendable attempt to encourage girls to do well in their math studies. Danica presents middle-school math subjects in context that is relevant to the girls she addresses. I hope she is most successful.

I have found one problem with the book, a publishing problem, and I wish that Hudson Street Press, the publisher, will fix it for the next edition. The problem is this:

If a girl or someone who loves her is shopping at Borders or Barnes & Noble store, they would probably browse the Young Adult section, perhaps even the Young Adult Nonfiction shelves. Unfortunately Math Doesn’t Suck can be found only in the math section of brick and mortar or online bookstores.

I suspect that the culprit is the classification of the book as “Mathematics—Study and Teaching, Middle School” (see the back side of the title page.) Before its next edition, paperback — I’m certain it will have one — or otherwise comes out, Hudson Street Press should also list this title under something like “Young Adults, Girls Life”. I am suggesting this not because the book deserves this classification, which it does, but more importantly, girls and anyone, who cares for them, should be able to come across it without having to mistakenly wonder into the math section of the store.

Doube Negation, a Joke

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

The language teacher: “In most languages a double negative means the positive but in no language a double positive means the negative.”

A student at the back of the classroom sneers: “Yeah, yeah!”

(According to John Allen Paulos this joke is based on a “true story” that took place during “a talk on linguistic” given by a “well-known philosopher”, which he did not name. The person who responded with the double-positive was “another well-known philosopher.” [Mathematics and Humor, p. 43.])