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Risky mnemonics

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by simonc1978, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter


    This?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

     
  2. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    The Antikythera Mechanism:
    <u><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/</font></u>
    </font></u><font size="2"><u><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eUibFQKJqI</font></u>
    </font></u></font><font size="2">Super stuff.
    </font>
     
  3. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Thanks Vince and DM, great links.
    Trying to remember a Horizon program about infinite (the program went on for ages). someone said infinity carried on forever on a line, someone else said it looped back on itself at some point. I remember discussing this with some Alevel classes, and getting some good(to my expectations anyway) discussions.
    Greek computer?My point, is that I'd never heard of this. I've heard of IBM, of LEO at Lyons and Bombes for Enigma and Babbage coming up with the idea. And maybe even the watchmaker who helped solve the longitude problem. But I was flabbergasted to realise that cogs os that size were put into a computing machine back then.
    The same thing applies to Chankillo, that I'd never heard of it. And it's abundantly obvious what it does throughout the year. Now Stonehenge is special, but it seems to only work at solstices (but has been vandalised so it isn't at its best). Some other stone sites, like Carnac in France or Castlerigg(my fave), look fab but don't have a definite meaning (or maybe I mean a definite meaning that is obvious, rather than a suggestion of what it could be for). I wonder how much stuff going on these days will be obvious throughout the millenia.
    Plenty of things to watch and think about. And I would include Cox in starting that process. I am not saying he is perfect, but it's a great place to start. And get kids interested in some proper TV rather than the celeb/reality stuff
     
  4. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    <font size="2">There will be a finite number of episodes of that programme on that topic but they have all slipped from my mind. However, the finest maths documentary I have yet seen deals with the subject of infinity. It was made by a gentleman called David Malone. It&rsquo;s called Dangerous Knowledge:
    <u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5122859998068380459</font></u><font size="2">#</font>?
    It briefly recounts the works and biographies of Cantor, Boltzmann, G&ouml;del and Turing. It&rsquo;s around 90 minutes long and calling it a documentary is almost an insult. You will likely need an intermission.
    If you enjoy this film and you get it yet subsequently continue to enjoy Cox&rsquo;s output and similar trivia then I&lsquo;d be surprised and I&rsquo;d recommend that you watch the film again.
    </font>
     
  5. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I&rsquo;m rather afraid that it isn&rsquo;t. Although living memory of Chankillo's construction and purpose is out of living memory still the existence of its ruins had been known for centuries and the &ldquo;discovery&rdquo; of their alleged astronomical function was not made until 2007. That apparent function could well be an accident. There are far more surprising, accidental alignments that exist in nature and yet we don&rsquo;t believe those to be the work of man. Total and annular solar eclipses are remarkable coincidences.
     
  6. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Erratum.
    Although knowledge of Chankillo's construction and purpose is out of living memory still the existence of its ruins had been known for centuries and the &ldquo;discovery&rdquo; of their alleged astronomical function was not made until 2007.
     
  7. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    okay. Good point Vince. Maybe not apparent function then. But it's certainly easily understood as one function. There may well be other(s) that have passed out of living memory that Chankillo was actually designed for. In the past I have looked briefly at Stonehenge and not come up with anything easily apparent, although there are solstices I believe.
    I didn't know it was 'discoveed' only a few years ago. Or is that someone else trying to publicise a book with a headline?
    Alignments are quite interesting, and there are all sorts to look at. And it is strange to think that a total eclipse won't always happen, way into the future at least.
    I think there was anarticle/link on Goldacre's site about alignment. Someone had looked at distribution of Woolworth stores (in response to analysis of laylines) and found all sorts of 'coincidences' and shapes. And I am remember an analysis of Mars that 'proved' there was intelligent life making all sorts of bumps with special ratios.
     
  8. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Thanks for the Dangerous Knowledge link. I need to watch the pother one first.
    If you think it needs one intermission, then I will probably need several!

    But isn't this like pop music and classical. Something like Barber's Adagio for Strings getting into the mainstream, which then gets someone into more composers and opera etc? Whilst an experienced opera goer might sniff at Pavarotti singing world cup themes(!) if it widens the interest of innocent ears then I consider that good advertising. a stepping stone.
    And some of Cox's program last night was trivial, burning different elements in a campfire, but not to someone who hasn't seen that before.
     
  9. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Not to sound cheeky Vince, but could you write a list of clips to watch?
    Not necessarily for me, but for other teachers, and certainly other students to watch about some of the deeper issues.
    In the past I have recommended AcademicEarth to pupils, lots clips from undergraduate lectures.
     
  10. DM

    DM New commenter

    Vincey settles into his chair ...
    [​IMG]
     
  11. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

  12. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Super. I have some lovely chocolate boxes and shortbread tins you could look at if you liked.
     
  13. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I can put together a very short list of some of the documentaries I&rsquo;ve enjoyed, certainly, but I can&rsquo;t speak to their educational or inspirational value, if that is the intended use of the list. If other people found value in them then I would be happy about that.
     
  14. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Super. I have some lovely chocolate boxes and shortbread tins you could look at if you like

    thanks for the offer but you can keep the tins to look at whilst you eat them.
    Did you see the bit where Piers Sellers is describing how thin the atmosphere is?
    I remember learning that you can't see man-made structures from space. You could certainly see some man-unmade destruction like disappearing rainforests and the Aral sea. Lots of pollution over China. I bet that's not on a biscuit tin!
     
  15. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Go for it Vince! I remember there was a thread about good books to read for teachers, and for pupils. Perhaps if you just start a thread about docs you've enjoyed?
     
  16. I saw the documentary on 'Do We Need the Moon' on iPlayer and can highly recommend it. Thanks too to Vince for the Dangerous Knowledge link, not one I had seen before but absolutely fantastic.


    Regarding the 'rock star' physicist Cox v more serious viewing, I'm inclined to side with those who have said anything that gets people away from rubbish like X-Factor has to be worth a go. Programmes like 'Tomorrow's World' always relied on a fair amount of arm waving but had their merits.


    It's the same with magazines, IMO popular science magazines like Focus have their place for those who want to have some knowledge of the issues without going into the depth of something like Scientific American. Making science more accessible to more people IMO is a laudable idea, even if purists find some of the people objectionable.
     
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    You're very welcome.
    It&rsquo;s to be regretted that not everything that smells like rubbish looks like X-Factor. Cox doesn&rsquo;t see these programmes as educational; he sees them as his cinematic legacy, persevering in the tradition of his hero Carl Sagan. Brian, you see, has gone a bit luvvy. Hear him pout over his thwarted truculence on Start The Week, time index 07:58.
    <u><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b00zdbhz/Start_the_Week_14_03_2011</font></u>
    </font></u><font size="2">One moment WotU episodes are &ldquo;films as well as lectures&rdquo; and the next &ldquo;it&lsquo;s a piece of film on television and it&lsquo;s not a lecture&rdquo;. Here&rsquo;s a reprise of that final position.
    <u><font size="2" color="#0000ff"><u><font size="2" color="#0000ff">http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-12733793</font></u>
    </font></u></font><font size="2">If Brian can&rsquo;t have his music levels the way he wants them, you see, then the licence fee-payers might not feel the right emotions when they&rsquo;re watching his face and he won&lsquo;t be bronzed in the television hall of fame. Poor Brian. I blame it on all the television award ceremonies and jazzy epithets along the lines of &ldquo;rock star physicist&rdquo;. I&rsquo;m very afraid that Brian believes what people write about him. He&rsquo;s probably too young to remember Magnus Pike and so doesn&rsquo;t know how science television programming should look.
    There are no grounds for believing that loud music renders people more scientifically or rationally intuitive, or we would pipe it into secondary school science labs and maths classrooms.
    </font>
     
  18. pipipi

    pipipi New commenter

    Vince,I don't think that anyone is disagreeing with you about Cox and his rockstar status. I don't know why he needs to make a fuss about the music.

    But are you saying that you rather not have the program on at all?
    You would rather the kids watch 'SnogMarry Avoid' / X Factor?
     
  19. Having taught five lessons today and with another five coming up tomorrow, I'm afraid I don't have the mental capacity to engage on the topic of the loudness of the music in tv documentaries/films/cinematic experiences, so I'll take your word Vince.


    I can't really comment on the specifics of Cox either, the only tv I watch is Newsnight and very occasional things on iPlayer, of which Cox hitherto hasn't been one.


    Are you totally against the popularisation of science/mathematics in any form or just the way some people are currently doing it? I'm a bit more able to comment on printed materials. If I'm going on the train and want a nice easy (but in my opinion interesting) read then I'll buy Focus. If I want something to read during the summer holidays or when I have more time free then I'll buy Scientific American. The two are worlds away in terms of style and content but I enjoy both and I think there is a place for both.


    I really enjoyed the 'Dangerous Knowledge' programme but even that had an actor with Sigma and Integral signs swirling around his head, did that really add anything to the story?
     
  20. wrldtrvlr123

    wrldtrvlr123 Occasional commenter

    I'll probably get shredded (or blank looks of incomprehension) but I would only semi-jokingly recommend a good Bill Nye the Science Guy video (or similar types of presentations) for students or even a hard to engage/interest adult. Admittedly they are over the top and aimed at an elementary school audience, but they were also effective in humorously conveying some actual scientific concepts that my students could engage with and retain. My personal favorite was Momentum with the song by Momentisey - "The Faster You Push Me" (Parody of "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get" by Morrissey). They would have to be better/more enriching than some of the sh1te on TV.
     

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