Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why do we need this.

I am about to be teaching my students about rational functions.  The one above is one I am planning on basing a lecture around.  In all likelihood, a few students will ask why they need to know this and what it is that they need to know.  I want them to be able to explore the relationships involved in the function and how they result in the curve.  There is some application of the problem, I am not sure of what that is but one can find areas where math is used in all kinds of interesting places.  People did not arrive at these problems to solve an application, though.  The vast majority of math problems have been solved as reasons unto themselves. What purpose does this have? Math is a creation of man.  We use it to explain things around us but everything you see above is applied thought, not a reflection of observation.  Many of the courses we study are based on observation of actions and reactions of the world around us but some are extensions of personal expression.  People recognize paintings and songs as such but they like to exclude math from this group.  The do so because math takes study to understand. 
How do these forms of expression aid our knowledge? Why study them? Our minds, bodies, and souls are built from the same stuff as the rest of the universe.  Those things that we create from within are not expressions different from what we observe but internal developments in a manner that reflect the relationships we see in the world and amongst ourselves.  Math is a study of thought and provides us a possible window into the cognitive process of the everything around us.  Does this make sense? I wish I could more carefully formalize the argument and make a more profound connection.  Hopefully, through the act of teaching and learning, I can.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

T.V. makes me feel worse about myself.

Most video productions of a band are not good.  Musicians, producers, effects people, and more all work together to make the show.  The music, lights, sets, and all of the other elements are what make for the show.  It is not the work of one person but the camera is on a jittery closeup of the lead singer.  They sell us this face and this person as the one responsible for all of the spectacle, most of which we can not see.  We can't see the fireworks and dancing robots and the back up singers doing their cool moves and the drummer keeping count; most importantly, we can't see it as one grand piece.  They do the same thing with sports.  They focus on the man with the ball and not the whole game that is interesting.
I went to an opera the other night.  I have never been but the show reminded me of this.  I would get tired of the singing and other parts but when the stage was full of people, there was a whole world to watch.  The members of the chorus were engaged in antics and storytelling so I was able to take far more from the show than the basic story.
Yet T.V. and more want to sell me the powers and genius of an individual, and they do so with individuals who are clearly the face of a larger group.  The Beatles today would be sold as Lennon.
The problem is that no one person can be so profoundly great.  Those who may reach such levels of brilliance tend to hide or attribute those around them.  Why is the superstar pushed on us?  We look to one person to rescue all.  People blame or praise the President as if he is the one making all the laws and decisions of the country.  He is one hyper-publicized face of government.   Even if he made all of the choices of the Executive Branch, he is one-third of the Federal government.
Here I am, one part of a family and a small part of a school.  In neither case, am I a savior.  I can do all that I can for the best but nothing more.  That fact is probably at the root of the cause.  We do not like to believe ourselves not in control.  Each of us is an essential element of our world and can change the world so we can achieve happiness.
Individuals can do monumental things but we are not sold most of these people.  They are not produced and polished to fit a certain image of star or hero, though they would definitely be more profound to some people.
to be continued....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

"What an honorable life to emulate."

I know I should be more respectful but something has me confused about a great man who is distinguished by having the most kills in American sniper history.  My confusion came from a series of comments in his memory and how he would be in heaven.  He has killed at least 150 people and probably more.  These comments were near discussions of gun freedoms and how the president hates Christians.  I am no scholar of the Bible, I need to read and study it but I find it so boring to read.  I just do not have any way of understanding how followers of Jesus can find any form of killing to be okay, much less moral.  The fundamental Christian argument against abortion is that one can not take a life.  If that is the case, how can one shoot someone in self-defense, much less kill innocent people with rockets?  If you really believe in the Jesus's teachings, should you not be working to overcome enemies with love.  Feed their poor and not strike when attacked.  I actually think this would work better toward a global peace than sending armies.  We could then use all those resources for destructive technology toward positive things.
"These people hate us and our freedom.  They want to kill us." Hate comes from suffering and oppression.  Nations of fed and free people do not hate us.  Perhaps we should start with feeding the hungry.  It's an easy way to get people to not hate you.
None of these pipe dreams will happen while established powers fight to keep the status quo and themselves in the bridge.
On top of that, or at the base of if the debate, is that we must respect and fear violence for we are living creatures that prefer to stay alive.  People use it in any confrontation that they have lost control in.  They use it because it makes them feel powerful and respond to it out of self-preservation.  We have paths for violence.  Today is a holy day of a sport based on violence and aggression.  If we could only fight wars with marching bands and sporting contests.  That would be a civilized approach and one in which we wouldn't have shell-shocked soldiers, orphans, and widows.
I had somewhere I was going but I don't know where it is.  The goal is to find a way out of this dark path and to a trail of more hope and more possibility.  Society can at least give everyone the best chance to pursue happiness.  Our individual demons make it hard enough, much less the power struggles of presidents bombing thousands in pissing contests.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

On guns, in some sense.

Guns are not the reason people commit heinous acts but I believe access to them makes such acts more imaginable and therefore may facilitate the process of insanity to reality.  We can't legislate ourselves out of a problem, though.  People always cry for more or less government, depending on what they need.  Which is it?
I decided to read through the Bill of Rights since that is the key piece of the debate.  Why are the first two the ones always discussed and argued about? I hear no  arguments about the ninth amendment:
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
This says that the Constitution can only give people more rights and not limit any others already held by the people.  Now we have come to an argument on State and the people.  
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  
Here we have the purpose of the militia is to guard the State.  People were guaranteed the right to arms since citizens made up most of the army.  We now have a professional army but a time may come when we will all be called to protect the security.  The key for our present debates is that the right shall not be infringed.  Legalese can leave much room for interpretation but I see none here.  However you feel about someone walking down the street with an RPG, it is his or her right as defined by the laws which we hold so dear.  Gun control is unconstitutional.  
Do we want to live in a place where we need armed teachers?  I don't.  What manner of society have we created where people shoot down hundreds in schools, where people get in gunfights at funerals, where someone feels better strapped while he waters his pansies?  
Oh the loopholes of law.  Do these scenarios violate any of my rights as a person not covered in the Constitution?  I am not sure but imagine it is rather likely.  These events do bring to light my central issue on guns.  I just don't want to live in a place where I need a gun.  Should we not examine ourselves.  We want to arm teachers but don't think many of the skills to teach.  I'm confused.  
I gotta go for a bit...