The Case for Saving Algebra

Posted

In his op-ed piece “Is Algebra Necessary?” Andrew Hacker struggles to justify the teaching of traditional advanced mathematics in our public schools. I’ll admit that the statistics he provides are jarring: community colleges across the country report that fewer than 25% of new students passed their required algebra classes; at The City University of New… Read more »

Big Data is a Big Hit? Tell Us Something We Don’t Know

Posted

  Did you see the article in Saturday’s NY Times? The Age of Big Data article was a huge Internet hit. Everyone was talking about it, from Federal News Radio to individual bloggers. Big Data is Big News, but not to us. We’ve been talking about it for … years. We know that the ability for computers to… Read more »

Big Data Hits the Big Time, but at What Price?

Posted

  “What Are The Odds That Stats Would Be This Popular?” That was the question Quentin Hardy asked in his NY Times piece last Friday (01/26/12). If you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you’d know that the odds have been good and are getting better. The real issue isn’t in the headline, but comes a couple of paragraphs down: “What… Read more »

How to Fix Our Math Education

Posted

Sol Garfunkel and David Mumford think they know How to Fix Our Math Education (NYT, 8/24 Op Ed): “The truth is that different sets of math skills are useful for different careers, and our math education should be changed to reflect this fact.” I think they miss half the point. Here’s the other half: jobs. Even with… Read more »

Buried Under Data

Posted

  There are times in my life when my “to-do” list trumps my “done” list so completely that being “overwhelmed” doesn’t begin to describe the situation. I’m forced to explore other options: Find a twin to split the duties? Consider cloning? Wave a white flag, and take a nap? So far I’ve opted to simply… Read more »

Math Education + Quantitative Job = Career Satisfaction

Posted

  Few individuals in this world aspire to earn the title “geek”, but that may soon change given the Wall Street Journal’s listings of Best Jobs of 2011. As it turns out, analytically-minded individuals are thriving in their positions as Actuaries, Accountants, Statisticians, and Mathematicians. In fact, they very well may be the most satisfied working professionals out there…. Read more »

Snowstorms, Snowshoes and Anecdotal Evidence

Posted

Becky, snowshoe racing in Wisconsin. Note the hat: it’s Packer spirit wear; she’ll be cheering Greenbay during Sunday’s Superbowl. Well, it’s here — the Snowstorm of the Century has hit Chicago. I’m not quite sure how significant that is in a century that’s only 11 years old, but we’ve definitely got accumulation, with some serious… Read more »

Having the Data is Not Enough

Posted

For people in our industry, numbers have a life of their own. We get excited when data show us new trends, patterns and possibilities. But most of the world does not view this information in the same way. In fact, believe it or not, most people think of statistical data as dry, unfathomable, even boring…. Read more »