Why won’t anyone teach her math?

Lots of discussion in my feeds about this Daily Princetonian piece, “Why won’t anyone teach me math?” by first-year student Abigail Rabieh. She just took Math 202, an intro to linear algebra, and the experience was so lousy she’s done with Princeton math for good. That’s bad! So what was wrong with Rabieh’s class? “Though I passed MAT 202 class just fine, my experience in it was miserable. The way the course was run did...

Rereads

This year’s reading theme is going to be rereads. In previous years, I’ve chosen themes expressly to get me to expand my reading and encounter new kinds of books. But my planned theme last year (long books) was such a failure that I decided I owe myself an easy one; I’m going to try to mostly read books I’ve already read, and that I know mean something to me. Make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other gold,...

The year of not reading long books

30 Dec 2021:  Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir.5 Dec 2021: The Green Futures of Tycho, by William Sleator.30 Nov 2021:  The Cup of Fury, by Upton Sinclair.28 Nov 2021: Horse Walks Into A Bar, by David Grossman (Jessica Cohen, trans.)5 Nov 2021: All Of The Marvels, by Douglas Wolk.13 Oct 2021: Great Days, by Donald Barthelme.30 Sep 2021:  Beautiful World, Where Are You? by Sally Rooney.18 Sep 2021:  Because Internet, by...

The greatest Astro/Brave(s)

The pennants have been decided, largely without my attention, because never in recent memory have four teams I less care for been vying for the title. The Dodgers and Red Sox are OK I guess but they just won. The Astros keep winning pennants and are holders of a recent world championship tainted by sign-stealing. And the Braves are a just-OK team that knocked out the Brewers. If they still had Kevin Gausman and Nick Markakis, I’d...

Beautiful World, Where Are You?

I was struck by the fact that this book was getting a huge amount of press, and I was clearly supposed to have heard of the author, Sally Rooney, but I had not. And when I asked people about this, I was told it was generational. Rooney is “a millennial author” and I am not a millennial reader. I took this as a challenge! Can I read millennially? Here are some thoughts which I suppose contain plot spoilers if you are the sort of...

Dredging as good government

A few summers ago we had really bad floods in Madison. There were a lot of reasons. The proximate reason was it rained a lot. But also: we keep the levels of the lakes artificially high with dams, in part because not doing so would make the lake levels fluctuate a lot, and that is a problem for people who have houses on the lake. It’s hard to have your dock reliably terminate at the shoreline if the shoreline keeps moving. Another...

The Bottom Line – A CPA Story

A typescript of about 30 pages written by my grandfather, Jacob Smith, in the summer of 1976, work towards a memoir. Just going to record some facts and details here. He writes that he was “born more dead than alive,” the last of seven children, six years younger than the rest. Professor Jellinghouse, a women’s specialist and sainted genius, directed the activities of several neighbors who acted as a committee of midwives. At...