The ISIS fatwa urging all Muslims in the world to ‘kill ‘em wherever you find ‘em’ is finally starting to cause some serious concerns among western leaders. The news services are reporting frustrating communiques being issued by presidents, prime ministers, intelligence service heads, and national police forces. The problem comes with the radicalized Muslims returning from the Mideast, and also our indigenous Muslims motivated by the call to kill in response to the new coalition air strikes in both Iraq and now Syria. And what puts a bow on the whole thing is Islam’s carte blanche to use ‘taqiyya’ in the preparation for their murderous attacks. Taqiyya has been the scripturally bloody staple in ‘green on blue’ attacks American troops have suffered from their Muslim comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now our authorities are telling us (correctly) that they have no means of stopping such attacks on civilians in the west by seemingly moderate Muslims – Major Hassan’s rampage at Ft Hood may serve as Exhibit A, along with the street killings of British and French GIs.
It turns out that repetition and exercises are needed to learn mathematical concepts. The government schools have been telling us for some years that doing ‘rote exercises’ was of little use after a student claimed to have understood the concept underlying a newly introduced mathematical idea. Engineering professor Barbara Oakley reports in the 23sep14 WSJ on some recent research that again confirmed that it is repeated applications of the concept is what really locks it into your brainbone. Her point, “Achieving 'conceptual' understanding doesn't mean true mastery. For that, you need practice.”
Those of us who have based our careers on the understanding and practice of some fairly hairy mathematics (I have a minor in math, and my graduate engineering work has been basically all math) have known this since day one – I even had to learn it the hard way in an early math course. Common Core standards continue with this breezy misunderstanding of how math is learned. But it will be up to the school districts and classroom teachers to come up with curricula that re-introduce the ‘practice makes perfect’ approach to teaching math. Don’t hold your breath.
Today the medical marijuana Measure S circus comes to town. The two sides on this new ‘medical’ marijuana cultivation issue have had a rocky road putting together a debate on the matter under a single roof, and wound up blowing a tire (Bob Crabb’s cartoon filched from the 22sep14 Union again nails it). The story of who agreed to what and when and then changed their mind(s) is too complex to repeat in these pithy remarks. But, as reported in this morning’s (23sep14) Union, each side has added a “rally” to celebrate their respective convincing arguments. The ‘No on S’ faction is headed by Sheriff Keith Royal who will be interviewed at 5pm by Union publisher Jim Hemig at the Rood Center; don’t know about any subsequent Q&A. Then Mr Hemig will skedaddle across town to the Nevada Theater where at 6pm he will be asking the same questions of the ‘Yes on S’ folks. But we can expect shouting and happy dancing to follow the sober phase of both presentations at their respective venues. Perhaps the distance separating these two seriously enthusiastic groups was not such a bad idea after all ;-)