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Anal Retentive Math Nerdom

June 24, 2010

Define Nerdom: (colloquial) The act of being a nerd.

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Out of boredom I decided to look up the course competencies for the Basic Math class at the Art Institute Online. This is what is said, verbatim:

Solve mathematical problems involving positive and negative whole numbers, fractions, and, decimals.

So, being the math Nazi that I am, I had to call foul on this one! For those of you that don’t see the glaring discrepancy (beside the comma after the “and”), a whole number by definition cannot be negative. The set of whole numbers is displayed below:

It’s a little sad that the person who wrote the competencies of the course doesn’t even meet them him/herself.

So, without having any proper channel to file a formal complaint, I did what any self respecting math nerd would do: I complained to anyone that would listen. As a math nerd and a math teacher I feel morally responsible for pointing out such misfeasance! I mean, I could not let myself be accused of nonfeasance!!  (Yes, the previous two sentences were strictly inserted to flex my juristic vocabulary muscle…haha…I did it, again!) I sent and email to my academic counselor explaining why this was wrong and how it was contributing to the degradation of society as a whole (no pun intended). For a society that falls being in the fields of math and science, is doomed to be overcome by those that don’t! Actually, I didn’t do that. I tried to as politely and an non-obnoxiously as possible point out the mistake and ask her if she knew anyone that could fix it.

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And for those of you vocabulary Nazi’s out there, I am implying that stating a whole number can be negative is a crime that causes injury to someone (mentally). Therefore, the act of stating a whole number can be negative is a misfeasance (doing something that inadvertently causes injury to another) and not reporting it would be a nonfeasance (failure to act that results in injury or failure to act when under obligation to do so).  For those of you that don’t get the joke, because it is difficult to determine tone in text, I am exaggerating! And, as I said, I just wanted to use some words I never get to use!

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On another note, I will most likely be retiring my teaching blog next quarter 😦 We will be converting to eCompanion and it render my little blog useless. I only got to use it for one quarter, so this kind of sucks. I might still use it to publish my students math art projects. Which reminds me, I need to post the pictures from the Spring quarter.

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