Liberal Arts Blog — Annual Check-Up: What Graphics Matter Most? Why? Let’s Decide. Let’s Share.
Liberal Arts Blog — Monday is the Joy of Math, Statistics, and Numbers Day
Today’s topic: Annual Check-Up: What graphics matter most? Why? Let’s Decide. Let’s share.
Today, I decided to look back over a long list of past math posts and pick the three images most worth highlighting. The common theme is that math is everywhere and that the most important math is the math that enriches your life and the lives of others the most. I would very much appreciate it if you looked back over your math life and pick out and then share the diagrams or images that have meant the most to you. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE MATH OF THE SUNRISE — PAYING ATTENTION TO THE SUN, MOON, STARS, AND PLANETS
1. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, right?
2, Yes, but exactly where? why?
3. Paying attention to the details solar, lunar, planetary, and stellar cycles should be the foundation of math education at home and school.
NB: Personally, I was never taught this at home or school. Are you paying attention to the math of the sun, moon, and the stars? How about the math of flowers and trees?
ARE YOU THE BEST PERSON YOU CAN BE? WHAT’S THE DATA?
1. For Ted Williams, what matters most was improving his batting average.
2. To do this he had to find out which kinds of pitches he was good at and which not so good. So he gathered the data.
3. What do you want to be best at? What are you good at? What are you bad at? Are you gathering the data? What does it say?
NB: Are you as grateful as you want to be? As kind? How many thank you’s did you say today? How many kind versus unkind words? how is your santa/grinch ratio trending? what is your target? is it the right one?
THE PARETO CHART, ENGINEERING QUALITY CONTROL, AND THE AMERICAN DREAM
1. What is the biggest gap between America as it is and America as it should be?
2. What are the reasons for this gap?
3. To me, the biggest gap is that ten to twenty million kids in America are living a daily Katrina of unsafe streets, unstable homes, and second rate schools and neither major party is putting these kids first.
NB: So why the failure to fix the unsafe streets, the unstable homes, and second rate schools? Concern for parental liberty is part of it. As is respect for the tradition of local control of schools and law enforcement. As is an unwillingness to challenge the power of teacher’s unions who quite rationally put job security for their members ahead of everything else. Understanding trade-offs is all important but not an easy or pleasant task.
BACKGROUND ON THE PARETO CHART:
1. “The purpose of the Pareto chart is to highlight the most important among a (typically large) set of factors. In quality control, it often represents the most common sources of defects, the highest occurring type of defect, or the most frequent reasons for customer complaints.”
2. The chart above depicts, for example, the causes of late arrival at work. The top five are traffic, child care, public transportation, weather, and oversight.
3. The seven tools of quality control also include the flow chart, the histogram, the scatter plot, and the fishbone diagram of cause and effect (aka the Ishikawa chart).
Click here for the last three years of posts arranged by theme:
So what are your personal favorite magic numbers? What do they stand for? Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to math, statistics, or numbers in general. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to math.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought.