Math is the Right of All Free People
The statement that “Math is the right of all free people” sums up our goals at Occupy Math, but not how we try to reach them.
Occupy Math wants math to be easier, more accessible, and less scary. Not being able to do simple math opens you up to scam artists, allows politicians lie to you without getting caught, and can cost you piles of money. We want to help you become stronger, to become safer, and to see the incredible glory of pattern and structure in people, society, nature, and art.
Without math, people can be cheated, confused, and may not even know what their choices are. The big issues we address include the following: discrimination against groups of people like women and minorities in math; bad, ill-advised, or counter-productive education techniques in schools; the fact that math is incredibly nifty as demonstrated by fractals, flowers, and fundamental truths about the universe.
We are also deeply concerned that math anxiety is pervasive and viewed as normal by many people. Nothing is quite so toxic to progress as being told it’s impossible before you even try to achieve it. Children should think of math as a toy, not a chore, and the flavor of math is all in how you present it.
Some popular posts? In the social justice topic, people have enjoyed our post, “Stop being stupid and keeping women out of math.” In the category of fun, nifty math, people have loved our post, “Making flowers with trigonometry.” Our public service math posts, (like the one that explains why an initial positive diagnoses of AIDS is probably wrong, even though the test is pretty accurate) have also been popular. We love to hear from our readers about possible topics – the hijacked gubernatorial election in Kansas was pointed out to us by readers.
Found a cool topic? E-mail us at danwell42 (at) gmail.com or comment on one of the blog posts. Also feel free to suggest presentation topics for Occupy Math. We have a TEDx talk (see below) and would love to give further presentations on Occupy Math themes.
2 thoughts on “About”
We’ve never met, but you and my daughter Elizabeth collaborated on a paper on Prisoner’s Dilemma a few years ago. I naturally got to read it and found it quite interesting.
I thought you might be interested to know that the Business section of this weekend’s Globe and Mail actually uses Prisoner’s Dilemma to explain the glut of raw materials on the market right now. The article is entitled “SuperSlump” and the relevant passage goes like this:
“The obvious question is why miners don’t cut back production to put a floor under sagging prices. Mr. Davis says they are trapped in a commodity-industry version of a classic Economics 101 game known as the prisoner’s dilemma. The game uses two hypothetical prisoners to demonstrate to students why perfectly rational people may decide not to co-operate although it is in their best interests to do so.
Like the hypothetical prisoners, real-life miners face an ugly choice: They know things would be better if everyone would ease back on production, which would thereby boost prices. But they also realize that any single miner who cuts back on output will just open up space for competitors to grab market share.
That, Mr. Davis points out, is exactly what happened when Glencore PLC, the giant commodity-trader-cum-miner, decided in early October to cut its annual zinc output by 500,000 tonnes, or 4 per cent of global supply. After an initial bump in zinc prices, the metal quickly resumed its downward course as other miners rushed to fill the gap.”
Nice to see math used to explain things!
Thanks for your blog articles and for instilling a (further) love of math in my daughter.
It turns out the project with Elizabeth has turned into an interesting long-term project. My post-doc and I just got another paper in the series accepted to Game and Puzzle Design.
Many thanks for the mining-industry pointer. That may be a nice situation to do more complicated modeling for.
Apologies for the long delay in replying – I am still learning this interface AND I had an emergency trip to Kansas to help my own mother which was internet-connection poor.
It is very good to hear from you!