Tell the Machiavellian
he’s not welcome anymore
—Stone Sour, “Tired”
Hello my new friends. The time has come. I’ve decided that the snark that lives inside me has to emerge, Athena-like, into the light. Well, at least into the dim; I don’t expect to generate much traffic here.
What am I doing? What is this new entry in the world?
This, ladies and germs, is TheMathMatters. Because, you see, the math DOES matter, and so many people get it wrong.
And I find that maddening.
What did you hope to learn about here?
—Matchbox 20, “Real World”
For those of you who are, inexplicably, new to Douglas’ Writing Style(tm), let me explain the ground rules.
At my previous blog, OtherEndofSunset, I talked only about personal stuff, often quite painful personal stuff. My goal was to externalize that which lived inside me. I used it to help me heal, to move on. Thanks to any of you who helped me on that journey.
I pointedly didn’t respond to any business-related questions, nor talk about stuff related to my employer. I did, however, seem to have some odd fascination with hats. I can’t explain that part.
I will do things a bit differently here. My posts will be shorter, and less personal. I may talk about business stuff, although it won’t be a primary goal.
I hope someday you’ll join us
—John Lennon, “Imagine”
I will continue to quote song lyrics. I won’t tell you why I quote a particular song. The beauty of art is that it strikes each of us differently. Perhaps you’ll have some surprising reaction to a song I quote. Perhaps not. But let’s give it a shot, shall we?
I am going to write posts about stuff — press, television, academic articles, fiction — where math is … or should be … a key component. Some of my topics will be about hard things, others trivial. Some will result in “my side” being right, but other times not.
Really, Barbie notwithstanding, math often isn’t that tough. It’s a funny language describing more or less common sense. It does not exist in some Platonic form. It is a tool created and wielded by humans, with the associated biases, errors and, occasionally, politics.
I don’t care what you believe — I’m glad you believe in something, and I very much want you to tell everyone what you believe. But you should try to get the numbers right.
If you don’t, I’m going to try and correct it. Mostly because it makes me laugh, but, perhaps, it will be edifying.
I won’t ask for nothing
while I’m gone
—Billy Joel, “Honesty”
I expect (hope?) that I will get the math wrong at some time. And I hope you point it out, even with a giggle if that helps.
Mostly, I hope we enjoy a brief trip together, for as long as it lasts.