Mathematics and the mind of Terence Tao

I’ve always thought mathematicians were really cool. Terry Tao is one of the top mathematicians in the world. He was a child prodigy who completed eleventh grade math when he was seven years old, and he’s now a professor at UCLA.

The NY Times has a great article about Tao (whom I thought I blogged about after his Fields Medal, but I guess not…) and his modern style of mathematical leadership. It’s a fascinating look not only into the mind of Terence Tao, but also at the field of mathematics as well. From a young age, he was fascinated by numbers. He has ventured into different areas of mathematics, but it sounds like his specialty is prime numbers.

Sandra Bland and police violence

I’ve been following the Sandra Bland case. I think we can all agree that Officer Brian Encinia had no reason to pull Bland out of the car. Sure, Bland was angry and had a combative tone, but there was no reason for Encinia to get physical. I can understand a cop ordering a driver out of a car if the driver appears drunk or could possibly have a weapon, but for smoking in her own car? A cop needs to have a temperament that prevents his ego from getting in the way. As someone who once had experience with a a bad (and in my case, dirty) cop, I understand where Bland was coming from.

The same, the same, the same

There’s an open letter from David Brooks to Ta-Nehisi Coates in today’s NY Times. I pretty much agree with David Brooks. Although I respect Coates’s writing style, I don’t get it either. I’ve never gotten it. I’ve had liberal friends send me Coates’s articles and post Coates’s links, and it seems to me that he only sees the negative, that his take on life has very little to do with reality. Not all white people are bad, and not all black people live according to the liberal narrative of poverty and oppression. Certainly it’s good to think that a cop doesn’t have to use force when a larger man tries to grab his gun or refuses to cooperate after breaking the law, but it rarely plays out that way in real life, no matter how you write about it. Very few writers and editors at the Atlantic are cops or former cops, nor do they know many cops or former cops, nor, for that matter, do they know violent criminals.

Atticus Finch is a racist

Harper Lee in 1961, Photo credit: Donald Uhrbrock, Getty Images

Harper Lee in 1961, Photo credit: Donald Uhrbrock, Getty Images

I can’t believe it.

‘Go Set a Watchman,’ by Harper Lee

Atticus Finch was the moral conscience at the center of “To Kill a Mockingbird.” But in this novel, he is a racist and a source of pain for his daughter, Scout, now an adult known as Jean Louise, upon her return home to Maycomb, Ala., from New York City.

80-20 PAC, R.I.P.

I’m in total shock right now. ChineseMom just informed me that the 80-20 PAC is closing down. I was there when they first started, and…wow…I’m in shock. From their website:

Q1: Why has 80-20 PAC chosen death rather than hanging on?

80-20 has seen many similar AsAm organizations providing negative service to our community. 80-20 PAC could one day become a negative-service organization. So it is better to cease operations than struggle to hang on.

Q2: Negative service? Could you give an example?

TED talk on the mathematics of finding love

This looks interesting. Intuitively, I understand the mathematics of “whoever is doing the asking is better off,” but I’d like to see the full explanation.

Also check out the video above. That 37% thing seems pretty accurate, at least from an intuitive level. I’m assuming it also applies to situations such as finding a job, a career, a place to live, etc. I just ordered Hannah Fry’s book from the library. If anyone wants to do a podcast on this, it could be interesting.

Supreme Court may encourage common sense with affirmative action decision

The Supreme Court is going to hear Fisher again. Most are saying that this is good for Abby Fisher and those who face discrimination under current policies. Abby Fisher herself says:

“I am very grateful that the Supreme Court will once again hear my case. I hope the justices will rule that UT is not allowed to treat undergraduate applicants differently because of their race or ethnicity,” Fisher said in a statement out shortly after the decision to rehear her case was announced.

Let’s hope that the Supreme Court does the right thing and ends affirmative racism once and for all.

Things that I learned over my blog vacation

Hey Everyone Who Is Still Here:

I should be blogging again pretty soon. I hope you all enjoyed your vacations as much as I enjoyed mine. I wanted to share a few things with you that I learned during the break:

1. My Toisan is terrible, and my Cantonese is just as bad. I can’t believe how bad it is. I think I’m going to make it a goal to at least get it so that I can speak and understand somewhat passably. I can start by studying the video above and learning how to talk about family.