Math, Moolah, Meddling Spies, and Monarchs

Here's the roundup of my most recent writing for The American Conservative, which includes math nerdery, political science research, Snowden coverage, and, best of all, a theatre review.  Teaching Math Under Common Core: Fact and Fiction, Part V When I learned my times tables, the kinds in my class used the fingers trick for remembering the nine times table. Just hold up all ten fingers, palms in, and then, counting from the left, put down the nth finger (where n is the number you’re m … [Read more...]

Post-CPAC Roundup: Crime, Race, Religion, and Women

Earlier today I wrote about the how of my CPAC coverage, and here's the what: all the stories I filed for AmCon based on the speeches I heard and the questions I asked at the Conservative Political Action Conference.  I tried to stick to the criteria of "Kind, honest, and necessary" throughout:Conservative Atheists Speak Up About CPAC Shunning Less than 24 hours passed between the American Atheists‘ announcement that“Atheists March Into Lions’ Den at CPAC” and the follow-up “CPAC Boots Ath … [Read more...]

Three Radical Disruptions: Cyberwar, Drones, and Apprenticeships

I've spent this weekend at CPAC on a press pass, and I'll post a roundup of the work I did there on Tuesday, but, while I catch up on sleep, I wanted to share some of the non-CPAC AmCon pieces I've written recently.  Since my last day-job update, I've had two politics posts and one on culture/education:  Cyberattacks on Syria Put the Homefront in Danger Instead of targeting enemy soldiers, cyberwar targets enemy infrastructure. Just as your own computer can be damaged by being … [Read more...]

No Room for Atheists at the Conservative Inn

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is on the horizon, and, not 24 hours after the American Atheists announce that they'd registered for a booth, they were unceremoniously ejected by the organizers.  Over at my day job, I interviewed both Dave Silverman, head of the American Atheists, and Edwina Rogers, leader of the Secular Coalition for America.  They're both self-described conservatives, and they talked about why atheists should want to reach out to conservatives and vice v … [Read more...]

Mammograms, University Lapses, and the Limits of Big Data

Over at my day job, I've gotten to write about two of my major hobbyhorses recently.  First in "Did We Mess Up on Mammograms?" I got to gloss the big study on the efficacy of breast cancer screening, nerd out about history/philosophy of medicine, and design an infographic. While we remain torn between the old recommendation and the new, it’s tempting to stick which the more interventionist option. Doctors and patients would like the comfort of knowing they did something even if what they did was … [Read more...]

Overconfidence in Our Employment Models

Due to travel and college debate reunions that kept us on the floor until past 2am, the Pope Francis bookclub post is prorogued until tomorrow.My last two posts at The American Conservative have both been about the limitation of our ability to model the world, mathematically or otherwise, and how to be mindful of the gaps.  First off, I have "Stop Hiding Behind the CBO" kvetching about the attempts of politicians on both sides to use descriptive data to avoid spelling out their normative c … [Read more...]

Who Needs Literature for Problem Solving?

When I was watching the State of the Union last week, one of the lines in the education section rubbed me the wrong way, and I'm blogging on the topic at AmCon today: In his State of the Union last week, President Obama talked a little about how he wants to improve the education system, but his most revealing line might have been where he listed the subjects he thinks our schools should be teaching: Teachers and principals in schools from Tennessee to Washington, D.C., are making big strides in … [Read more...]