Other pieces by Richard Paul
Posted on March 15, 2010 at 03:43 PM
I was born in 1954, and this excellent, informative and entertaining piece helped put much of what I experienced during my youth into perspective.
With regard to the comment that a whole generation wasted time learning "New Math." What a relief it was to hear you confirm what I'd always suspected! I'll never forget the day my 8th grade teacher, the elderly Sister Katherine, in a fit of frustration told us to put our New Math books under our desks for the day while she taught us "something useful," namely how to figure percentages. I think of her every time I calculate the cheaper item at the grocery store!
I have yet to find a use for "base 8."
Posted on April 15, 2010 at 12:29 AM
Being born in 57, I guess that I was taught New Math. I'm not sure what the difference's all were but I do know that I've never been able to understand why people seem to talk backwards; eight divided into four means the same as eight divided by four to me and the answer is 2!
Using various bases was of course necessary for understanding the fundamentals of computer logic. To the dismay of my teachers, I myself didn't learn the math tables, and I doubt that they would have predicted my taking electrical engineering in college. It's a pity the powers that be so often see learning as a exercise of willpower rather than a wonderful journey of discovery. It's amazing that we have made what progress that we have with so many being taught to hate learning!