Saturday, July 09, 2005


Yesterday was a good day. Not only did I feel empowered by moving those pesky boxes out of my office (hey, I take what I can get), but the weather was cool enough to wear jeans. This latter part involved my wearing my favorite jeans and having them fit like I like them to. This is a big deal, as my preferred fit is not the one envisioned as optimal by the people who design, manufacturer, and sell clothing.* Had my favorite jeans not fit, I would have been sad. Very sad.

After finishing up at the office I decided to get lunch at Starbucks (I am living off coffee, pastry, powerbars, and supermarket sushi these days). I hadn't brought anything in to the office with me, so I didn't have any of my works in progress handy, so I grabbed a book from my office bookshelf to bring with me to Starbucks. I chose Mathematics and Democracy. After the first few chapters I started skimming because it got sort of redundant, but I really liked the main idea of the book: it's a bad thing that schools are producing graduates who have no quantitative common sense and who are unable to make basic decisions that involve interpreting data. I would much prefer if the Powers That Be controlling school mathematics decided that instead of trying to prepare every student to take calculus that they instead tried to prepare every student to live in the real world.

Then when I got home, I saw that Freakonomics had arrived from Amazon. (I had xmas gift certificate money leftover; I feel the need to make excuses about buying this book.) It's very light reading, and I read it in one sitting. It's dangerous for someone like me to have this book: the entire time I was reading it I was thinking, "Yes, yes! See! Your misanthropic theories that your friends and relatives put down as being crazy? They are ALL TRUE! Some really smart guy from all the best schools says that YOU ARE RIGHT AND EVERYONE ELSE IS WRONG!"

*I am such a fashion iconoclast that I expect the pockets on my jeans to be functional and to hold my wallet, keys, cell phone, and whatever other incidentals I need with me. I hate purses and refuse to carry one except on very special occasions.