We Solve For ‘x’ In This Class

12 October 2010

I had an Intermediate Algebra class on 11 October 02010 that started at noon. Prior to class I had read a press release from Geron Corporation announcing the “enrollment of the first patient in the company’s clinical trial of human embryonic stem cell.” I made mention of this historic moment near the start of the class and I had to immediately change the subject. We solve for ‘x’ in this class.

Prior to this embryonic stem cell moment, I had presented the QOTW (Quote Of The Week).

The rate at which a person can mature is directly proportional to the embarrassment he can tolerate. I have tolerated a lot — Doug Engelbart (01925-)

I briefly mention how the way we use computers today can be attributed to Doug Engelbart’s work back in the 1960s. I also mentioned that Engelbart is alive and still working on his lifelong dream of augmenting human intelligence.

Student: What do you mean by augmenting human intelligence?
Me: Make all people equal when it comes to IQ.
Student: What?!?!? How do we do this?
Me: Well, one example, the Googlers want a Google object implanted in our brains.
Student: What?!?!? Won’t we be like robots?
Me: We solve for ‘x’ in this class. Search Google for site:wired.com bill joy future and read Why the future doesn’t need us.

Prior to this embryonic stem cell moment, I mentioned that is was nice having two binary dates in a row. Yesterday was 10/10/10 and today was 10/11/10. Next month will be fun because we have 11/11/11 and 11/11/11 will be the last binary date until 1 January 02100. I wasn’t able to move of this topic until I pointed out the blasphemy of using a 2-digit year.

Me: I should be shot for using a 2-digit year. If anything, we should be using a 5-digit year.
Student: 5-digit year?!?!?!?
Me: Yes. 2010 is really 02010. But you don’t want to start using a 5-digit year because that will put you completely out-of-sync with the rest of society.
Student: Nobody uses a 5-digit year.
Me: We solve for ‘x’ in this class. Visit http://longnow.org

At the very start of class (i.e. prior to this embryonic stem cell moment), I mentioned that The Simpsons last night was a mathy episode (Lisa coached baseball using statistics/probability) and I tweeted about it.

At this point the energy level of the class started its fall to zero because it was time for us to solve for ‘x’.

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