Collective Math

The problem: Collective Math.
Math should never be a group activity. Today in class, we could not seem to figure out a very simple problem. There are two reasons why math in groups never works:
1) competition: Everyone, of course, wants to be the first one to blurt out the correct answer. So people will sacrifice accuracy for the chance that they’ll be right and appear smart. You’ll notice the first person to blurt (oh what a great word) out the answer usually adds “right?”. This translates to: “I’m a genius, but I’m occasionally prone to mistakes, though I don’t think I made a mistake this time because I am a genius.”
2) process: The more severe problem with group-math is that, as my junior-high math teacher Mr. Troya would have said: “There is always more than one way to skin the cat.” In fact, I think there are so many ways of doing something like, say, adding numbers in one’s head, that in any group of people there will rarely be parallel thinking processes. Thus, as soon as one person spits out part of their process (a valid one) everyone else tries to align their processes with that person’s. Everyone forgets what they were thinking about and tries the new path of reasoning. In the end, it’s never as efficient as a single person doing the problem in their own way.
Why do I write about this? I have no f-ing clue. Just something I thought about today.
PS – In the process of this writing I was inspired to find a picture or at least a description of Mr. Troya. I’m not really sure how his name is spelled but I was surprised to find such an extensive website about my junior-high school.

New Arts Law Association Website

Announcing the launch of the new Boston University Arts Law Association website! I’ve been working on this here and there, and I’m really happy with the results. The old site was no more complicated, but somehow lacked style – maybe because it didn’t use cascading style sheets (muhahaha – maybe we all just need cascading style sheets). Simplicity goes a long way, especially when there is plenty of information to disperse. Now I have the sufficiently annoying task of keeping the site updated, but I wouldn’t know anything about oft-updated websites…
It has been brought to my attention that airlinemeals.net has posted my new pictures of my airline food from my summer San Francisco trip (click on American Airlines and check out #19 and #20). The pictures should appear in this weeks poll, which starts tomorrow. There doesn’t seem to be any criteria for the poll. It’s not the “best meal” or the “best picture”. It’s just a poll. (“Meal of the week.”) Thus, you’re safe to vote for me. (I can’t afford the first class meals, and its hard to take good pictures on airplanes.) Vote for me!

Portrait

I still think that the mirror project is a very cool experiment in self-portraiture. Recently some other great portrait experiments have been brought to my attention. This guy takes a picture of himself every day while Nikki S. Lee was dressing up and assuming new identities – and documenting them.
My current favorite concept though is not about self-portraits, but rather, secret portraits. Simon Hogsberg took photos of unsuspecting subjects in London over the course of a year. He has organized these into seasons. Brilliant.

UCSB: Burning Up

According to Kaplan via Newsweek via MSNbc, UC Santa Barbara (my alma mater) is one of this year’s “twelve hottest colleges”.
This information comes to me via the UCSB alumni email newsletter, which I started getting automatically now that they’re no longer charging for it.
I like UCSB, but I wish they’d stop with the odd statistics. Every year they call me up (to ask for money) and tell me things like “UCSB is now the number 37 best rated public university”. This doesn’t really speak to me. I don’t know how much information was supplied to Kaplan for their article, but they mention that “27 percent of the students who applied for the class of 2006 had a GPA of 4.0 or higher”. What the hell does that tell me about UC Santa Barbara? Okay, so a lot of kids with straight As applied to UCSB. How many actually went there? I wonder.
If you’re going to use statistics to make a point, don’t attempt to imply something other than what the statistics say. Furthermore, there’s nothing wrong with a school that’s not at the top of reputation rankings, so what is the obsession with the numbers? What’s the difference between number 37 and number 38… and number 90?
How about, “UCSB – It’s kinda nice here.”?

Chicken + Waffles

A couple nights ago I went down to Bob The Chefs and ordered the chicken and waffles. That’s right, chicken and waffles. Together.
I’ve never eaten such a thing, but I always hear about this restaurant in LA that is famous for this unlikely combination. According to some, chicken and waffles are all the latest rage. I always meant to head down to Roscoe’s in LA but never got the chance. There was a Roscoe’s in Oakland for a while too, but I missed out there as well. (It’s now closed despite its being listed on citysearch). I even remember someone telling me that their mom makes chicken and waffles and it is one of their favorite meals. I just can’t remember who.
Despite all the rage, I can’t seem to find any information about where the idea comes from. For how long has this been going on? Is Roscoe’s really the best?
My chicken and waffle (I really only got one of each, so I’ll speak, er-write, in the singular) was okay. It wasn’t really all that weird to put a little syrup on my chicken (come on now, we’ve all dipped a fry into a milkshake – nothing wrong with sweet and savory together). However, I wouldn’t say it was especially tasty either. Either Bob The Chefs is not a good place for chicken and waffles or they’re doing it wrong… or my taste buds are not calibrated for adventure.