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TED Talk: Adam Spencer: Why I fell in love with monster prime numbers

Something I enjoyed watching this week:


Dumbed Down?

Master 16 will be entering Yr 11 this year.  One of the things he has to get for his Mathematics Methods class is a graphing calculator, ie, one that draws graphs.

Mr Yewnique and I were not impressed with this function.  After all, when we were in school, we had to work out the coordinates for a graph – get this – with our brains!!

The school said that, unfortunately, that’s the way things are going now and the students will need it for classes and in the exam.

Mr Yewnique’s only comment was, ‘That’s just further proof of things being dumbed down.’

When I was in secondary school, we weren’t even allowed to use calculators.  Lest you think I am older than I really am, I want to dispel that misconception.  Yes, calculators had been invented by then.  Mr Yewnique, who is the same age as I am, was allowed to use calculators at his school.  (For the record, I was allowed to use calculators in Pre-University (Gr. 12). )

Instead of calculators, we had Log Books.  Hands up if you know what I’m talking about.

Remember this?

The log books had all sorts of calculations: square roots, cube roots, sine, cosine, tangent, et cetera. Whenever we wanted to know the value of something, we had to look it up in the log book.  None of this typing into a calculator.

I wonder if the older generation ever thought that things were dumbed down when classrooms started using scientific calculators.


Of Boys and Planes (A Math Question)

A friend posted this on her FB page. It is her Gr.6 son’s holiday homework.  (They’re in Singapore, if it helps to know.)

Abel and Ben can build a model aircraft together in 4 days. Ben and Calvin can do the same job together in 1 1/2 times as many days. Abel and Calvin can complete the same job together in twice the number of days Ben and Calvin can do together. If the three boys decide to work together, how long will they take to complete their job?


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It Doesn’t Always Add Up…

Mrs Tan was my maths teacher in Form 2 (Gr 8).  We were always a little bit scared of her. Okay, maybe more than a little.  She was always so fierce-looking and almost never seemed to smile.  And she was very particular about how work was to be presented and handed in.  We had two exercise books: Book A and Book B.  She would check the work in one book while we did work in the other.  Every day, we would hand in the new work and she would hand us back the corrected work from the other book.

There were ten Form 2 classes and I guess she would have taught half of them.  Each class had about 45 students, so that’s 225 students she had.  225 books to check every single day. I’d be grumpy, too.

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Why ‘x’ is the unknown

Ever wondered why the unknown is rendered ‘x’?


Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 40 – The Red Menace, Part 1

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary:

Evolutionists have made an amazing fossil jellyfish discovery in Mosinee, Wisconsin. Many are calling it a miracle. The Creation Response Team travels to the site to show the world how these fossils are evidence for Noah’s Flood. But when they arrive in town, strange things begin to happen. Could they have accidentally stumbled across a plot to overthrow the United States government and take over the little town of Mosinee?

The Study Guide for episodes 40-41 can be found here: jp_vol4_study_guide_epi40-41

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Vision Forum Ministries.  Through these CDs, VF hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

NOTE: The producers of this series neglect to reference their information in any form.  No references is ever given either on the CD or in the Study Guide for ANY information presented in the series.  Even the voice actors of the series are not given any credit anywhere.  We only know that the series is a production of Vision Forum Ministries.


Knowing what the previous episodes are like, I have to admit I started listening to this one with dread. I wondered how long it would be before they said something wrong.  I was not disappointed.


The Story: The characters talk a bit about the jellyfish, its development and how wonderful it is.  Then at 4:55, they conclude with this whopper: “I think creatures like these give great glory to the Creator.  How could random accidental mistakes ever make such a complicated system?”

The Facts: And FAIL!  Evolution is not about ‘random, accidental mistakes’.  This misconception gets repeated in almost every episode and is in the Study Guide as well.

The “How could…” statement is an Argument from Incredulity and shows very poor logic.  Just because something is incredible does not mean it can’t be true.


Freedom and Morals

The Story: Jamal – the boy who grew up in Iraq (he calls it eye-RACK) who was later brought to the US – expresses an interest in knowing more about freedom in the US.  Jim, Kendall and Martha explain that the Founding Fathers believed that everyone in the US should have the freedom to worship the Creator; the leaders would spend ‘hours in prayer’ before making any hard decisions; they knew that the laws could only be built based on the absolute truths of the Bible because God’s Word tells us what is right and wrong.

Jim then says, ‘…And that is the sad thing about those who believe in evolution. If there is no God, and we evolved by random, chance accidents, what determines right and wrong? Who’s to say we shouldn’t steal from another person if we really need it? Or, if we are nothing more than random molecules, why is it wrong to murder if it is for the good of the many?”

Martha concludes by saying that the nations that honour God’s laws will be blessed and those that turn their backs on Him will never succeed in the end.  Isaiah 60:12 is quoted to support this statement.


The Facts: Oh, boy, so much to sort through and sort out!

Well, first things first.  Iraq is a country in the Middle East.  It is pronounced as ih-RAHK or ih-RAK.  NOT eye-RACK, as Jamal does.  You would think that someone who claims to be from that country would pronounce it the Iraqi way.  Something tells me he is an imposter.  Or, the producers didn’t bother to do their research properly.  Either or both of these options would not surprise me at all.

Now that we’ve got that sorted out, we can move on.

I cannot find a source that says that Congress spent hours in prayer before making any hard decisions.  Since no sources are given, this shall remain a mystery.

Interestingly, ‘evolution’ can explain moral behavior!  Human beings are social creatures; we live together in groups.  Whenever groups form, rules of behavior will naturally progress from that.  Different social groups have different rules.  I find it strange that young-Earth Creationists use the ‘Evolution cannot explain morals’ argument.  The assumption – or, in this case, outright declaration – is that God’s Word tells us what is right and wrong.  The argument is that we derive our morals from God’s Word and without it we would be lost.

However, God’s Word, as we know it today, went through many changes and was not canonised until the 4th century CE.  How did people know God’s laws before then?  If you want to argue that it is the laws handed down to Moses (The Ten Commandments and all that), those laws were handed down c. 1446 BCE.  IF the world was created in 4004 BCE, and God’s laws were not handed down to the Israelites until 1446 BCE, how did Israel cope for 2558 years? The Mosaic Law is considerably after other ancient laws including the Code of Hammurabi (c. 1700 BCE), the Code of Ur-Nammu, king of Ur (ca. 2050 BCE), the Laws of Eshnunna (ca. 1930 BCE) and the codex of Lipit-Ishtar of Isin (ca. 1870 BCE).  Were these older laws God-ordained? Why did Israel’s God take so long to reveal His Laws?

Once AGAIN, evolution is touted as a random, chance process.

I’m going to leave Martha’s statement alone.

…And the rest

The rest of the program focused mainly on the adventure aspect, where the children unwittingly discover a plot by a secret organisation attempting to remove some basic rights of the American people, especially Christian rights.  It was kind of amusing to listen to, as the perceptive listener will surely nod his head in recognition at the message that this is closer to the truth than the most people might realise.  We mustn’t become complacent and take our freedoms for granted.  We need to guard our freedom to worship the Creator, or this freedom may be taken away!

There was also additional information about the jellyfish.


Another episode not fit for impressionable listeners.  The program relied heavily on an over-the-top storyline with the children of the Creation Response Team getting involved in weird and dangerous situations.  It is ironic that the target audience for this adventure series is conservative Christian families who would probably shy away from fiction books in this genre.  And yet, this series is very popular among these families.  The hypocrisy of it all!

The erroneous statement about evolution being a chance process is mentioned yet again – twice.

The fight for the Creator and freedom is urged with the promise that those who turn their backs on God will perish.

And the story continues…

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Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 9 – Art Heist Adventure

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary

The Park and Brenan families are going to an art show, and Katie is left behind to babysit Ryan. However, during a series of babysitting mishaps, Katie and Ryan uncover an exciting plot to steal paintings from the show. (taken from here)

Topics in this episode:

  • Fibonacci Numbers
  • Fibonacci Numbers and the Golden Ratio
  • Fibonacci Numbers and the Human Body
  • Famous Artists Who Studied Fibonacci Numbers
  • Evolution as a Chance Process Could Not Have Produced Fibonacci Patterns

The Study Guide for episode 9 can be found here: jp_vol1_study_guide_epi9

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