October 9, 2012 |
This article originally was published Aug. 7, 2011. Talk about a buzz-killing week. It started with an end to the debt-ceiling nightmare that satisfied no one - the best summation: "You don't 'win' a hostage crisis. You resolve it. " It ended with reminders, via the stock market and the jobs report, of why no one can just pinch us and wake us all up. But along the way, two lesser headlines caught my eye. One was more evidence that the rich are still getting richer: an 8 percent increase in luxury-store sales - the latest echo of a study showing that by the eve of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent of U.S. earners had captured a larger share of the nation's income than any time since 1928.
October 4, 2012 |
Daniel Spielman's parents knew he was good at math, just not how good, because his private school used written evaluations instead of letter grades. Then at the end of seventh grade at the Philadelphia School, teachers asked the Spielmans if their son would be willing to work with a tutor - from the University of Pennsylvania. Now 42, Spielman earned a much more public accolade on Tuesday. He and 22 others are this year's winners of the MacArthur fellowships - sometimes informally called "genius grants," though award administrators discourage that term.
October 2, 2012 |
Dubbed a "medical anomaly" by his doctors, 21-year-old Alexander Rotzal has fought the odds of survival from the moment he was born. His severely underdeveloped heart, an often fatal birth defect, has had him in and out of hospitals for his entire life. At age 2, Alex had a life-prolonging heart operation. Every few years, to keep his heart functioning normally, he still needed an extra metal part here and there, including a pacemaker. This summer, while other college students worked on their tans or vacationed abroad, Alex battled cancer and beat it back.
July 27, 2012 |
During a recent School Reform Commission meeting, Commissioner Joseph Dworetzky decried the cost of independent charter school expansion under the Philadelphia School District's reform plan, saying district Renaissance Schools have been less costly. We at the Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter Schools disagree with the commissioner's math as well as his philosophy on education reform. Dworetzky and others are overlooking the fact that the costs of any reforms have been exacerbated by the inability or refusal of previous commissioners to "rightsize" the district.
July 21, 2012 |
Speaking to a room full of bridge players, Walter Mitchell, the president of District 4 of the American Contract Bridge League, boomed: "This is not your grandmother's game anymore, right?" One of the players called back to him, "Yeah, it is. " Mitchell glanced toward the arguing audience member. All of the players he was addressing as they sat poised to start a 21/2-hour session of intent concentration on cards were between 6 and 18. So he revised his point. "It's still your grandmother's game," he said.
June 29, 2012 |
Faculty and students of St. William's School, in Lawncrest, haven't had much to cheer about lately. The Archdiocese decided to close the small school and send its pupils to St. Cecilia's, in Fox Chase. But a ray of sunshine lit up flagging spirits this spring when a shy 10-year-old girl named Josephine Nguyen won first-place honors out of 1.4 million students who competed in the nationwide "First in Math" competition. When it appeared that Josephine was going to prevail, a sign went up in front of the school, at Rising Sun Avenue and Devereaux Street, to let the world know, and faculty and fellow fourth-grade students had something to cheer.
June 4, 2012 |
I recently bumped into a cute story that seemed familiar. It suggested a switch to an 18-cent coin. I found it by way of Hacker News — for my money ($0), the best news aggregator for the tech set. It was a fairly typical blog post: a summary of a paper that ran the math and determined that the average number of coins one gets from a cash register is 4.7. But the addition of an 18-cent coin would drop that to 3.89. I like this sort of thing. It's quirky. It's math. It speaks to the stupidity of pennies.
April 15, 2012 |
Martin M. Beer, 88, a mathematics teacher at Haddonfield Memorial High School from 1953 to 1983 who also led cycling tours of Europe before and after his retirement, died of pulmonary hypertension Wednesday, April 4, at Kendal-Crosslands, the retirement community near Kennett Square. In 1964, Mr. Beer and his wife, Winifred, organized Haddon Cycle Tours, first for students and later for adults, a part-time business that they continued until 1992. He met his wife in 1950, at a Quaker meeting in Cambridge, Mass., while he was taking summer courses at Harvard University.
April 6, 2012 |
David de Gea. Joe Hart. Zac MacMath. OK, now before you go telling me to pump the brakes on the last goalkeeper, the Union variety does have something in common with the other two. All three are quietly debunking the myth that to be a successful goalkeeper you need to be older and more experienced. The days of the Peter Schmeichels, Oliver Kahns and Kasey Kellers of the soccer world are not a thing of the past in fact, quite the contrary. Older keepers are still proving that experience over the long haul is better between the posts.
March 26, 2012 |
Kathryn Hibbs Voit, 80, of Cheltenham, a math educator and advocate for patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, died of the disease Thursday, March 8, at home. Mrs. Voit taught math at the Community College of Philadelphia for 20 years, until 2001. She was diagnosed in 1998 with ALS, a degenerative disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord that control muscle movement. Mrs. Voit continued to teach for three years, using a cane, then a walker, and finally a motorized wheelchair, her husband, Gerard A. Voit, said.