Category: Quantitative Reasoning

New Math: A Formula for Everything

I think that I will have to start (or end?) every class session next fall with one of these fabulous formulas from New Math. Some of them are obvious (once you see them) and some of them just have me laughing out loud because of the simplistic way Craig Damrauer can depict such a complex subject. A few of my favorites: Inspired by these great formulas, I think we should have a contest to see who can come up with the best “new math formula” for math words like Calculus, Algebra, Statistics, etc. Take your best stab at your favorite math word, and then link here. Here’s my contribution, and then I’m back to work on my dissertation (where all my creative energy is flowing these days). Possibly Related Posts: Teaching in Higher Ed Podcast about ESIL Lens Add Graphs In The World to Courses Bringing the Real World to Your Math Class Every Day Taking the Algebra Out of College Algebra Group Exploration in...

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Google Search Data vs Real CDC Data: Guess who wins?

Google has been using search data to model flu outbreaks for a number of years. Generally, they look at the number of searches for words related to “flu” (graphs) and look for sharp increases in the number of searches (slopes, derivatives). You can watch a short and elegant video showing the results here. They’ve been tracking this data against the CDC data (graph comparison) and although the CDC data lags behind one to two weeks, it looks like the Google data can accurately predict when a flu outbreak starts (only, in real time). The data follows a nice periodic graph which you should be able to model with a Fourier Series. Want the data? Google will give you the data (go here). Perhaps, intrigued by this, you’d like to see if search trends make any other predictions – perhaps you could’ve predicted the recession in January 2008 (instead of 12 months later) by looking at searches for bankruptcy, unemployment, jobs, etc. You could assign a project to your students and have them use Google Trends. Unfortunately, I’m about to take a sabbatical, so I can’t do this with a class next semester, but I’m thinking that it would be a good project for Honors Calculus in the fall! I think I will have each student come up with a set of terms to track that are related to a...

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