[rescue] FrameMaker FYI

Mike Parson mparson at bl.org
Fri Mar 26 13:39:55 CST 2004

On Fri, Mar 26, 2004 at 02:20:46AM -0800, Joost van de Griek wrote:
> Dave McGuire wrote:
>> On Mar 25, 2004, at 8:08 PM, Joshua Boyd wrote:
>>> In a way, aren't they all math and physics?  The study of algorithms
>>> has long been an area mathematicians, long before computers came
>>> out, and it is only fairly recently to my understanding that people
>>> distinguished between math and physics.
>>> For some reason, understanding math and algorithms seems to have
>>> little effect on how one understands a computer though, for some
>>> reason.  At least, thus has been my experience.
>> No, it's pretty simple...think of it this way.  It's possible to
>> reduce pretty much anything to mathematics.  Physics, electronics,
>> computer science, chemistry, biology...anything.
> That depends... Are we talking mathematics, or arithmetic? Most people
> don't (can't) distinguish between the two. Seeing as most high school
> curricula teach arithmetic yet call it mathematics sure doesn't help,
> either.

Arithmetic I'm pretty good at, even algebra and geometry.  It was HS
level Algebra II where I started to get lost and by the time I got to
pre-cal and trig, I'd missed something important and none of it made
sense to me.  It wasn't till I took college algrebra at the community
college where I was able to fill in the missing gaps.

> As for the case presented above, I would venture that it comes down
> to intuition. Yes, computer science is all (applied) mathematics. No,
> being good at one doesn't imply one is also good at the other.
>> Just because one *can* reduce something to mathematics, however,
>> doesn't mean one *should*.
> True. However, it still amazes me how many people can actually boast
> being bad at math (and science in general).

I don't boast about being bad at math, it's not something I'm terribly
proud of, it just annoyed me in HS when my teachers would try and use
the fact that I liked computers as a reason I should be acceling in
their course.  I always passed it, just that unlike my other subjects, I
tended to be a B/C math student instead of an A/B.

> People look at me as if I'm some kind of freak if I tell them that I
> don't have a drivers' licence, yet it is quite acceptable to announce
> that you are bad at math, for some reason.

I've no problem with you not having a drivers' license, I think way
too many people have them and most of them have no business behind the
controls of a ton+ of steel heading down the road at 60+ mph.  But that's 
another rant and thread entirely.

> Strange. I would think that being proud of lacking a fundamental
> understanding of how things (things pretty much meaning: the world
> you live in, in this case) would sort of classify one as a moron. But
> maybe that's just me.

Like the blank stare that accompanies the, "I'm not a computer person"
when you try and figure out why this yoyo can't print?

But I feel the same way about people who don't even have a passing
knowledge of history (ask 5 people when the US Civil War was, see if
they can even get the right century), or the political system we're
(the United States) governed by, or how it differs from what others are
governed by.

We all have our pet peeves on how educated our fellow man is. =)

It's what makes us geeks feel like we're smarter than the rest of them.

Michael Parson
mparson at bl.org

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