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The IntMath Newsletter - 1 Sep 08

By Murray Bourne, 01 Sep 2008

In this Newsletter:

1. Lessons from the Olympics
2. Math tip - Inflation and Hyperinflation
3. The latest IntMath Poll
4. From the math blog
5. What does September mean at your school?

1. Lessons from the Olympics

The speech by IOC President Jacques Rogge at the spectacular opening of the 2008 Olympic Games contained some great points:

Remember that the Olympic Games are about much more than performance alone.

They are about the peaceful gathering of 204 National Olympic Committees - regardless of ethnic origin, gender, religions or political system.

Please compete in the spirit of Olympic values: excellence, friendship and respect.

Dear athletes, remember that you are role models for the Youth of the World. Reject doping and cheating.

Make us proud of your achievements and your conduct.

As he spoke, I felt that his words were relevant to students, too.

Ever thought that your education should be "more than performance alone"? While you are at school or college, I encourage you to mix well with others regardless of their ethnic origin, gender, religions or political system. Aim for (and give) excellence, friendship and respect in whatever you do. Be a positive and ethical role model. And it's also a good idea to reject drugs and not to cheat.

Very good advice, indeed.

2. Math tip - Inflation and Hyperinflation

I wrote a special article about inflation and hyperinflation for this edition of the IntMath Newsletter.

You can read the article here: Hyperinflation.

There are some good applications of math in the article, including percentages, exponential growth, logs, and semi-log curves. There are many social implications as well.

3. Poll results

Still on the theme of inflation, the IntMath Poll during Jul/Aug asked readers the following question.

"The following costs have risen a lot in the past year. Which one affects you the most?" The response from 1,000 readers was as follows:

54% Gasoline
28% Food
 8% Electricity
 7% Rent
 4% Mobile phone

Since the poll went live, the price of oil has dropped around 30%, but it’s still much higher than one year ago and it can only ever go up over the long term. My advice is to plan your future transport with this in mind.

The current poll asks readers "How is Your Math Anxiety?". You can vote on any page in Interactive Mathematics.

4. From the math blog

a) Tools for making a math website
A reader asked what tools I use to produce the Interactive Mathematics site.

b) Hyperinflation
Inflation is a concern all over the world right now, but some countries are experiencing uncontrolled hyperinflation. What does hyperinflation mean and what does it look like?

c) Friday Math Movie - Deep Brain Stimulation
Here's a guy who is actually a cyborg - his normal functioning depends on the computer implanted in his shoulder.

d) Google calculator - handy, but not always correct
Google's handy calculator doesn't always get it right, even with simple subtraction.

5. September - Back to School?

What does September mean at your school? For many readers in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the start of the school year.

But not for everyone.

My story: Where I came from (a small town in Australia), September brought the end of the icy cold winds of winter, and the beginning of the final term of school (we had 3 terms per year). September meant it was just another few months to go until we would enjoy summer and the long Christmas/New Year holidays.

How about you? What does September mean for school life in your country? Leave a comment on this Newsletter and share your story.

Have a good week.

See the 7 Comments below.

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  1. Use simple calculator-like input in the following format (surround your math in backticks, or qq on tablet or phone):
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    (See more on ASCIIMath syntax); or
  2. Use simple LaTeX in the following format. Surround your math with \( and \).
    \( \int g dx = \sqrt{\frac{a}{b}} \)
    (This is standard simple LaTeX.)

NOTE: You can mix both types of math entry in your comment.


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