This awful pun is just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/NeuroNewsResearch/photos/a.479172065434890/2989385557746849/?type=3&theater

This awful pun is just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/NeuroNewsResearch/photos/a.479172065434890/2989385557746849/?type=3&theater

*Posted by John Quintanilla on February 14, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/02/14/my-favorite-one-liners-part-116/

I credit Math With Bad Drawings for this new weapon in my arsenal of awful mathematical puns.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on February 10, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/02/10/my-favorite-one-liners-part-115/

I came across this fun video on proportions, imagining how large some objects would be if atomic (and subatomic) length scales were magnified to the size of a tennis ball.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on February 7, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/02/07/fun-with-proportions-and-atoms/

I’ve linked to a number of articles about the misuse of *p*-values. Recently, I read a nice article in the October/November 2019 issue of MAA Focus summarizing a conversation between the Executive Directors of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Statistical Association about the ASA’s call to eliminate the use of *p*-values. Per copyright, I can’t copy the entire article here, but let me quote the lead paragraph:

In March 2016, the American Statistical Association took the extraordinary step of issuing a Statement on

p-Values and Statistical Significance. This spring, the association went even further, publishing a massive special issue of its journal The American Statistician entitled Statistical Inference in the 21st Century: A World Beyondp<0.05. The lead editorial in that special issue called for the end of the use of the concept of statistical significance.

It’s going to be a while before entrenched statistics textbooks catch up with this new standard of professional practice.

Here’s an NPR article on the issue: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/03/20/705191851/statisticians-call-to-arms-reject-significance-and-embrace-uncertainty

Other articles cited in the MAA Focus article:

- http://sciencealert.com/statisticians-argue-it-s-time-to-ditch-significance-in-science-and-replace-it-with-uncertainty
- http://psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201903/rethinking-p-values-is-statistical-significance-useless
- http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/get-rid-of-statistical-significance
- http://sciencenews.org/article/statisticians-standard-measure-significance-p-values
- http://vox.com/latest-news/2019/3/22/18275913/statistical-significance-p-values-explained

*Posted by John Quintanilla on February 3, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/02/03/the-end-of-statistical-significance/

In my previous post, I wrote out a proof (that an even number is an odd number plus 1) that included the following counterintuitive steps:

A common reaction that I get from students, who are taking their first steps in learning how to write mathematical proofs, is that they don’t think they could produce steps like these on their own without a lot of coaching and prompting. They understand that the steps are correct, and they eventually understand why the steps were necessary for this particular proof (for example, the conversion from to was necessary to show that is odd).

Not all students initially struggle with this concept, but some do. I’ve found that the following illustration is psychologically reassuring to students struggling with this concept. I tell them that while they may not be comfortable with adding and subtracting the same number (net effect of adding by 0), they should be comfortable with multiplying and dividing by the same number because they do this every time that they add or subtract fractions with different denominators. For example:

In the same way, we’re permitted to change to to .

Hopefully, connecting this proof technique to this familiar operation from 5th or 6th grade mathematics — here in Texas, it appears in the 5th grade Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills under (3)(H) and (3)(K) — makes adding by a form of 0 in a proof somewhat less foreign to my students.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 31, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/31/adding-by-a-form-of-0-part-4/

As part of my discrete mathematics class, I introduce my freshmen/sophomore students to various proof techniques, including proofs about sets. Here is one of the examples that I use that involves adding and subtracting a number *twice* in the same proof.

**Theorem**. Let be the set of even integers, and define

Then .

**Proof (with annotations)**. Before starting the proof, I should say that I expect my students to use the formal definitions of even and odd:

- An integer is even if for some integer .
- An integer is odd if for some integer .

To prove that , we must show that and . The first of these tends to trickiest for students.

*Part 1. *Let . By definition of even, that means that there is an integer so that .

To show that , we must show that for some odd integer . To this end, notice that . Thus, we must show that is an odd integer, or that can be written in the form . To do this, we add and subtract 1 a second time:

.

By the closure axioms, is an integer. Therefore, is an odd number by definition of odd, and hence $n \in B$.

The above part of the proof can be a bit much to swallow for students first learning about proofs. For completeness, let me also include Part 2 (which, in my experience, most students can produce without difficulty).

*Part 2*. Let , so that for some odd integer . By definition of odd, there is an integer so that $m = 2k+1$. Therefore, . By the closure axioms, is an integer. Therefore, is even by definition of even, and so we conclude that .

For what it’s worth, this is the review problems for which I recorded myself talking through the solution for the benefit of my students.

In my opinion, the biggest conceptual barriers in this proof are these steps from Part 1:

.

These steps are undeniably awkward. Back in high school algebra, students would get points taken off for making the expression more complicated instead of simplifying the answer. But this is the kind of jump that I need to train my students to do so that they can master this technique and be successful in their future math classes.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 27, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/27/adding-by-a-form-of-0-part-3/

Often intuitive appeals for the proof of the Product Rule rely on pictures like the following:

The above picture comes from https://mrchasemath.com/2017/04/02/the-product-rule/, which notes the intuitive appeal of the argument but also its lack of rigor.

My preferred technique is to use the above rectangle picture but make it more rigorous. Assuming that the functions and are increasing, the difference is *exactly* equal to the sum of the green and blue areas in the figure below.

In other words,

,

or

.

This gives a geometrical way of explaining this otherwise counterintuitive step for students not used to adding by a form of 0. I make a point of noting that we took one term, , from the first product , while the second term, , came from the second product . From this, the usual proof of the Product Rule follows:

For what it’s worth, a Google Images search for proofs of the Product Rule yielded plenty of pictures like the one at the top of this post but did not yield any pictures remotely similar to the green and blue rectangles above. This suggests to me that the above approach of motivating this critical step of this derivation might not be commonly known.

Once students have been introduced to the idea of adding by a form of 0, my experience is that the proof of the Quotient Rule is much more palatable. I’m unaware of a geometric proof that I would be willing to try with students (a description of the best attempt I’ve seen can be found here), and so adding by a form of 0 becomes unavoidable. The proof begins

.

At this point, I ask my students what we should add and subtract this time to complete the derivation. Given the previous experience with the Product Rule, students are usually quick to chose one factor from the first term and another factor from the second term, usually picking . In fact, they usually find this step easier than the analogous step in the Product Rule because this expression is more palatable than the slightly more complicated . From here, the rest of the proof follows:

- The website https://mrchasemath.com/2017/04/02/the-product-rule/ also suggests an interesting pedagogical idea: before giving the formal proof of the Product Rule, use a particular function and the limit definition of a derivative so that students can intuitively guess the form of the rule. For example, if :

- See also this previous post for another way of deriving the Product Rule without adding or subtracting the same quantity.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 24, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/24/adding-by-a-form-of-0-part-2/

Adding by a form of 0, or adding and subtracting the same quantity, is a common technique in mathematical proofs. For example, this technique is used in the second step of the standard proof of the Product Rule in calculus:

Or the proof of the Quotient Rule:

This is a technique that we expect math majors to add to their repertoire of techniques as they progress through the curriculum. I forget the exact proof, but I remember that, when I was a student in honors calculus, we had some theorem that required an argument of the form

But while this is a technique that expect students to master, there’s no doubt that this looks utterly foreign to a student first encountering this technique. After all, in high school algebra, students would simplify something like into . If they were to convert into something more complicated like , they would most definitely get points taken off.

In this brief series, I’d like to give some thoughts on getting students comfortable with this technique.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 20, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/20/adding-by-a-form-of-0-part-1/

A new illustration for when I teach independence in probability. The math quote begins at about the 47-second mark of the video.

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 17, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/17/coin-flips-and-independence/

Last semester, as I spend untold hours editing the closed captioning automatically generated by YouTube on the math videos on my YouTube channel, I got a crash course on the capabilities and limitations of this system. This crash course was perhaps not legally necessary but extra work that I took on because a student with a hearing impairment was enrolled in my class, and I wanted to ensure that the review videos that I provide to my students were accessible to him also.

I think the resources offered by my university are fairly typical to ensure that instructors are able to reach all students and not just those who don’t have audio/visual impairments. After discussions with the cognizant people at my university, I’ve made a few conclusions:

- Mostly by accident, my videos are ADA compliant since I made the decision to both write out the solutions and also talking through the solutions.
- While the automatic closed-captioning provided by YouTube may be minimally compliant with ADA, I’m not sure that a student with a hearing impairment could always follow the transcriptions due to a number of errors.
- Aside from punctuation, capitalization, and the occasional homonym (e.g.,
*right*vs.*write*), YouTube does a pretty good job at transcribing ordinary speech. - Naturally, YouTube’s automated closed-captioning is not to blame when I don’t enunciate clearly, have a rabbit trail of thought but then have to backtrack, use poor grammar, make a outright mistake, etc.
- However, YouTube seems to have a lot of difficulty providing automatic closed-captioning of mathematical speech.

Fixing these transcription errors took an ** awful **lot of time. I don’t want to know how many hours I devoted to fixing the 120 or so videos (each video is about 3-10 minutes long) recorded so that my hearing-impaired student could have full access to my class. About halfway into this project of fixing the closed-captioning errors, I started writing down some of the closed-captioning errors. I wish I had thought to do this near the start, but oh well.

Phonetically, I can understand why most of these errors were made. But these mistakes really shouldn’t have happened. Here are my favorite howlers that I recorded, showing both what I said and what YouTube thought I said.

- “931,147,496” became “930 1,000,000 147,000 496”
- “,” pronounced “ intersect ,” became “A inner sexy”
- “arithmetic” became “rhythm sick”
- “capital ” became “Catholics”
- “cardinality” became “carnality”
- “divisible by 5” became “visited his wife live” (I have no idea how that happened)
- “” became “eat ooh the x”
- “for succinctness” became “force the sickness”
- “,” pronounced “ choose ,” became “and shoes and”
- “set containing” became “second taining”
- “” became “squirt tuna”
- “two ways in” became “too wasted”
- “what latex f$ of 3,” became “whateva 3”
- , pronounced “ is in ,” became “sexism be”
- , pronounced “ is in and ,” became “x is Indiana see”
- , pronounced “ is in ,” became “excellency”

Here’s the complete list of howlers that I recorded for posterity. If I’ve learned nothing else, it’s that I need to be more proactive about ensuring the mathematical accuracy of closed-captioning for my YouTube videos.

4 | for |

857 | a 50 7 |

1232 | 1230 two |

4761 | 4760 1 |

19,999 | 19,000 999 |

46,376 | 40 6376 |

123,552 | 120 3,552 |

5,565,120 | five million 565,000 120 |

931,147,496 | 930 1,000,000 147,000 496 |

2d sent | |

28 | |

one too | |

12 juice 4 | |

16 choosing | |

surplus one mix for | |

4 2 0 | |

four twos k | |

49 she’s 5 | |

52 six | |

a choose to | |

A inner sexy | |

a intersecting | |

a you be | |

a UNC | |

a you will see | |

a proof | approved |

a compliment | |

asa by | |

all multiples of | almost visit |

an element of | known the debate |

an element of | normal today |

and divisible | and as above |

and positive 50 | + + 50 |

and tens | intense |

and would let this be 3 | andrew lippa p3 |

arithmetic | earth to |

arithmetic | rhythm sick |

s | ace |

but not | be but not si |

b in a sexy | |

if | beef |

bijection | bi CH action |

bijection | bite jection |

bijection | by dejection |

bijection | by ejection |

bijection | by jection |

bijection | by Junction |

both sets | both says |

capital X | Catholics |

cardinality | carnality |

Cartesian | car to shull |

codomain | code Amin |

coordinate | cordon |

coordinate | court |

coordinates | corners |

coordinates have | cort in sap |

cosine | cosign |

disjoint | destroyed |

divisible by 5 | visited his wife live |

eat ooh the x | |

element of A | illness of A |

element of A | mellow today |

element | that Windex |

elements | of us |

empty | MQ |

descent | |

intercept | |

equal | able |

exponent | x1 |

factored | acted |

factorial | fact welders |

fill in | film |

flipping four coins | philippine for coins |

for succinctness | force the sickness |

hence in | Hanson |

eye | |

aye | |

If I divide by 15 | If I / 15 |

in | nae |

in there | a bear |

infinite | if an |

infinite | imp an |

infinite | infant |

into five | in 2 5 |

s | ice |

j choose arms | |

th | cave |

th | kate |

likewise | lakh wise |

and shoes and | |

th row | nth throw |

one-to-one | 121 |

onto | on 2 |

our shoes are | |

to | art at |

to | already |

are too | |

our too | |

‘s | hours |

same row | samro |

second coordinate | sec cornered |

set containing | second inning |

set containing | second taining |

set containing | seconds hanging |

set containing | secretary |

set containing 1 | second anyone |

since has | say has |

sixth one | six-month |

square | swear |

score 2 | |

squirt of tuna | |

team A | teammate |

term in it | terminate |

than zero | gloves are off |

that’s chosen | that’s Showzen |

then | the next |

therefore | there for |

this entry in | the century plus |

to the | decay |

two are | to are |

two ways in | too wasted |

union | you need |

up here | pier |

what | whateva 3 |

will be 4 | will before |

with | finials 4 |

would subtract | was attract |

writing | riding |

is | extras |

is in | exiting |

is in | x as a native |

is in | x is nay |

is in | sexism be |

is in and | x is Indiana see |

is in | excellency |

is in | X’s and see |

next to | |

text too | |

coordinate | export |

why | |

wine | |

is greater than or | wider |

s | wise |

*Posted by John Quintanilla on January 13, 2020*

https://meangreenmath.com/2020/01/13/youtubes-automatic-closed-captioning-of-mathematical-speech-part-2/