Thursday, May 8, 2008

Endangering the lives of children... put me in the Star Tribune!

My wife and I have a nickname for the Star Tribune: "Dumb S*** Parents Do To Their Kids". Check it: every other day, someone is leaving their six-month-old kid in a parked car or a bathtub to go to a strip club or play video poker or shop online for shoes.

The dumb s*** I do, at least I do it to other people's kids. In 2002 I taught in a summer program at my former university. My course was called Geometry and the Imagination, and I thought it would help my ninth-grade students imagine some geometry if we built an icosahedron. That's a 3D shape with 20 triangular sides. Now, if I'm going to build the thing, I'm going to do it up right, with 2x2 lumber and bolts and nuts. OK, here come the pictures. It gives me shivers to look at these again.

Do you see any work gloves or goggles in this photo?

Somewhere there's a photograph of two 14-year-old girls grinning and holding 3/8" drills above their heads like it's the Wild Wild West, but luckily I couldn't find a copy of that photograph on the Wayback Machine.

Anyone who wasn't an oblivious mathematician like me looked at the structure and said, "You let ninth-graders use power tools?"

There's a mathematical mystery for you -- why did these parents let me near their children?

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