& Thales' Press: Fooling Ourselves

Monday, February 18, 2013

Fooling Ourselves

For some peculiar reason, this NPR article brought back memories of when I was a math and physics teacher.  One of the several perennial questions my students used to ask me was, "When will we ever use this, Mr. B.?" Of course, there was always, "Will this be on the test?"

One of my standard responses to the first question (the second usually received a scowl) was that mathematics (insofar as it is actually useful) provides a great tool for determining if you're being cheated. Learning to use it effectively increases our ability to avoid becoming someone else's stooge.

But the NPR article serves to remind us that often the greatest threat to being cheated comes from within. We all need to learn the "algebra" that helps us overcome our own internal scam.

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