# planetwater

ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

## Important Geologic Experiences

Outside the Interzone publishes a series of blogposts where people are asked to contribute which are called “Accretionary Wedge” (a mass of sedimentary material scraped off a region of oceanic crust during subduction and piled up at the edge of the overriding plate). The 27th issue is on “Important Geological Experiences“. Most of them are hard-core geology-related.

There are two less core-geology posts:

## Math (and other) Education

Jon McLoone at the Wolfram Blog wrote on math education. Using the example of calculating the range of a gun, he makes the point that our math education is missing reality. Typical problems in math education are over-simplified, and when computers are used together with those simple examples, there is nothing left to think about.

I am not sure if I agree. On the one hand I do, because I hated the style we were taught analysis in high school, which is cookbook style. We weren’t even told, what the first derivative of a function means, we simply had to calculate its coordinates. On the other hand, I think it’s simply important that you can calculate derivatives.

The example he comes up in a very structured step-by-step approach is indeed very much more realistic, and I can see how it can improve understanding of the subject. And I would argue if somebody who is learning analysis can code the problem like Jon in his example, even the “dumb model” he has gained quite decent understanding.

Which leaves the question of what computers, what programming language should be taught? Does it matter at all? Just any? At which point in the education? In my teaching experience I am faced with 3rd year engineers who have never used Excel.

## Extremes Seem to Have Become the Norm

Andrew Revkin writes about “Weird Weather in a Warming World“. There have been many “extreme” floods this summer, in the US, in Pakistan, and currently in Germany (amongst many others, I’m sure). These observations can quickly lead to the conclusion that the return period for a given intensity shrinks and shrinks, possibly due to climate change. However, Andrew points out, there is no evidence for this conclusion (yet).

However, he points out (in a blog post at dotearth) that “the odds of extreme and prolonged heat or heavy rains will rise with an unabated buildup of warming emissions.

Written by Claus

October 1st, 2010 at 12:55 pm

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