Saturday, January 31, 2009

Congratulations Waldo's People!

Finland's representative to the Eurovision Song Contest 2009 has been chosen. The six songs chosen on the first round were oddly separated between 3 songs for the taste of young people and the other 3 were definitely for old people. In this case, like so very often, I regard myself as one of the young :)

Last week I was definitely supporting Waldo's People with their song Lose Control. Waldo won, and here is the song. I think it is just one in a dozen and will not win.

During last week I changed my mind because this song started to fill my head. The group is Signmark and one of the performers is deaf. He is signing the words. I think this would have been something new and memorable in the big list of similar songs. I just love the melody. Here is Speakerbox.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Time and Mathematics

I have once blogged about a clock for math geeks but today I found a much cooler clock in Walyou, my favourite Tech website.

This really needs more advanced math than I am teaching.

Walyou has intoduced many math clocks earlier and I decided to check what else could be found in the net.

This is the first one I spotted in StumbleUpon almost 2 years ago:

What I found funny was the discussion in cnet news. The expression for 7 gives 6.999... and the argument about 0.999... being equal to 1 continues. Maybe I should blog about that next. has nice clocks featuring famous mathematicians. This one is my favourite, since it contains the most beautiful equation. The Euler Clock:

For a reminder, this is the one I introduced before. It also has some inaccuraties. 9 is only an estimate and 7 has two solutions.


I also love this Binary clock. I have one at home, a mother's day gift from my children. This one is from ThinkGeek

Kaboodle had this clock made of numbers

Karlsson Mixed Numbers...

This is a unit circle clock and would be really helpful learning trigonometry. Found in Law9

This cool but confusing clock I found in WebUrbanist, which has altogether 24 different Modern Clock designs introduced.

Libraby of Math has a huge collection of math related clocks.

Large Binary Wall Clock
a different kind of binary clock

Large Wall Clock
a trigonometry clock

Large Square Root Wall Clock
a square root clock

This is actually a watch from Watchismo, but I think this would be much better on the classroom wall.

Even though I love math, I think this Turing alarm clock is too much... My husband and daughter want to continue sleeping after the first alarm. I would go crazy when I had to listen to all the alarms several times! When I wake up, there is no chance to continue sleeping; I am awake.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Battleships Solution Video

It is funny how things show up (almost) at the most convinient moment. I have been searching for a good way to record video tutorials to my Finnish blog where I teach my students about computers. I found a good program, but hosting the video was a problem. Youtube, Photobucket and Blogger did not show the details very well. Also the uploading time was very long.

Today I was checking my Google Reader and found this post. After watching a couple of videos I registered to ScreenToaster and here is my first puzzle tutorial. The video is clear and the uploading was really fast.

I have to practise some more before I add the voice. This one had also problems at first; my Vista informed that the color scheme was changed to Vista Basic, and the information pop-up threw me out of the recording screen. How much time I have spent solving problems created by Vista...

The puzzle is one of the weekly puzzles from Conceptis

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Games - Good or Bad?


This week Oxford University reseachers revealed that Tetris can actually be a treatment to traumatic stress.

Players had fewer "flashbacks", perhaps because it helped disrupt the laying down of memories, said the scientists.

It is hoped the study could aid the development of new strategies for minimising the impact of trauma.

I can agree on the part that games which keep the mind occupied are good for any stress but I would not really give all the credit to Tetris. Tetris happens to be the game which started the evolution of puzzling games but at least for me it would not work any more. I played it almost 20 years ago so much that I could not bother to play it again.

To me japanese puzzles have the same effect. I managed to cope with my father's death and other stressful things playing puzzles and choosing the difficulty level according my ability to concentrate. Trying to solve too hard puzzles may have the opposite effect.

A survey conducted 2006 by Psychologist Dr. Carl Arinoldo even suggests that games can relieve pain. (link via cultcase)

88% of players indicated they experienced stress relief from playing casual games and 74% cited mental exercise as a benefit; when asked to choose the most important reasons for playing, 41% picked "stress relief/relaxation," more than twice the number (19%) who chose "entertainment"; 27% said the games provided distraction from chronic pain and/or fatigue, and fully 8% said they derived actual relief from chronic pain and/or fatigue.

Several scientists, like Dr. David Walsh have recently claimed that internet and gaming can be an addiction

Other things in their life get neglected, sometimes even their health gets neglected, their grades start to suffer, relationships start to suffer, and so it starts to bear all the behavioral hallmarks of an addiction. And so I think that’s why the term has emerged.

There are even places where people are treated because of this addiction like The Smith & Jones Centre in Amsterdam.

Using traditional abstinence-based treatment models the clinic has had very high success rates treating people who also show other addictive behaviours such as drug taking and excessive drinking.

But Mr Bakker believes that this kind of cross-addiction affects only 10% of gamers. For the other 90% who may spend four hours a day or more playing games such as World of Warcraft, he no longer thinks addiction counselling is the way to treat these people. "In most cases of compulsive gaming, it is not addiction and in that case, the solution lies elsewhere."

Seems a bit controversial to me. In logic this is called circular reasoning.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wild About Math!

During my 1.5-year journey in the blogosphere I have found amazingly many good resources. There are times when I find a place which leads to so many new resources that I spend days exploring them. One of these occasions was when I found Sol Lederman's blog Wild About Math!. Sol's blog is a serious math blog which mine is not; I have many times been more enthusiastic to write about puzzles or the Finnish lifestyle and of course Piitu.

Sol covers all aspects of math from the fear of it to the fun of it and takes care of all ages from kindergarten to university. Even his Blogroll is full of math bloggers.

Here are some posts I enjoyed the most:

8 really fun paper and pencil Math games
Interesting little Math problem
Five constants tie together multiple branches of mathematics
What patterns can you find in Pascal’s triangle?
Ti-Nspire inspires Math students

The last one is important to me at the moment. I have a trial version of the TI-Nspire program and I was planning to check it over the holidays. I guess I am running out of time...

Sol has also made great mathcasts (videos)

I still have lots to learn!