Profile cover photo
Profile photo
William Moates
William's interests
View all
William's posts

Post has shared content
Calling +Michael Grant ...
New blog post about the utility of teaching some simple one-variable optimization problems in first year calculus classes.  It's totally reasonable to set up, and prepares students (especially in the sciences) for problems that they'll see quite a lot of later in their studies.

Post has attachment
An impromptu essay I wrote on the days of the week, to answer the question: What is Saturday named after?  This was a response to a discussion in a thread, which is why it starts at an odd place.

Yes, the length of a week is pretty arbitrary.  While days are based on the time between solar noons (when your shadow is shortest), and months are based on the length of a moon cycle, and years are based on the how often your shadow points in a certain direction, the week is not based on the sun or the moon.  Instead, it is based on the planets.  the only planets visible by the naked eye are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Add in the Sun and the Moon, and you have seven "heavenly wanderers"--all other visible lights are fixed (stars) or very transient (meteors and comets).

So, we have seven days and seven wanderers.  Let's see how they match up:

Sunday -- the Sun
Monday -- the Moon
Saturday -- Saturn, obviously
Tuesday -- Mercury?
Wednesday -- Venus?
Thursday -- Mars?
Friday -- Jupiter?

Well, this is where another wrinkle is added: English gets some of the days' names from Norse gods, not Roman ones.  England was conquered by Romans and Vikings, so English is influenced by each of them.

Tuesday -- Tyr's Day  (I had to look this one up)
Wednesday -- Odin's Day
Thursday -- Thor's Day
Friday -- Freya's Day

Tyr is the god of war, so it gets associated with Mars.
Wednesday is actually associated with Mercury, even though you'd think it would connect to Jupiter, since Jupiter and Odin are both the kings of their respective mythological families.
Thursday gets associated with Jupiter, and Friday gets associated with Venus.  Why those match-ups?  Well, both Thor and Jupiter are the gods of thunder, so this pairing follows Tuesday's pairing.  The planet Venus is known as Freya's star in Norse mythology, so, the pairing is based on the planet, and not each god's abilities.  Saturday is named after Saturn, as Old English didn't change it to a Norse god.

In the end, we get this pairing:

Sunday -- the Sun
Monday -- the Moon
Tuesday -- Mars
Wednesday -- Mercury
Thursday -- Jupiter
Friday -- Venus
Saturday -- Saturn

Short answer: The days are named after planets, and one of those planets is Saturn.

Wikipedia gives a naming summary here:

Physicists, here's a thought experiment for you.
How do you twist a rainbow? Could a black hole twist a rainbow? If so, how? Could you create a medium that varies its index of refraction, and create one that varies it in a certain way to twist a rainbow? 

Post has shared content
Hardware wars - You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll kiss $3 goodbye -
Hardware Wars

What's new!  What's new!  What's new!

There, I shared.  G'night, G+.

Post has shared content
Nintendo Calculus.
Gotta differentiate them all!

I'm wondering how ADD and ADHD people test on the MBTI.  Do you think an Introvert can have  ADD or ADHD?  Since someone with ADHD displays hyperactivity, they would likely not test and Introvert.  What do you folks think?

Post has shared content
Yeah, G+ seems to have more pictures and less text these days.
Google+ doesn't expect to engage us with a tiny portion of an image. Why do they think we will engage with a tiny portion of text?

Would you click on the image for more based on that top portion?

Stop the #WarOnWords !

Post has shared content
Two thumbs up.
My Geekyness will be Intersectional or it will be bullshit

I am a geek.  It is one of the subcultures that I elect to be a member of.  As +Sam Keeper  identifies geeks have a problem with diversity.  Within the geek community there are misogynists, antifeminists, racists and people filled with toxic misanthropy.  My ego defence part jumps up and down and says “But other subcultures have them as well” to which my inner vulcan replies “That is an ‘et tu’ fallacy”.

The vulcan is right.  Just because other parts of the culture have these problems doesn't mean that I should accept it in mine.  Geeks are prepared to accept that an android should be recognized as a fellow sentient and that they should have the same rights as humans.  Is it too much a stretch to think that women should have those same rights?

I enjoy my geeky things and I want others to enjoy them.  I don't wish to build a fortress around my passions, I wish to share them, I wish to help others find the same joy that I feel when I engage in the things that I love.  I want them to see the beauty, the exhilaration, the intellectual stimulation that I feel.  This is something I wish to share with everyone, to exclude someone based on gender, race or other such thing runs against my desire to share this joy.

If I expect others to accept my passions then I have to accept the passion of others.  I know that not everything will click with me.  It would be petty and self centred of me to demand that every creative person in the universe pander to my interests.  When our favourite artists produce something for a different demographic than ourselves we should be happy that more people get to enjoy their work, when a con attracts fans from a new show or sub genre we should be overjoyed, especially if it brings in people who wouldn't be a part of our community otherwise.

As geeks many of us have experienced oppression and ostracism; we know what micro aggression feels like.  However due to our good fortune that we live in an era where our skills have value our sub culture isn't as marginalized as it once was.  The question is what do we do with our new status?  We should use our power, our influence to help those who have been and who are victims of the injustice we feel.  Not to perpetuate it just because we are not the victim this time.

Riddle me this, +J. Pierce. If we are moving away from the desktop to mobile computing, how will we develop content? Mobile devices are great for consuming content, but when it comes to creating content, they mostly stink. What will we do when the last keyboard gets thrown in the trash bin?

(If you're wondering why I took so long to ask this, the answer is simple: it was percolating in my hindbrain.)
Wait while more posts are being loaded