Student Reading: Chimp War and what it says about us

Good morning, students! It’s a beautiful Tuesday and I have an interesting article for you in store.

The main premise is that some years ago, there was a chimpanzee war. In fact, it is the only chimpanzee war known to us. And the circumstances in which the war arose actually shed some light onto how and why our own human societies splinter. So this can apply to something like the USSR breaking up into 15 separate states, or to what’s happening in American politics right now, or even to why your group of girlfriends broke up in the 7th grade.


Only Known Chimp War Reveals How Societies Splinter, by Colin Barras in New Scientist


Student Reading: For the Love of Numbers

For Student Reading Friday, a radio short (20′) instead of an article. I love this one! Instead of reading the first paragraph, please listen to the first minute. Should be good for your weekend drives and/or your Friday workdays.

For the Love of Numbers, Radiolab for NPR

And while we’re on the topic, what’s your favorite number?

Mine’s 9. I’ve got a whole slew of reasons, but I realized last night they were merely justifications after I had chosen the number. The real reason why #9 is my favorite number is because I always chose my age for the soccer jersey I was to have, and I was 9 years old when I joined travel soccer, so it became my permanent number and therefore my favorite. But also, it’s pretty and just short of #10 (the best/flashiest player on the field), and divisible by 3, and therefore has really cool divisible properties, and the largest number whose square is two digits, and it sounds great, and did I mention it looks pretty? It’s very pretty.


Student Reading: The Rumors Were True! Atari literally buried its past

I had not heard of this, but apparently the rumors were well known and widely circulated. And recently, the truth was uncovered: Atari buried its shameful E.T. past. Literally.


Excavation at Mass E.T. Burial Ground Uncovers Atari’s Shameful Past, by Brandon Russell in Techno Buffalo

The True Story of the Worst Video Game in History, by Timothy J. Seppala in Engadget

E.T. Unearthed: The Dig for Legendary Atari Cartridges in Pictures, by Christopher Trout in Engadget



Student Reading: How to Divide Rent (or anything)

What a fascinating idea! This article holds the fairest way to divide rent, a dilemma that is fast upon you, students. But imagine all the areas outside of rent that it could apply to! Anything that has a finite amount of benefits contained within will be applicable: theater seats, ski-do rentals, car rides… anything where one person gets less than another and the price is presented whole. This actually would be a great way for splitting a meal: if one person eats notoriously more than the other, you both could execute the strategy until you are both happy with how much you each are paying. Neat!

Oh, and did I mention that the man (Francis Su) who came up with this happens to be one of my old college professors? So I’m especially excited about this particular article!


To Divide the Rent, Start With a Triangle, by Albert Sun in The New York Times


Student Reading: 911 Texting

I suppose this was inevitable, although its inevitability doesn’t make me any less intrigued by it. 911 texting is being rolled out in several places across the country. I can text a cabdriver (777222) to pick me up anywhere in San Diego, so why not have the ability place an emergency alert? Seems more important.

Read on for more information:

‘My house is on fire m8 lol” .. 911 texting tested in the US, by Shaun Nichols in The Register


Everything you want to know about the Math Level 2 Subject Test.

Lately I’ve been fielding all sorts of questions about the Math Level 2 Subject Test, as many of my students are wrapping up their Junior Year and want to know if this is another test they should be worrying about.

Let’s start with this: Most students shouldn’t take the Math Level 2 Subject Test. In fact, the only two reasons that determine if you should take it are:

1. It is required by a school you are interested in.

2. Your GPA is not as stellar as you want it to be (which is to say it is generally lower than the middle 50% of students as indicated on the website BigFuture).

If you do not satisfy either one of these, you should not take it.

The reason #2 is there? To prove academic ability. The more indicators you have of potential academic success, the better, especially in the case where your GPA is not one such indicator at a particular school.


So then, what’s the best way to study for it? 

Personally, I always recommend the Kaplan book. You can purchase it at a B&N or other book store too, but be careful to purchase Level 2. Level 1 is basically useless for our purposes, so please don’t waste your money.

Within the Kaplan book, they have a chart that features which question types appear most frequently on the test. The most frequent question type is Functions, then Algebra, and the list goes on.

Working in order from highest frequency to lowest frequency, take the diagnostic tests, timed. See how you do. Correct and reattempt the questions you’ve missed. Make sure you know how to do them before you go back and do the Follow-Up questions.

I would also recommend highlighting any formulas you know you will need so you can commit them to memory later.

And of course, you can take the practice tests in the Kaplan book, following up with the Official practice test available in the CollegeBoard book. Purchase this one if you are going to take any other subject tests, or this one if you’re only focusing on the Math subject test, as there is one additional math test in this one.


How long should this all take me? 

About 2 weeks. Plan it out so you’re regularly working through the materials. If you complete (and correct/reattempt) all the Kaplan Diagnostics, Followups, Practice Tests, and the Official Tests, you should be pretty happy with your score.

What’s a “good” score?

Any score above a 700 should help you out a bit, although of course, the higher you can get it, the better.

Any other questions?

Please let me know and I will answer them!