Get the Powers to Act from Fresh Ideas

June 2, 2013

Math Education for Real

How do you want your kids to learn Math? I don't have a formal education in Math. And if you don't too, these books can help you. At least, you will be able to teach your kids to relax. Just a few minutes for each difficult book!

Work hard, intensely, compulsively, obsessively and of course, productively and insanely?

Work in balance, work having a life and productively too?

You have a choice, your kids too have a choice.

Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century

A Strange Wilderness: The Lives of the Great Mathematicians

Henri Poincaré: A Scientific Biography

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

How to Solve It: A New Aspect of Mathematical Method (Princeton Science Library)

George Ploya book pdf


  1. AnonymousJune 10, 2013


    Here is something you've may have heard but never quite believed before: Google's vaunted scalable software infrastructure is obsolete. Don't get me wrong, their hardware and datacenters are the best in the world, and as far as I know, nobody is close to matching it. But the software stack on top of it is 10 years old, aging and designed for building search engines and crawlers. And it is well and truly obsolete.

    Protocol Buffers, BigTable and MapReduce are ancient, creaking dinosaurs compared to MessagePack, JSON, and Hadoop. And new projects like GWT, Closure and MegaStore are sluggish, overengineered Leviathans compared to fast, elegant tools like jQuery and mongoDB. Designed by engineers in a vacuum, rather than by developers who have need of tools.

    In the short time I've been outside Google I've created entire apps in Java in the space of a single workday. (Yes, you can program as quickly in Java as in Ruby or Python, if you understand your tools well.) I've gotten prototypes off the ground, shown it to people, or deployed them with hardly any barriers.

  2. AnonymousJune 10, 2013

    * It is very restricted and you have to do things they way Google intends you to. There is no SQL database, and you cannot use any C libraries in Python. The datastore is rather slow if you write a lot to the same locations. Many of these things are naturally required for scalability and sandboxing, but App Engine forces you to deal wit them right away (for good and bad).
    * Visitors will often see a delay of about one second when App Engine spins up an instance of your app. Some people who import heavy frameworks see delays up to 10-15 seconds. You cannot control instances manually.
    * It will be difficult to move to a different hosting provider if you ever want to, though there is an open source App Engine clone.


    However, if you try to build anything substantial on top of App Engine, you're bound to run into a few operational pitfalls as well.

    Though the APIs are simple to use and powerful, they aren't flexible and in some cases outright restricting. For example, the datastore has a restriction of 1MB rows [2]. It seems like the Blobstore API would be a suitable replacement. But, App Engine doesn't allow the application to read (as a whole), modify, or update the bits to a blob once uploaded by a user [3].
    App Engine doesn't provide you the flexibility to use a different equivalent of a service. For example, if the datastore was too slow or restricting for your use, there's unfortunately no way to patch in a different service.
    The service is surprisingly flaky. There have been quite a few outages, and it's the norm for the datastore to be put into read-only mode once in 2-3 months. In our use, it hasn't been abnormal to see the datastore taking 250ms for reads and writes. Several times a day, the datastore times out on writes. [4]
    Once you face the question of migrating out of the AppEngine world, you'll face the problem of having to change your code to use your own datastore, task queues, and other services. If your application is fairly large, this will be a cumbersome process

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