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Because of the dearth of Asian characters on TV when I was growing up, I always imagined that Winnie Cooper of The Wonder Years was one of us. She had those bangs, and that shy nerd quality, and she kinda looked Filipino, you know?
When Winnie grew up and became a math geek IRL, that sealed the deal for me. Now I hear Winnie, aka Danica McKellar, is pregnant with her first child. This is what she told People magazine about taking her home pregnancy test:
…she originally put off confirming her suspicions [about being pregnant]. “I was in the middle of a really intense deadline for my book,” explains McKellar, whose third tome, “Hot X: Algebra Exposed,” comes out in August.
“I wanted to put off the [pregnancy] test because I didn’t want any distractions. That only lasted a day — I couldn’t stop thinking about it and I caved! You can’t try to put that off.”
Putting off your pregnancy test because you want to focus on finishing your third book…about how math is fun and shit?
God, that is so fucking Asian, I love it.
Names: L. Mahadevan, Lin He and Maneesh Agrawala
Hail from: While Mahadevan holds court at Harvard in Cambridge, MA, He and Agrawala both operate out of Cal in Berkeley, CA.
Occupations: Mahadevan is an applied mathmetician, He a molecular biologist, and Agrawala a computer vision technologist.
Known for: Being all smart and stuff. Mahadevan, He and Agrawala were three of the twenty-four (that’s 1/8, or .125 for all you math lovers) recipients of the 2009 MacArthur “Genius Award”–a $500k Fellowship grant awarded to 20-40 Americans each year who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”
We’re with the MacArthur Foundation on this one–these remarkable folks’ repective fields of work show extreme promise. Mahadevan’s mathematical analyses of practical problems (like how cloth folds when draped) may overwhelm us a tad, but tickle our left-brain fancies almost as much as knot theory and fractals. We fully believe that He’s microRNA research will lead to great strides in cancer research (We all agree… cancer is wack), and are psyched that Agrawala understands how important it is to create visual interfaces in computers that enhance users’ ability to process tons of info (part of the reason we buy Apple ‘puters).
Bottom line: We love geniuses. But who the heck doesn’t?
Filed under: 2009 MacArthur Fellows, Computers, Genius Awards, Geniuses, L. Mahadevan, Lin He, MacArthur Foundation, MacArthur Grant Recipients, Maneesh Agrawala, Math Is Cool, Science is Sexy, Visionaries
When our buddy Dave sent us these Hokusai-print socks (pictured above) via Fashionably Geek, I got crazy excited.
Immediately, I was like, “I want In the Hollow of a wave off the coast of Kanagawa on my tootsies!” Why? FRACTALS! Perfect fractal geometry as presented in art, right on my feet! Who wouldn’t want that (mathletes, c’mon, you’re with me here)??
Then I took a closer look at the landscape. That’s not the coast of Kanagawa.
Then a closer look at the waves. Those aren’t fractals.
So hunh. They’re just doodley Hokusai-print socks.
I guess that’s still cool.
Just not as cool.
Or not cool at all. Totally fract up.
That’s just algebra, guys (at least we believe so). Can’t fight the facts.
Anyway, who isn’t down for a little FUN TIMES FRIGGIN’ INFINITY? What’s not appealing about a Skittles-colored, über-hip, designy flyer? Who wouldn’t be excited for a little West Coast love?
No one that we can think of. So we expect to see lots of bright, shiny, happy faces seeking out the good times at Cal’s 2nd Annual Queer and Asian Conference, which happens next week (MAY 2nd) in the beautiful Bay Area.
We’re giving you plenty of time to shift your schedules, so don’t miss it.
Click here for more info on QACON.
If you couldn’t tell by now, we love math. Much to the disappointment of our fathers, who are both men of science and can do all sorts of tricky calculasians in their heads with one hand tied behind their backs while chewing gum, walking, and humming “Ode to Joy” at the same time, we chose paths in life where we don’t use a whole lot of it day to day. We’ve tried over the years to convince our dads that our silly Americanized ways of doing things are not so different from their own; that, say, there was empirical logic in the study of lit theory (admittedly a hard sell)–and therefore, it was not a total waste of their tuition money–or that, even though we sucked at AP calculus, we could still balance our checkbooks and manage our money, because, hey, a zero in your bank account is as absolute as it is on the Kelvin temperature scale.
But we always return to math in one way or another, whether it’s calculating how many electoral votes we needed to clinch for an Obama victory or figuring out the number of notes we needed to hit to finally slay “Free Bird” on GH2 on Expert (which we did, by the way). Because math, like our Hardass Asian Fathers, is reliable. And it is honest–hence the phrase, “The numbers don’t lie.”
Of course, sometimes the interpretation of the numbers do. We got to thinking about that in the wake–and we mean that in the funereal sense–of the passage of Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban. Earlier in the week, we posted the CNN exit poll on how people voted, by race, on Prop 8. The number that jumps out at you is the 70% of African-American voters who supported the ban. There’s been a lot of grumbling on the internet about how the passage of Prop 8 is the fault of black voters, with an implicit (and sometimes not-so-implicit) How dare They, especially since we elected one of Them.
Feels good, doesn’t it? To fall back on good ol’ fashioned finger-pointing, especially in this slouching-towards-postracial-Bethlehem we find ourselves in, this era of hope and change. At least we can still scapegoat groups of people! African-Americans, in particular, because they got theirs, right?
But this, as my father would say, is unscientific. And when my dad, a physics professor who’s taught at a black college for the last 25 years, says something is “unscientific,” that’s a politic way of him saying: THIS IS TOTAL BULLSHIT. So, sure, you could look at this exit poll…
…and say, since the margin between for and against came down to 500,000 votes out of 10 million, If only we had gotten 100% of the African-American vote against 8, we would have had this in the bag. How dare They. But what if we had gotten 100% of the Asian and “Other” vote against Prop 8, which would have been an increase of 450,000 votes, and, like, 1% percent more of the white vote? What if we had gotten 75% of the Latino vote, instead of 47%? Or what if we had gotten 59% of the white vote against Prop 8 instead of 51%, the most achievable statistical increase? What if we didn’t put the outcome of gay marriage all on one group, and if we had gotten 6.5% more of the white vote (+409,500), 3% more of the Latino vote (+54,000), 2% more of the black vote (+20,000), and 2% more of the Asian and Other vote (+18,000)? Or any combination therein?
Answer: gay marriage would be legal today in California.
If we’ve learned one thing from this election, it’s that we all have to work together. It wasn’t black voters alone who got a black President elected. It was black, white, Latino, Asian, mixed, working together. And it’s not black voters alone who passed the gay marriage ban, either. We all did–a percentage of us here, a percentage of us there. That’s the truth that these exit poll numbers tell us: we failed. All of us. Together.
The shame that we feel today is only directed at our collective failure, which we need to figure out how to rectify. All of us. Together. Diana and I also feel quite a bit of shame over the fact that we couldn’t crunch all those numbers in our head and had to use a calculator (and made a few miscalculasians along the way), and now we have a raging headache from doing all of this math…but that’s just us. Sorry, Dads!
Are venereal diseases like integers?
I only ask cuz like, rumor has it that Tila Tequila and Brody Jenner recently sucked face. I just figure that if one celebutard shoves their tongue inside another celebutard, their respective
cooties germs STDs then cancel each other out (like, a negative times a negative equaling a positive), and everybody can just call it a night and go home.
Since they’ve already conducted the experiment, maybe I should ask them! I’m soooo curious!
Filed under: Burning Privates, Burning Questions, Burning Sores, Celebutards, Eww, Integers, Math Is Cool, Morbid Curiosity, This Is Enough Jenner News For A Lifetime Huh?, Tila Tequila, Venereal Diseases
Thanks in large part to our Hardass Parents, Asians looove a headstart. I was potty-trained and walking at 11 months and talking in complete sentences by age 2 (I also, apparently, had a serious boyfriend in preschool); I learned to add and subtract at 3 and picked up geometry and algebra around 8 or 9. I thought I was pretty hot shit in the child development-department until I met Diana, who learned to read at 2, started kindergarten at 3, graduated high school at 16, and had a real job by age 20. (Bitch!)
I was reminded of the value Asians place on precociousness when I read today that two female Chinese gymnasts may be too young to compete in the Olympics (the minimum age is 16). Chinese officials were quick to say that the gymnasts, He Kexin and Jiang Yuyuan, are both 16, despite online records that list their age as 14. Even more curious is the fact that China’s government-run newspaper, the China Daily, ran a story in May heralding the arrival of “14-year-old newcomer” He Kexin, a gold medal favorite in the uneven bars.
But it was only after reading He’s Wikipedia page, which says that the eensy-beensy gymnast:
- Has already won two World Cup titles on the uneven bars this year
- Is “one of the few gymnasts in the world to score over 17.00 under the current Code of Points”
- Has one of the highest difficulty scores in the world in the uneven bars
…that I started to wonder. Given that most gymnasts are considered “old” at 18 and younger girls tend to compete better and do the most outrageous tricks because they have no sense of failure or mortality (Nadia Comaneci was 14 when she scored the first perfect 10 at the ’76 Games), I gotta think that THOSE GIRLS ARE SO TOTALLY NOT 16. At some point, the ambivalence creeps in, you don’t think you’re such hot shit anymore, and, of course, you want to get laid. Maybe that explains why I was better at geometry at 8 than I was at 14?
The final table of the World Series of Poker Main Event was set yesterday in Vegas, and three of the remaining nine players gunning for the $9.12 million dollar purse are Asian. David “Chino” Rheem, 28, and Kelly Kim, 31, both of Los Angeles, CA, along with 39 year-old accountant Darus Suharto of Toronto, Canada, will compete on November 9-10 for the big prize.
Why are Asians so good at poker? Well, there are the obvious reasons: we’re good at math, we’ve been gambling since the beginning of time, and we’ve got “inscrutable” poker faces.
Oh, and we love love love to win.
Good luck, boys!
Reformed Actress Danica McKellar–and former wet dream of every boy in my junior high school class–has redeemed herself from a past filled with call sheets, auditions, and celebrity– by writing a book.
Sure, you could call her a washed-up child star with a hokey idea.
But at least someone finally agrees with us.
August must be the month when DISGRASIANS go on vacasian. Perhaps they can’t stand the heat. Earlier today, Diana and I discussed at length who our DOTW should be, and we were left scratching our heads.
My dad, who is a physics professor, always stressed the importance of math to one’s critical thinking. It was a bummer as a third-grader, when I was doing geometry workbooks and giving book reports on what I read in Scientific American over what seemed like an awfully short summer vacasian. But, in life, it’s come in pretty handy. So Diana and I decided to get out our No. 2 pencils and use deductive reasoning to find our DOTW.
Q: What is the most disgraceful thing happening on the planet?
A: Darfur. Iraq.
Q: Who is responsible for the most disgraceful thing happening on the planet?
A: The Sudanese government. President Bush.
Okay, let’s focus on what’s happening in our own backyard.
And that’s how we “problematized” our DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK. Like everyone else, we’re not buying the “I want to spend more time with my family” horseshit, and we’re sure we haven’t seen the last of Karl Rove’s White Man’s Puff. So let’s enjoy this little summer vacasian while it lasts.
Ever wonder what a typical day with young, Pre-DISGRASIAN Jen and Diana was like?
Ahhh…So precocious! Even as tots, we understood the joys of laughing like assholes at the shortcomings of others.