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## The Manga Guide to Statistics164

Posted by samzenpus
stoolpigeon writes "Many manga titles that are popular in Japan are being translated into English and published in the United States. This trend continues with a book that puts a slightly different spin on manga. The Manga Guide to Statistics, part of a series already popular in Japan, seeks to entertain while it informs. There are many elements here that can be found in any manga; a young love-struck girl, giant eyes, small noses and exaggerated emotional responses. What many may not have seen in manga before are things like calculating the mean, median and deviation of bowling scores. And that is just the start." Read below for the rest of JR's review.
 The Manga Guide to Statistics author Shin Takahashi pages 222 publisher No Starch Press rating 7/10 reviewer JR Peck ISBN 978-1-59327-189-3 summary Statistics with heart-pounding excitement!
The story line is relatively simple. The protagonist, Rui is a teenage girl. One night her father brings home a co-worker Mr. Igarashi. Rui is quite smitten with Mr. Igarashi and tells her father that she is interesting in learning about statistics so that she can be tutored by Mr. Igarashi. The day of her first lesson, her tutor shows up and it is not who she expects. Rather than her heart-throb it is another of her father's co-workers Mamoru Yamamoto. Rui is crushed but plunges ahead, heart still set on hooking up with Mr. Igarashi.

If the idea of a fifteen year old bouncing about in skimpy outfits while pursuing a relationship with one of her father's co-workers sounds strange to you, welcome to the world of manga. If you've already read a lot of it this should sound pretty normal. It provides context as the book covers various topics in statistics and also injects quite a bit of humor into the story. That said, in the end of it all math is math. The story does provide a framework around what is presented but underneath it all this is a book that is trying to teach statistics and so my first question was "How does it do in that regard?"

The book follows a standard format through each chapter. A comic section presents some new facet of the story and then that is tied into the statistics concept that will be covered. Here the math and story are blended together. As the book moves further along these sections become increasingly more text heavy and contain less graphics. That section is followed with exercises. Here I have a small issue. The exercises are sometimes numbered, sometimes not and there seems to be absolutely no pattern or system that regulates this numbering. The answers immediately follow the exercises so it doesn't really cause any problems. I can only guess the numbers are related to an issue from the translation process. I couldn't figure it out.

The instruction and exercises are not watered down to somehow fit into the whole making math interesting theme. This was my first concern. That in an attempt to make it fun the math would not be correct or somehow watered down. This isn't the case. In fact, for a person to really get some good use out of this book I would say that they need to have a very strong command of algebra and at the very least some familiarity with calculus.

There is an entire section in the back of the book about how to do statistics using Microsoft Excel. When some formulaes are presented the book says that knowing it is not necessary but the reader is still going to see things referenced like integration and derivatives. But when, for example, Mr. Yamamoto is teaching Rui about chi-square distribution and explains to her how to read a probability density function she starts to freak out and he consoles her saying, "Don't worry. You'll never have to learn this formula itself unless you become a mathematician."

But all of the math and tables to do the work for the exercises are presented. A graphing calculator would probably make things easier but I don't think it would be necessary. I think the only other shortcoming is that the exercises are not very numerous. There are usually two or three per chapter. Sometimes they are packaged as one exercise with multiple parts. Having the answers immediately follow the exercise may also make it difficult for the reader to avoid looking at it until they have done the work themselves. The reader should still gain a solid idea of what statistics is all about and the math behind it. I wouldn't say they will have a deep understanding of the subject but they will also have moved well beyond a cursory introduction.

The story is silly and sets up some humorous examples of how to use statistics. Ramen noodle prices get graphed, Rui looks at grading on a curve and explores why her and a class mate get different grades for identical scores. Cramer's coefficient is used to examine how boys and girls prefer to be asked out. I thought that this was helpful not only because it helps to keep the readers interest but because it also moves the problems from the abstract to more concrete applications.

The weak point for me is the lack of examples and exercises. The graphic style of story telling is entertaining but limits the space for more text. This is not a statistics text book and I know that it is not trying to be one but it still limits the usefulness. Rather than giving a thorough education into statistics, it is more of an overview or quick primer. Anyone who picks this up thinking that they will gain a solid mastery of statistics is mistaken.

The jacket states that it will help the reader 'get over the "I'm no good at math" feeling.' I think that the reader had better already have some decent math skills if they want to get the most from the book, but it could be useful in helping the reluctant realize that statistics is not unapproachable. As I said, really all that is required is a good solid grasp of algebra.

I think that the real strength of the book may be in helping younger people to find the entry into this kind of work to be more entertaining. Kids would be, I think, much more likely to actually pick this up and find out if they are interested in statistics as opposed to a regular text book. If they do enjoy it, it could encourage them to go further and really master the subject. A sort of gateway text if you will. It also helps to answer the age old student's question, "Why does this matter?" by giving examples of real world use. I think the book could also be a lot of fun for someone who doesn't need to learn statistics but approaches it as a fun mental exercise, like Sudoku or another math game but with a story line and more complicated problems to solve.

Balancing out the limited amount of work, and the possibility for finding budding statisticians and mathematicians or entertaining those who already enjoy math I think that this book fills a rather unique nichee. I think within that niche it is pretty good, but outside of that may be found lacking and that is why I would rate it as adequate rather than outstanding.

You can purchase The Manga Guide to Statistics from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews -- to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.

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## The Manga Guide to Statistics

• #### Something tells me... (Score:5, Funny)

<j@jjcm.org> on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:05PM (#26122745) Homepage Journal
The book is going to go something like this -

Chapter 2 Review Question: 1. What was the average number of tentacles used to penetrate Rui?

• #### Re:Something tells me... (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:14PM (#26122849) Homepage Journal
Can't...resist urge...to..make...stupid...pun...

That brings a whole new meaning to the term "standard deviation"

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week, try the calamari!
• #### Re:Something tells me... (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:12PM (#26123697) Homepage

What was the average number of tentacles used to penetrate Rui?

That brings a whole new meaning to the term "standard deviation" Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week, try the calamari!

Judging by poor Rui's experience, it'd probably be more accurate to say that in Sovie.. er, Anime Japan, the calamari tries *you*!

Sorry...

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Thank you, thank you, I'll be here all week, try the calamari!

Isn't that exactly what Rui's been doing? *rimshot*

• #### Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

Good Christ, thread over in one post.

• #### Re: (Score:3, Funny)

Wow. I think I let a little pee out when I laughed at that.
• #### Re: (Score:1)

That's mean.

• #### Re:Something tells me... (Score:5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:33PM (#26123125)

If you think this is bad, wait until you see the kind of inappropriate relationships that transact in The Manga Guide to Databases [amazon.com]. I hear that there are even some graphic replication scenes that slipped past the censors.

• #### Re:Something tells me... (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:23PM (#26123825)

The description made me laugh out loud.

Princess Ruruna is stressed out. With the king and queen away, she has to manage the Kingdom of Kod's humongous fruit-selling empire. Overseas departments, scads of inventory, conflicting prices, and so many customers! It's all such a confusing mess. But a mysterious book and a helpful fairy promise to solve her organizational problemsâ"with the practical magic of databases.

In The Manga Guide to Databases, Tico the fairy teaches the Princess how to simplify her data management. We follow along as they design a relational database, understand the entity-relationship model, perform basic database operations, and delve into more advanced topics. Once the Princess is familiar with transactions and basic SQL statements, she can keep her data timely and accurate for the entire kingdom. Finally, Tico explains ways to make the database more efficient and secure, and they discuss methods for concurrency and replication.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

*jaw drops*
I'm waiting for The Manga Guide to Embedded Assembly Programming though.

• #### Re: (Score:1, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward

Next month from the same author: Pedobear's Guide to Physics, where you calculate the minimum penis velocity required to penetrate a 6 year old's ribcage via their rectum.

• #### New Twist (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:08PM (#26122797)
Lies, damn Lies and Manga?
• #### Manga can be anything (Score:5, Informative)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:16PM (#26122883) Homepage
Unlike the U.S., which pretty much relegated comics to a few juvenile genres (e.g. superheroes, kiddie comedy) back in the 1950s, Japanese manga is produced about just about any subject you can think of, for just about any demographic audience. There are manga for housewives, for businessmen, for little girls, for teenage boys, etc. There are manga about history, economics, cooking... so manga about stastistics isn't really that surprising.
• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:4, Informative)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:30PM (#26123087) Homepage Journal
Do you even read American comics? Not dissing Manga, but there are TONS of really great comics that are made in the US and Europe(as wells as elsewhere) that are far from "juvenile". You fanboys do need to get your head out of manga once in a while.....
• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:4, Insightful)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:36PM (#26123189)

I just finished reading Watchmen last night (And I must say, it was amazing and I wanna see the damn movie now!)

I've been slowly working my way through V for Vendetta, too.

I honestly don't care what country something is from. As far as graphic novels/comics/manga go, I like the story and the art style. It's nothing that is uniquely Japanese that draws me to read certain manga, it's the plot, the character development...

• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:5, Funny)

by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:45PM (#26123281)

you keep telling yourself it's the plot, pedo.

• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:57PM (#26123461)

Hell, I keep telling myself it's the plot and I don't even read Japanese.

• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:4, Interesting)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:52PM (#26123369)

Do you even read American comics? Not dissing Manga, but there are TONS of really great comics that are made in the US and Europe(as wells as elsewhere) that are far from "juvenile". You fanboys do need to get your head out of manga once in a while.....

And when comic shops start promoting those comics up front instead of catering to the spandex and superpowers crowd, American comics might actually *earn* a reputation as something other than juvenile.

Let's face it, "mainstream" comics do not cater to a mainstream crowd. Not that manga deserves its Western reputation as an everyman format (there is a presumption that you will read less as you go from middle school to high school graduate), but most American comics *are* juvenile.

The outliers in both formats, like "The Sandman" or the book reviewed here aren't really indicative of either.

• #### Re: (Score:1)

Sorry, but tentacle porn and pedophilia is not mainstream in the US. Neither is overblown, formulaic animation.
• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @05:09PM (#26124595) Homepage

Sorry, but tentacle porn and pedophilia is not mainstream in the US.

Look, I said I'm still working on it. I can't do this shit all by myself.

• #### Re:Manga can be anything (Score:5, Insightful)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @05:28PM (#26124913)

Sorry, but tentacle porn and pedophilia is not mainstream in the US.

It isn't in Japan either, despite the wide-spread myths. Otaku and other porn fetishists are not mainstream and are generally looked at with contempt by the general public.

Neither is overblown, formulaic animation.

You haven't really watched cartoons since you were too young to remember, have you? Find me an American made cartoon being put out today that isn't just as overblown and formulaic in its animation, and I'll give you three that are.

Besides, anime in Japan has two separate audiences that encourages formula for different reasons:
1) Kids shows (mainstream).
2) Adult shows (otaku oriented). Most the "edgy" stuff you see is made for a very limited, very geeky audience that is not the mainstream of Japanese culture.

Formula is common in kids shows because it's cheap, easy, and kids aren't old enough to be tired of it yet. (Same reason it's widespread in American animation.) Formula is common in adult geek shows because geeks eat up repetition and familiar territory (and haven't grown up out of childish ways). Sorry to offend, but that's the truth. (Endless Monty Python jokes and trolling memes, anyone?)

A lot of Japano-philes don't understand that there is a segregation between the shows shown on afternoon prime-time on public broadcast and the shows that only come out direct to video or are shown on premium cable channels, often late at night. And a lot of the sneering types are just as ignorant, as you yourself demonstrate. It's not all porn, and it's not all mainstream. Those are completely separate markets.

Japan isn't THAT alien compared to America, and they aren't all anime freaks who love weird sexual fetishes like people think. (And we're not all arrogant gun-toting cowboy maniacs with blond hair and blue eyes, like they seem to think we are.) People just play this crap up. Japan has no shortage of people hitting the bully pulpit about degrading public morals nor of people who think total nerds are repellent.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

"...arrogant gun-toting cowboy maniacs with blond hair and blue eyes...."

Because so many of our cowboy ancestors came from Germany ... baka! :-)

Anyway, there are certainly a lot of Takahashis in manga and anime production. Both the manga written for Inuyasha and the English translator for Rurouni Kenshin were done by Takahashis, if memory serves me correctly.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Well no, it's just that Rumiko Takahashi has done a lot of popular anime. I suppose Takahashi is a popular name, but I don't really know.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Takahashi is the third most common family name in Japan per number of households per here [biglobe.ne.jp]. And Rumiko Takahashi wasn't associated with Rurouni Kenshin from what I recall.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Sorry, but tentacle porn and pedophilia is not mainstream in the US.

It isn't in Japan either, despite the wide-spread myths. Otaku and other porn fetishists are not mainstream and are generally looked at with contempt by the general public.

Right, and next you're going to tell us there isn't a Furry convention in Vegas every other day either...
We know your kind, Valdrax (or should I say.. KinkyFurry33 ?)

[ / lame joke ]

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I dunno about Sandman, but every comic shop I've been in (which, admittedly, is only a few) has had tons of Vertigo, and if it was in the back that was only because the imprint starts with a "V".

But you're right, there's probably a lot more people reading the traditional superhero stories than Preacher, Transmetropolitan, etc.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Yes, I read all kinds of comics (some superhero, a little manga, mostly graphic novels). But the vast majority of American comics (by unit volume) are about people in spandex punching each other... not really suitable for kids, but plenty juvenile. Since manga emerged as a publishing phenomenon in post-WWII Japan, it has never suffered from that problem (mostly because it never had to deal with the cultural McCarthyism the U.S. went through in the 1950s, during which "comics are for kids" was very nearly
• #### Re: (Score:1)

No, instead they allow all kinds of perversion as long as the genitalia are blurred out.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

But isn't it odd that the bad guy in most Japanese mangas is the US or a country where the US is supposed to be? I always that that was strange. Japan and the US are great friends. Yet, the US is the bad guy in almost all of the mangas.

• #### Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

Big, powerful country that could crush Japan in a minute or two? Definitely a better enemy than, say, some ass backwards country with three mules and a biplane. I guess they try not to use China or Korea so much because that quickly devolves into blatant racism (Asian countries seem to be very racist towards each other) rather than just stupid stereotypes (and hell, noone minds Hollywood's depiction of the French either).

Then again Tom Clancy still casts communists as the evil guys...

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I don't see how two ethnicities that look very similar to one another could be racist towards one another. Based on nationality, yes, but racism?

JAPANESE GENERAL: Damn those Chinamen and their slanty, deceptive eyes!
JAPANESE LIEUTENANT: Uh, sir?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Your personal raceometer might only have four or five settings and "they all look alike" to you, but others' definitions of "race" can easily be more specific.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

You've obviously been out of the U.S. comic scene for a long time. Non-superhero comics and adult fair came in back in the 90's. Now you'll see just as much variety here as anywhere else.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

If you count the very deep, layered, challenging and dramatic storylines dealing with superheros in tights, then yes, American comics are far from juvenile.

• #### Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Anime is a bit more limited, since production costs are significantly higher.

• #### Larry Gonick ... (Score:5, Informative)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:16PM (#26122885)

Larry Gonick has been doing this in english for a long time. His books are good. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they have been translated into japanese.

Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide to Statistics [larrygonick.com].

• #### Re: (Score:2, Informative)

Larry Gonick has been doing this in english for a long time. His books are good.

Just wanted to second this. I have his History of the Universe (the first two collections), History of the United States, and Cartoon Guide to Sex. All excellent. www.larrygonick.com [larrygonick.com] for more info.

• #### Re: (Score:1)

I had a professor assign his Cartoon Guide to Genetics as a required textbook for a biology class for CS majors.

Also, the Cartoon History of the Universe actually taught my wife some history, and she punches me if I leave the TV on the History Channel for more than 2 seconds.

• #### Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Larry Gonick has been doing this in english for a long time. His books are good.

Hear hear!

I was able to understand parts of Larry Gonick's Cartoon Guide to Physics while in elementary school, and it gave me quite the head start to ace AP Physics in high school. I went on to use the same book to help study for my intro Engineering-Physics exams in Undergrad, and still pick it up from time to time for a good laugh.

While his guides are not driven by overarching plot lines or motivated by romantic subplots, they're still an engaging and amusing read for anyone with an interest in the

• #### Re: (Score:3, Informative)

This was actually a recommended book for my Econ Stats class. There was a required textbook, but the prof said that this book was very helpful as well. I had a copy; it's probably my garage somewhere. It was a very well done book, IMO.

• #### Paper shortage (Score:2)

The graphic style of story telling is entertaining but limits the space for more text.

Well that's silly. If the author wanted more text on subjects they would have written it. Replacing a page of text for a page of graphics makes about as much sense as, well, replacing a page of graphics for a page of text: no replacements are needed.

• #### Not too uncommon for Asian math texts (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:31PM (#26123115)

Here, check out this gem. Possibly NSFW. [joeydevilla.com]

Translation here. [joeydevilla.com]

• #### Re: (Score:1)

Stupid filter at work blocks Larry Gonick's cartoon guide to statistics as 'not work related', but didn't have a problem with the Korean math example (which is just brilliant; to bad more folks in the US don't have that kind of sense of humor).

• #### Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Oh, I agree totally. I thought it was greatly funny. I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. A trig problem on how to stare up a woman's skirt at her panties. I mean really - how manga can you get? =)

It's a shame that we have this cultural hangover about stuff like this. My pet theory is that it is because we were originally founded by Puritans and for some reason we've never gotten over it. People absolutely lose their minds over trivial stuff like this. It's bizarre.

Not me though. My kid wil

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I thought it was greatly funny. I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. A trig problem on how to stare up a woman's skirt at her panties.

You fail to see how deeply inappropriate it would be for a 40 year old male maths teacher sexually to humiliate half his class in order teach the other half trig?! Wow!

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I was surprised to see that this link (http://www-psych.nmsu.edu/regression/home.html [nmsu.edu]) was still around. That one would probably get blocked at work here as well. (But probably not because of the Ren/Stimpy content. More like: "Well, you're not paid to do statistics, are you?")

While we're on the topic of oddball technical sites, I gotta wonder if the "Britney Spears Guide to Semiconductor Physics" is still online. (I don't even want to attempt looking for that one at work. :-) )

• #### Re: (Score:3, Informative)

Let us not forget the most important ratio [tvtropes.org] known to man: 4:1:2.5 +/-25%.

• #### Excel for statistics (Score:5, Insightful)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:38PM (#26123215) Homepage

There is an entire section in the back of the book about how to do statistics using Microsoft Excel.

• #### Re:Excel for statistics (Score:5, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @03:57PM (#26123455)
The Microsoft Excel Saga.
• #### Re:Excel for statistics (Score:4, Funny)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:06PM (#26123593) Homepage Journal

Endorsed by Il Palazzo!!! But what about Pedro?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Experiment: Failure

Hail!

• #### Re: (Score:2)

I think I can speak for Pedro when I say... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
• #### Re: (Score:2)

The Microsoft Excel Saga.

Where our spandex-clad Ballmerman can throw chairs faster than a speeding bullet. And deviate standards with a bloodcurdling "developers! developers! developers!"

Quick! To the grey Lexus! Holy blue screen of death, Ballmerman!

• #### Re: (Score:2)

No matter how many times you kill it, it just won't die. I refuse to accept that this is the Great Will of the Universe!
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Why? Excel is great for manipulating large sets of data. I've used it for a number of stats projects and it is a huge time-saver. You give it the data and the formulas and it does all the grunt work just as well as a TI-8x, except in a more portable format. Don't like the .xls or .xlsx format? Save as a CSV file. Even better, you can copy the data from Excel into Minitab [minitab.com] (Yes, I'm aware that this software is not free, but it is effective, and happened to be required for the class I was taking at the t

• #### Re: (Score:2, Informative)

Excel 97 had serious accuracy problems [acm.org] in its statistical functions, making it completely unsuitable for consumption.

The problem was not fixed [acm.org] in Excel 2000, neither it was in Excel 2002 (XP).

In Excel 2007... well, it still has the very same problems [acm.org].

• #### Re: (Score:2)

However, the question is, for the average user that just needs to do some basic statistics, is it accurate enough? I don't have access to the journal articles, but if the errors are only exposed when you get into large datasets or advanced functions, then odds are the reason that Microsoft hasn't fixed them is because that's not the target audience of Excel and it would take too much work to fix them.

However, the fact that the functions haven't been removed yet either is a bit odd.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

No, I remember trying to do some simple financial calculations and there was a major flaw in Excel's covariance funtion. It divided by n when it should have been (n-1). Not a big deal with large sets, but I'd wager "average users" are using small sets.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

All mathematical computations have a difficulty level, which is usually measured by a number called the condition number [wikipedia.org]. When a problem is ill conditioned, answers can vary by a lot depending on the method used, especially when such a method is unstable. That's why it's important to use the best methods. Unfortunately, a large amount of data is not a necessary condition for a high difficulty level. Even very small problems can turn out ill conditioned.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Excel is great for manipulating large sets of data.

It dumped when I tried to calculate your failosity coefficient.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Excel is fine for adding or subtracting, but the minute you start analyzing the data, throw it into minitab. If you have it, Excel's not really adding much.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Minitab is \$1195 for a single user licence (from a quick Google) so it's hardly a fair comparison.
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Excel is great for manipulating large sets of data.

Except if the data set if actually large [microsoft.com]. 1M rows barely makes for a trivial set of test data in my world.

It wouldn't be so bad if at least the answers Excel gave were right on the tiny sets it does support.

Spreadsheet addiction [burns-stat.com] is a good intro to its many flaws; the issues outlined in "Poor statistics" alone are sufficient to render it worthless for the topic of discussion here.

• #### Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

Spreadsheets are good way to get a feel for statistics. The problem is, and why so many dislike the spreadsheet as mathematical tool, they are also a good way of getting answers with no understanding of why they answers are right. Ont thing that one can do, and one thing my profs did, was make me write about the process of how I got the answers, and how the methods that software used, in addition to reporting the actual results.

What this did was to insure that I was using the spreadsheet as a tool, no a

• #### Prof E McSquared's calculus primer (Score:4, Interesting)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:01PM (#26123509)
Before anybody starts too much on the "look at the Japanese, their comics are better than US comics.."

Anyone remember this for real old timer geek cred? Nicely drawn in a vaguely hippy style, some good jokes, and quite mathematically rigorous. I still have a copy.

What was especially nice was that we had an annoying lecturer at U who having got as far as generating an equation would then make handle turning gestures while feeding numbers into it to get a result; a few years later, there was E McSquared's Function Machine, complete with handle, and before the personal computer.

• #### Without The Love Interest Please (Score:2)

This could have been a good idea, if it weren't for the ridiculous love interest angle.

Let's face it, how many fundamental concepts about science and engineering do we learn, not in school, but from educational programs or segments on TV or in other media. MacGyver, Star Trek, Mythbusters for more solid science. A lot of it is exaggerated yes, but the fact is that dramatic presentations of science do help inspire young people to see science as a career path.

Love interests though, are tacky, hackneyed and ge

• #### Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

Let's face it, how many fundamental concepts about science and engineering do we learn, not in school, but from educational programs or segments on TV or in other media. MacGyver, Star Trek, Mythbusters for more solid science. A lot of it is exaggerated yes, but the fact is that dramatic presentations of science do help inspire young people to see science as a career path.

You're not really pointing at television shows as paramounts of solid science are you? Mythbusters sure, I can see that, but MacGyver an

• #### I bought this book, and thought it was a waste (Score:3, Interesting)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:12PM (#26123703) Journal

My gf was taking statistics last semester, her first math class in 10 years. She's dyslexic, particularly with respect to numbers, and was terrified of the class and I figured the book might help.
Both of us found the format and presentation to be more distracting than informational.
If you think statistics is boring, maybe this will make it interesting. If you think statistics is *difficult*, this probably won't do anything for you that a conventional stats book, except provide pretty pictures. And, since story problems don't seem to make people learn better [itwire.com] than just learning the basic math using abstract variable names, why not just do that?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

Serious question: Can you even be dyslexic when it comes to numbers? I'm not familiar with dyslexia really and I figured it was *anything* written, not anything specific.

On the topic, manga seem to have more text than your typical comic book. At least the ones I've seen. Would that cause an issue for someone with dyslexia? Or would having the images associated with the text still be helpful?

• #### Re: (Score:2)

It's both painful and frustrating watching my girlfriend try and deal with numbers. She can read words *extremely* rapidly, with perfect comprehension, and with some proofreading she can type fairly well.
But if I tell her an address, say, 3448 Harlan, she'll write down "3884" and look at it and say "that's wrong" and write down "3848" and say "that's wrong too" and write down "3448" and say "I just can't write this down right" and erase the correct one and try again.
She says the numbers actually wiggle int

• #### Re: (Score:2)

What happens when she uses roman numerals? Same, worse, or easier?

Ditto for, say, dice or card pips, can she tell the roll of 3 dice?

Can she recite a number told to her if she doesn't try to write or visualize it?

No need to bother her if you don't know off the top of your head, I'm just curious if it is only the numbering system she learned, or all visual/written form of numbers, or numbers in general.

Since you said she can understand the concepts of performing calculations, if it is only the symbols of n

• #### Re: (Score:2)

What happens if she writes the words out, e.g. three eight eight four? Ever tried using non-arabic numerals? (The Japanese characters for 0-9, for example.)
• #### Re: (Score:2)

Writing them out as 'one' does help a lot. She's rather stubborn, though, and is still convinced that she can manage to force herself to be able to use numerals the same way the rest of the world does (hence her taking algebra four times.)
Using icons would be interesting: maybe we'll try that.
Apparently, according to Steven Pinker, the brain stores the idea of a single object, or two objects, and so on, in a different area than the part of the brain that deals with '1' and '2', and those in a different pla

• #### Akin to Britney's Guide to Semiconductor Physics (Score:3, Insightful)

on Monday December 15, 2008 @04:18PM (#26123763)

It's not only in the far east that such different subjects are sometimes juxtaposed for effect.

Don't forget our own utterly fantastic Britney Spears' Guide to Semiconductor Physics [britneyspears.ac] on this side of the world, which really deserves a medal. If a blend of pop culture and highly mathematical science raises a smile at the same time as presenting some serious physics, maybe the approach isn't as barmy as it seems.

Also remember that we do something similar in computing too, for instance in Head First Design Patterns [oreilly.com] and other books in the series, which present their material through silly little stories. A lot of people seem to like that approach.

There's more than one way to skin a cat, and that seems to apply to technical literature too.

• #### Re: (Score:2)

You mean there's more than one way to write a book about each of the ways to skin a cat, too?!

• #### Re: (Score:2)

The cat might be skinned or it might not. You can't tell without opening the box.
• #### Don't forget Mr Bunny's Steaming Cup o' Java (Score:2)

http://www.bookpool.com/sm/0201615630 [bookpool.com]

pretty strange -I never did figure out how much it would help with Java but I did try to read it.

http://www.mrbunny.com/ [mrbunny.com]

Apparently he also did a book on ActiveX -an appropriate subject for twisted or obtuse humor as I think that was the spirit in which it was created.

I'm just sayin'

• #### for a moment... (Score:2)

i could have sworn the text said she wanted to be tortured...

• #### I don't know about the mean and median... (Score:2)

What many may not have seen in manga before are things like calculating the mean, median and deviation of bowling scores.

But I'd be pretty surprised if there was ANY kind of deviation they haven't covered.

• #### You had me at... (Score:2)

The story line is relatively simple. The protagonist, Rui is a teenage girl.

Sold!

• #### what would be strange .. (Score:2)

"If the idea of a fifteen year old bouncing about in skimpy outfits while pursuing a relationship with one of her father's co-workers sounds strange to you, welcome to the world of manga"

No, what's strange is someone her fathers age still reading MANGA [photobucket.com] comics .. :)

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