Headline, November 04 2020/ ''' '' MATH ISN'T REAL '' ''' : !WOW!


''' '' MATH ISN'T 

REAL '' ''' : !WOW!

SAM DAILY TIMES : THE WORLD STUDENTS SOCIETY - the exclusive and eternal ownership of every student in the world, now has an accomplished and exalted multiplier of 1038.

Genius students the world over, must have got to notice that the stat links are being wisely looked at and managed by the heroic Founder Framers to get the other countries to consider getting aware and start catching up.

As the great students of America lead in readership on Sam Daily Times, allow me the privilege to task the Founder Framers from America, to get the African continent students and the South American students buzzing.

'' I WAS JUST DOING MY MAKEUP FOR WORK - AND I JUST WANTED to tell you guys about how I don't think math is real,'' Gracie Cunninghum says, dabbing concealer under her eyes.

If you spend much time on TikTok, the setting is familiar - a teenage girl's bedroom, a quilt covering the wall, the camera slightly upward toward her face.

She quickly acknowledges that she knows math is real, in the sense that we learn it in school, and accept its principles and formulas. But how do we know it's actually true?

Who came up with it? Why? ''I know you're going to be like, Pythagros,'' she riffs - ''but how?'' How did he come up with this? 

The exasperation in her voice is extremely, comically teenage. Why were people who, she imagines, lived without indoor plumbing so interested in mathematical abstractions? ''How would you, like, start on the concept of algebra? Like, what did you need it for?''

Cunningham posted this minute-long video to Tik Tok and then, presumably, finished applying her makeup and went to work.

TWO weeks later, the video had been viewed more than 1.3 million times. On Twitter, where it was reposted, it received millions more views. Before long, Cunningham had become one of those online characters unfortunate enough to have a name : In the Internet parlance, she was now the ''Math Isn't Real'' Girl.

It began, as these things often do, with mockery. Someone tweeted the clip with a comment like : ''This is the dumbest video I have ever seen.'' Many agreed. Others, perturbed by the sight : of people gleefully calling a teenage girl dumb, sprang to her defense : ''She is actually a genius,'' one wrote, ''and isn't making any mistakes.''

A post emerged on Medium, arguing that the response to Cunningham was emblematic of a much larger issue : ''The Viral Math Girl From Tik Tok Perfectly Encapsulates What It's Like to Be Female Online.''

On and on it went. Eventually specialists  logged on and weighed in. Mathematicians and other academics posted the clip supportively, noting that Cunnighams questions were, in fact, foundational to the study of math and to certain branches in philosophy. Her video and the arguments about it, had traveled quite a distance.

It is the natural life cycle of a thing on the Internet - a viral video, a meme, a piece of writing - to come loose from its context and take on a plethora of meanings.

A photo of a park full of people during the pandemic, for instance, immediately becomes a symbol of something ; a flagrant violation of social distancing; a responsible return to some semblance of normal life in the open air; the government's failure to regulate public space; even how photography itself can be misleading.

Questions like where the park is, or what the case rate is in the area, became immaterial. We react to the static image. The discussion it sparks is bound to be heated and go nowhere, because everyone involved knows from its onset what they believe the photo means.

It would be wrong to see Cunnighamas a nail helplessly into the currents of the Internet. She very likely knows more about how to navigate online space than the adults arguing over her, and she has posted a number of funny and insightful follow-up videos, along with jokes and thoughts about the experience of viral fame.

Still, she and her video became strangely flattened in the discourse. This mode of gawking - using viral posts as a way to take the temperature of what others are doing and thinking - is surely only brightened by lockdowns and social distancing, which keeps us at arms length from what we used to think of as ''real life''.

''Why did a physicist who is followed by Barrack Obama retweet me?'' Cunnigham asked in one of her follow up videos. This was, frankly, a pretty good question. She had begun by asking out loud the idle questions students ask themselves amid the tedium of studying for another algebra exam.

In a classroom, a teacher might have answered by talking about the origins of mathematics or assuring her that philosophers contemplate versions of her questions all the time : How do we know what we know and in what sense is abstract knowledge ''real''?

Instead her questions rapidly became a handy proxy for just about anything. And in the end - despite constant accusations that today's kids/students are too-focused on their smartphones to notice-

To notice the world around them - it was everyone else who wrestled the video away from its ordinary reality; just a normal teenager asking normal questions into a phone camera and posting them online.

The World Students Society thanks author Sophie Haigney.

With respectful dedication to all the teenagers of the world, and then the Students, Professors and Teachers. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society :  wssciw.blogspot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

''' Musing - Mystery '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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