Pressing Toward the Prize

Archive for March 2011

In creating my outline last week, I began to suspect that my initial goals for Capstone were a bit too ambitious. There is so much interesting material that could be covered, but in order to include everything I wanted to, I would practically be re-writing Mr. Saari’s book. Since that is not an option – for a multitude of reasons – I realize now that I need to narrow my focus in order to do justice to the topic. I will be meeting with my professor this coming week to get some direction on refining my goals, so that I will know how to proceed when I begin writing my rough draft during spring break.


It is time to report on my progress, but I am sad to say that I have none to report! The truth is, I have not been able to work on my Capstone project at all this week. Even though it has been on my “to do” list each day, it just has not happened. However… the preliminary outline for my paper and presentation is due tomorrow, so I’d say it is pretty clear what I will be doing between now and then!!

I am continuing to read Chaotic Elections, and I still find this entire subject of “elections gone wrong” quite fascinating. How can something we often take for granted wreak such havoc in our lives – without us even realizing it is happening? And then when “we” think we have found a wonderful strategy to bend an election in “our” favor, we create another whole set of problematic outcomes. Amazing!

So far, the book has been part history lesson, part civics lesson, part statistics, and a fair amount of surprises. Donald Saari does a great job of putting the voting paradoxes in terms that can be easily understood, such as using allegories to school grades and class standings for various voting methods, before he gets to the actual mathematics he used to analyze them. His mathematical analysis will be the meat of my Capstone presentation, but I also intend to use some simpler examples to aid in understanding.

This week I will be working on the outline as I continue to read Chaotic Elections, all the while referencing my linear algebra textbook, as needed.

I am afraid this update isn’t much of an update, in that it really doesn’t carry much by way of new revelation. I am continuing to ready Chaotic Elections, but it is going more slowly than I had hoped. My biggest challenge is carving out time to read, and then when I do, it is not the kind of material I can just breeze through and “get it.” The subject is very interesting, and I am learning a lot and enjoying it immensely. I am concerned, however, that I will have trouble keeping up with the Capstone timeline… the outline is due soon. Pesky things keep getting in the way – things like other classes, if you can imagine that!!

My goal is still the same, to continue reading the book and refining my outline.


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  • gramsonjanessa: I can't wait to listen to your capstone presentation in the spring! Your proposal was really interesting and I'm interested to see how the linear alge
  • dewittda: This is impressive! I thought I was good because I solved a rubik‚Äôs cube once in an hour. I served with a guy in the Air Force who could solve a r
  • ZeroSum Ruler: The Euclidean algorithm should me the mainstream way we teach students how to find the GCF. Why isn't it? A mystery.