A Weekly Dose of Bollobás

  A Weekly Dose of Bollobás: The Mathematics Directed Reading Program   By MICHEAL KIELSTRA   Mathematics is taught in different ways. Some people prefer the large lecture format, others the small seminar, and still others that venerable Harvard institution, the long night alone with a textbook and a problem set. This year, while promoting all of these, the mathematics department is trying something different. I was privileged enough to secure a spot in their inaugural Directed Reading Program. The DRP, as those in the know call it, works by pairing up a graduate student with an undergraduate. They then …

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Burn the Red Team!

Burn the Red Team! As cybersecurity grows in importance in the modern era, Michael examines how seriously (or not) the subject should be taken for college students. By MICHAEL KIELSTRA   When I started learning how to hack computers, I was very quickly taught one thing: as Uncle Ben never stops saying, great power and great responsibility go hand in hand. I read books by hackers skilled enough to hold a small country to ransom, but who emphasized over and over the importance of getting proper authorization. If you were hired to hack into a company, as a test for …

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An Open Letter to Writers of Textbooks

Dear Sir or Madam,   I have just finished your most recent book, and found it to be just the thing for me.  The text was clear, the examples were useful, and it was required reading for my course, so there was that as well.  There was just one problem.   Do you see what I did there?  That’s what it feels like when you’re reading along, following the logic, and then, right after the final point is made, it just stops.  The argument might be finished, but, from a reader’s perspective, it’s incredibly jarring just to have a last …

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