### More reactions to SCOTUS racism

There are many voices among #BlackandSTEM pushing back against Scalia's and Roberts' overt and covert forms of racism.

From Urban Scientist at Scientific American (Dr. Danielle Lee):
That’s what makes Roberts and Scalia words so worrisome. They legitimize and codify black participation in academia as inherently lower quality. They presume white is the default in science and minority participation is a distraction, a poor fit, unnecessary. It’s these presumptions - The Presumption of MisMatch, The Presumption of Intellectual Inferiority that feed into the poorest most often rolled out excuse for lack of diversity and inclusion in academia and the STEM workforce: We don't want to sacrifice quality for Diversity. Yeah. Tell me again how these systems don’t work to exclude.
Here's a series of Tweets from Dr. Jedidah Isler. An excerpt:

From Microbe Maven:
As an African American woman in higher education, I know all too well the prevalent idea that many minorities are only in school because of Affirmative Action. Many of us feel the weight of having to perform levels above our peers in order for our presence not to be questioned. Our mistakes are weighed more heavily by our advisers and supervisors in comparison to our white peers. We put increased pressure on ourselves to be perfect. We suffer from higher rates of impostor syndrome, anxiety and depression in a field that already has a high mental health cost because we are told over and over again both subliminally and in cases like Justice Scalia boldly that we are not equal. Our mental capacities are somehow more limited than everybody else’s.
Add on top of this, the fact that Scalia felt the need to target black scientists in particular with his statements… It’s really hard for me to not be angry.
Dr. Prescod-Weistein reveals what many "liberal" astro/physics professors and ultra-conservative , overtly racist Justice Scalia have in common: their views on affirmative action

She's also quoted in this LA Times article. The article references the paper on "Mismatch Theory," that clearly (mis)informed Scalia's views. Sadly, it didn't reference any of the research that comes to the opposite conclusion about whether URM students are a good "fit" at major universities. Here's a summary about the work debunking the Mismatch paper:
To truly put the mismatch theory to rest, rigorous quasi-experimental evidence that focuses on the beneficiaries of preferential admissions policies is needed. But the current weight of the evidence leans strongly against the mismatch hypothesis. Most importantly, not a single credible study has found evidence that students are harmed by attending a more selective college. There may well be reasons to abolish or reform affirmative action policies, but the possibility that they harm the intended beneficiaries should not be among them.

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…