Charlie’s Line

Many years ago, I had a senior high math teacher named Charlie Read: a very capable teacher, highly respected. He made math interesting enough that I made an 85 in Geometry, with very little effort. That was convenient, since very little effort was what I gave studies at that time, and most of my other subjects showed it.

Charlie started some geometry courses with flair: he would stand at the back of the classroom and without warning fire a piece of chalk at the blackboard, hitting it with a snap that made students jump, leaving a single yellow mark on the board.

Striding up the aisle to the board, he would bellow, “Take a point!” He would go from there with the basics of geometry: you have a point in space. String points together, an infinite amount of them, and you have a line. With lines, you form shapes: triangles, squares, and more.
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Policing the Police

The findings of a report released last week into the tragic Taser-related death of Robert Dziekanski in the Vancouver Airport didn’t surprise me. Most of us had seen the video taken by a bystander, and could appreciate that the response of the RCMP Officers on the scene was inappropriate. Perhaps more significantly, we were aware that their inquiry testimony about the event differed strongly from the facts in the video.

One news commentator indicated that as far as public support, the RCMP has been “bleeding” badly over the last few years. It’s unfortunate that the force, long an iconic symbol of Canada, peaks in its support by Canadians only when some of the members are killed. “Inappropriate response” was a common phrase in the report on the Dziekanski incident, and that labels most difficulties the RCMP has gotten into over the last decade.
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