Welcome to Casting Out Nines

I’d like to welcome you to my new blog. Let me explain a little of what’s going on here, and what hopefully will go on here once the ball gets rolling.

I’m a mathematics professor and avowed geek, teaching in a small liberal arts college in central Indiana. Casting Out Nines is a weblog that focuses on a few related topics that I find important enough to think about a lot:

  • Education, particularly higher education from an insider’s viewpoint, with occasional punditry about secondary education, homeschooling, and school choice issues;
  • Math, with particular biases shown toward areas of my expertise and/or interest, including but not limited to cryptography, number theory, and algebra;
  • Teaching, particularly the teaching of mathematics and computing, especially stuff that I happen to be experiencing as a classroom teacher;
  • Technology, including Linux and open source software, personal technology (i.e. geek gadgets), and how the use and advancement of technology affects us; and
  • How all these things interact with each other. How does technology shape teaching? How is classroom teaching in college affected by what’s going on in high schools? How is what’s going on in high school affected by technology? And so forth.

Casting Out Nines is a spinoff of my previous blog, brightMystery, in which I treated not only all of the above topics but also topics about Christian faith, parenting, fatherhood, and anything else. Brightmystery got a little crowded with all that content. So the edu/techno/math stuff is now treated here. If you want to read about faith, fatherhood, and parenting, you can check out my group blog Daddyspeak.

So welcome and enjoy. Also be aware that I’m open to format changes at this point; so if there’s some bell or whistle you’d like to see here, leave it in the comments and I’ll do my best.


Filed under Casting Out Nines

11 responses to “Welcome to Casting Out Nines

  1. Looks fine. Very clean. The funky quote thing to my immediate left is a little distracting, and it makes all the comments look like they are block quotes of someone else’s words. The top could benefit from an image of some relevance to the blog title.

    Something about the whole style seems serene and understated, which is nice, but also lacking any source of contrast, which makes it seem slightly out of focus, particularly on my widescreen monitor (of which you use approximately 20% of the real estate). Perhaps bumping the width to something more consistent with modern monitors and/or increasing the fonts one setting in size globally would help.

    Or just order me some bifocals…

    OK, now I really don’t like that ornate quote in this box. It’s static, so as your comment increases in length it starts to hover over your text. And the “submit” button is unlabeled. If it weren’t for the hover-tip I wouldn’t even know it was a button, since it doesn’t change contrast with a mouse-over.

  2. I like this site. I think I’ll visit often.

  3. Doc,

    I think the lack of label on the Submit button might be a browser issue. It shows up fine on mine (using Safari).

    I had already decided to change the background from the sort of beige it is now to a plain white, and change the text to black — sort of as it appears in the comment box. That’ll help with the contrast.

    I wasn’t really aware that the quote thing was so annoying. I have no idea if I can get rid of that. You’re right, it makes it look like a block quote.

    Since “casting out nines” is a number-theoretic technique for doing error-detection, I’m kind of at a loss for an image that represents this. Maybe a picture of somebody throwing a big number 9 off the edge of a cliff?

  4. Doc, I am now using Firefox and I see what you’re saying about the quote thing and the Submit button. Although I think because of the placement of the button, the function of the button seems clear from context. But it would be nice to have it labeled.

  5. You’re telling me that button has a label in Safari, but no label in Firefox and IE6? Weird. It has a hover-text in both, but no label.

  6. Doc – Apparently so. In Safari the button shows up as the standard Mac rounded-rectangle with the word “Submit” in it. That’s just one of Safari’s many ideosyncracies. It also has a problem rendering certain Javascript elements, like, for example, the quick tag buttons when editing a post in WordPress or Movable Type. I like Safari, especially how it handles RSS feeds, but those little “features” are quickly making it a liability for me.

  7. dpg


    WIll issues of faith and teaching appear like in the past? And if so, which blog?

    Though I may be in the minority, I always enjoyed the way you wove all the various aspects of your life together in Bright Mystery. I will not mind checking both blogs. My hope is that this electronic compartmentalization of your life will retard your pursuit of an integrated life.

    Beautiful layout

  8. dpg

    Ooops! Change the last line in paragragh two to ” My hope is that this electronic compartmentalization of your life will not retard your pursuit of an integrated life.” Big mistake.

  9. You’ll see plenty of posts about viewing teaching, education, technology, etc. from a Christian perspective, I think, just because it’s sort of in my blood. At Daddyspeak you’ll see the same kind of integration, only on the family/parenting side. And I expect I will be cross-posting pretty liberally between the two blogs. I see the edu/techno/math stuff and the parenting/fatherhood stuff as being worthy of separate blogs but both rooted in my faith.

    If you catch me becoming compartmentalized, feel free to whack me upside the head with something.

  10. Do you have an rss feed I can subscribe to?