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Editor's Notes, October 2004

David A. Smith

Greetings, readers -- regular, occasional, or totally new to JOMA.  If you're visiting our new site for the first time, you will probably want to read my notes from July, in which I explain the site navigation tools. 

We have added exciting new content since our "grand reopening" in July, and the newest items are listed as "related" to the left of this page.

Our headliner this month -- many months in preparation -- is Jim White's article relating the focus-locus and focus-directrix properties of ellipses to the physics of special relativity.  This article includes a new feature: a 17-minute audio/video "lecture" in which the author explains what the article is about, using live 3D graphics that you will be able to reproduce when you get into the article itself.  Within the article, dynamic experiments are provided in a Mathwright Microworld, about which Jim wrote in an earlier article.  Unfortunately, this is Jim's last article -- he died suddenly and unexpectedly while it was in final preparation.  There is a link to his obituary on the first page of the article.

We also have our first Developers' Area article of Volume 4, by Kyle Siegrist, who writes about his Probability/Statistics Object Library (PSOL), an open-source collection of reusable Java applets and components that instructors and developers can plug into their own educational materials.  And he shows you how.

We are featuring two new mathlets by Barbara Kaskosz that provide a fresh look at the basic concepts of calculus, the derivative and the integral.  Unlike most of our previous mathlets, these are not written in Java but in Flash, a Macromedia development system for which you can download a free reader for any browser and platform.

Here's a tip for finding everything in Volume 4:  Go to the Advanced Search  page and enter starting and ending dates.  Since the volume coincides with a calendar year, you can start at January 2004 and end with the current month.  Leave all the other choices blank, and the search will show you the whole volume to date.  Or, if you just want to see articles, or just mathlets, or ... -- use the other selection tools to narrow your search.

My work on importing older material from our archives at Math Forum is proceeding, but not as fast as I had hoped.  The first issue in Volume 1 is now complete, and selected items since that first issue have been imported.  You can find everything in Volumes 1-3 from the Archive link on the home page.  If the item has been imported, you will find it on this site -- otherwise, the Table of Contents link will take you back to Math Forum.

Finally, let me encourage you to use the "Discuss this article" links at the bottom of every page.  Share your thoughts with other readers, with the editors, and with the authors.  We all need to continue learning, and your contributions will be valuable.  You may also benefit from the responses of others.

Thank you.

David A. Smith, "Editor's Notes, October 2004," Convergence (October 2004)