Tag Archives: math

Trigonometry! Ha! I Laugh in your Face!

Disclaimer: This is a blatant case of bait and switch!

(Do you really need me to repeat what's on the book cover?)

(Do you really need me to repeat what’s on the book cover?)

Not every person being paid to teach trigonometry is able to teach – nor do they necessarily know trigonometry. It’s a little known effect of what is sometimes called “tenure.”

So my son had a meeting with a tutor the other day because he actually wants to learn these subjects. It’s a complicated process involving finding a qualified person, checking references, calculating return on investment, and fitting the session in around other appointments, obligations and meetings. My wife takes care of 99 44/100% of it, while I, on the other hand, am responsible for chauffeuring.

In in case you don’t know, the most common and generally accepted venue for private tutoring is a meeting room at the public library. This branch was particularly small, but I believe the Constitution requires all libraries, regardless of size to have meeting rooms. My son and the instructor took off, and I sat down, got bored, walked around, and sat down again.

I walked around the non-fiction section, and although they had a collection that must run in the dozens, nothing looked the least bit interesting.

Once again I sat down, etc. This time I accidentally turned into the fiction aisle, and there, staring at me was Dave Barry. It was his new book, You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty.

So, as my son is cosining his trigonometry, I’m muffling my giggles.

While there may be no serpent’s tooth sharper than an ungrateful child, there’s nothing more delicious quietly giggling while others study trigonometry.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions


Decisions, those forks in the road that determine the future are always interesting. Some decisions are individual, while others are a group process. Whole books have been written about how to make good decisions, but what I find interesting is how people behave after they reach a decision. There are basically three choices.

Once a decision is made, you are committed to making it work.

You wonder what would have happened if you had made a different choice.

(Usually after a group decision) You can be unhappy with the outcome and spend the next four years listening to talk radio.

The Dark Side

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Once again Smithsonian Magazine comes through with a thought provoking article, “Welcome to the Dark Side” by Ron Rosenbaum in the June 2013 issue. The article is about Lisa Randall, a Cosmologist – which is more or less like the mixture of a physicist and mathematician on super-steroids. Dr. Randall is a tenured professor at Harvard, and is working with things that Star Trek writers could never imagine.

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Dr.. Lisa Randall

The most interesting part of her theory is that of all the universe, we can only observe 4%. The other 96% we can’t see, measure or mathematically extrapolate. This 96% is so-called “dark matter.”

Here’s a totally unscientific question — “Could the afterlife; heaven and possibly hell be occupying the majority of the universe? Could they be in the part we cannot see?

Just a thought.