Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Equation Quandary...

It is said that Mathematics is the only absolute truth. I liked Math in High School. I liked that I could come up with a solution and then test that solution to see if it was correct. For kicks, I've been doing some Quadratic Equations today. Partially to see if I can still do them (I can...quite well actually), and also to connect to that part of the universe that is calculable.

There's very few other areas in life that are so clearly defined. I cannot cross check my ideas about life to see if they're correct. There is no universal answer key to indicate whether my line of thinking or being is going to bring me the desired response.

Math for me was a very stimulus-response activity. Once you know the formulas involved, you can respond to the question in a systematic way. You don't have to re-invent the wheel each time out. Back in Grade 12, when the brain blip was well under way, I dropped out of Math class around the time we started learning to solve complex triangles and prove the relationships between various triangles. Somehow, my brain could not process beyond solving the basic triangles. I could not abstract the concrete angle values to see the relationships between objects. And I wonder what that says about my brain/life at the time. Any guesses? I need some help on this one.

tall penguin

Edited to add: Okay, I lied. As the Quadratic Equations are getting more difficult, my brain is doing a WTF?! Wow, I really want to learn how to do this stuff again.

19 comments:

mike said...

"I could not abstract the concrete angle values to see the relationships between objects. And I wonder what that says about my brain/life at the time."

Hmmm... maybe nothing! Abstraction can be tough. Just sayin'...

You're a pretty complicated woman Ms. Penguin, of that I have no doubt, that's why I like your blog. If I were to write a blog it be along the lines of "Such and such happened to me today, the probability of this is around X and considering I live in a population of Y, it was bound to happen at some time, blah blah blah." Yeah, that's exciting! But sometimes those simple explanations are the right ones. Even if it is boring!

Anonymous said...

I tried to remember what a quadratic equation is, and it made my brain hurt.

tall penguin said...

"But sometimes those simple explanations are the right ones. Even if it is boring!"

Thank you mike. Sometimes my mind spins out of control analyzing variables. After I wrote this post, I shut the computer, pulled out the pastels and drew.

It is what it is. The analysis is fun and useful to a point, but when the scales tip, it's exhausting and annoying and frankly, even I get bored of my own musings.

tall penguin said...

"I tried to remember what a quadratic equation is, and it made my brain hurt."

hahaha. Yes, I think my brain now needs a massage.

Anonymous said...

I'll trade you. :P

Anonymous said...

Pastels remind me, I need to break out my drawing pens again.

mike said...

"even I get bored of my own musings."

Not me.... keep it up. I like getting pulled away from Occam's razor sometimes. I guess it's always good to have in your back pocket though.

tall penguin said...

"Not me.... keep it up. I like getting pulled away from Occam's razor sometimes."

It's funny I've felt squidgy in my tummy all afternoon after this post. I have these moments where I think, "what the fuck am I even talking about?"

At the very least, I'm glad you find my musings entertaining. :)

José P. said...

Oh, yeah, baby. Solve 'til you evolve. :D

matt said...

ax2 + bx = c :)

I'm pretty good at factoring and solving them without the use of a quadratic equation, but some just get annoying!

Complex triangles are getting fun, I need to see what you know about them, you'll end up helping me out with them! Never give up! I'll get you speaking the dark blasphemous triangles in time!

sin, cos it's fun, tan girl!

José P. said...

Factorize 5p^2 + 7p - 6. Does it have any roots?

matt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
matt said...

Actually, just realized you can solve it:

5p^2 + 7p - 6 = (5p - 3)(p + 2)

With just factoring, yay :)

matt said...

Oh, but not sure what you mean by "does it have any roots?", it IS 4:20AM, maybe I should be asleep. :)

tall penguin said...

Jose and matt:

You Math geeks! :)

Flonkbob said...

When I was in HS I continued math through Math Analysis (Algebra->Geometry->Algebra2->MathAnalysis); that was as far as I got. I had enough for my physics class, but I couldn't go any further. My brain wouldn't accept it.

Oddly, all that stuff about which I said "I'll never use this!" came back to me about 10 years later in a job I somehow fell into doing some industrial engineering functions. I had a little handheld printing programmable calculataor that no one in the office could program. I came upon the concept of least squares to determine estimates and programmed it in. I started using that instead of the two day long, paper calculation intensive method my boss was using. It only took about five minutes to go from a design package to final estimate. Once I got it down I could create an estimate within 2% of the eventual actual cost to build a piece of furniture. It took awhile for management to trust it, because they didn't really understand how it worked (not sure I did either, truth to tell), but eventually it was 'the' method.

I was so pleased that something from HS had proved to be relevant.

José P. said...

Matt: To find the roots, just equate the polynomial to zero; the roots will then be the values of x for which the equation is true.

matt said...

Ah yeah, that's right :)

so: (5p - 3)(p + 2)

p = 3/5

or

p = -2

:)

tall penguin said...

"I was so pleased that something from HS had proved to be relevant."

Great story flonk. I want to believe that everything becomes relevant at some point. Even if just to realize that it's not relevant. ;)