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January 04, 2006

Sajak On Algebra

Game show host Pat Sajak's got an amusing piece going at JWR today.

The time has long since passed when I could be of any use to my teenage son when it comes to the matter of math homework. I'm fairly useful in the fields of English and History, less so with Science and Latin, but totally superfluous in the bizarre world of Algebra.

That point was driven home again the other night when he introduced me to an imaginary number, or, as those wacky mathematicians like to call it, i. Here is the issue, as I understand it, and I'm not at all sure I do. There is no real way to find the square root of a negative number, because any number multiplied by itself would be positive. So, you might logically assume that, since a number can't exist, there's no point looking for it. Well, you'd be wrong. Apparently the inability of a number to exist isn't a sufficient reason not to find a way to pretend it exists.

I can sympathize with ya', Pat. I'd be more lost than you are.

Posted by Seth at January 4, 2006 10:23 AM