This has been a heady week. I had two very important moments this week, and both had to do with math. One was a matter of distribution, the other, association.
The Distributive Axiom:
x(y+z) = xy + xz
But back to my newfound enthusiasm for Algebra homework. Has the Earth experienced a geomagnetic polarity reversal? (I read on PBS.org that it happens every 250,000 years or so and now I'm worried.) I don't know what else could account for the crazy shift in my priorities.
But here it is: I love distributing. It's almost as satisfying as simplifying. Maybe more. I can't decide. Changing 3(x+5) into 3x+15 is fun, and watch: I can even go in the other direction. 10x+20 can just as easily be transformed into 10(x+2). Is it just the imposition of order? I am a fan of organizing. Give me a label maker and five cases of wide-mouthed mason jars, and I can turn a disorganized pantry into the very model of a modern major-miracle. I love the purging of excess clutter, so the removal of factors in an expression is akin to taking truckloads of refuse from my basement to the dump. Satisfying. Cleansing. Where I was faced with a messy 10 and x and a 20 cluttering up the place, I can create order through 10(x+2). Clean. Neat. Minimalist. And gosh darn it, I love it.
The Associative Axiom for Multiplication:
(xy)z = x(yz)
In the midst of this shocking revelation, I attended the Dartmouth Writing Summit. In years past, I would have fallen all over myself to attend every second of this writing geek-fest, but this year, THIS year, was a challenge. I was only able to arrange coverage for a couple of my classes, so I had to choose carefully. I was only going to be able to attend one session. One.
From Dartmouth Now:
"Pulitzer Prize-winning author and noted historian David McCullough is one of several scholars who will lecture at Dartmouth October 2 and 3 as part of 'Writing Summit 2012: The Power of Writing in the Contemporary World.'"
David McCullough?!?!? David McCullough??!!? Seriously? Holy Crap! I love David McCullough; he's one of my writing heroes. I would do just about anything to meet David McCullough.
But then I was faced with the following associative quandry: