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A college webcomic by David Willis

probably not anywhere for a while 'cuz the world is covered in death

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Danny. Know your audience.

Yeah, tell her about Rule 34.

I’m wondering what Rule 63 of the Walkertons would be like?

I’m pretty sure someone here made fanart of that.

Wait, no, that was actually official art.

For one of them, canon, even. (In the other continuity.) Dunno about the other Walkertons.

That link is 404’d now, unfortunately, so I’ll just hope that it was to a story comic that I’ll eventually find.

I’d like to see some Rule 85 of the DoA characters.

Rule 85? What one is that?

A quick google search shows that rule 85 is, “if it exists, there is a pony of it.”

Crikey! There’s no escape from them miniature horsies.

Again with these “horse” thingies? Or are “horses” and “horsies” separate things? C’mon, don’t leave your buddy Swerve hanging!

Ask Mach Kick about horses; he can give you the rundown.

To tell you the truth, I’ve never met an Autobot named Mach Kick. He’s definitely not on board the

Lost Light; I knoweverybodyon theLost Light. Seriously, the Autobot army had millions of soldiers fighting in it for four million years. A lot of those guys died fighting in pointless battles, others died heroically, and some worked in obscurity trying to discover the latest technological breakthrough that would win the war. And in the end, the war was won because Spike Witwicky was a jerk, Galvatron decided to listen to the voices in his head, and Optimus Prime sacrificed the Matrix to reboot Cybertron.Where was I going with this? Um, yeah I’ve never met an Autobot, Decepticon or NAIL named Mach Kick. Unless I knew him before the war, and he changed his name? Was he a member of the Blurr fan club?

*draws a bunch of DoA muscle cars*

…what?

Read It’s Walky, it’s a plot point for half of them during one story.

What’s rule 63?

Rule 34 has been deemed false. I can’t find any for Cybertron Override.

http://www.shortpacked.com/index.php?id=862

You gotta know what the rules are before you can bend or break them.

Fucking ninja’d me.

THIS.

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the mongoose gets you. 😀

And sometimes, you find a mongoose and a viper in one random encounter.

Too bad Zangoose > Seviper.

I blame Rikki Tiki Tavi.

I was haunted by the name for all of middle school simply because I had the name Richard…*stares off into The “War” Memories*

So yeah I blame him too.

And they start killing each other so you gotta rush if you wanna catch the one that only appears in the opposite game.

She/he is the snake to my mongoose… Or the mongoose to my snake… Either way.. it’s bad.

I’m the Mongoose, John is the Walrus. 😀

Goo goo goo joob!

What, like gravity? =B

Yes, after all the Roadrunner has been known to break that rule from time to time.

The Roadrunner doesn’t actually break the Law (not rule) of Gravity. Instead its speed is so great that the force of inertia allows the Roadrunner to avoid falling. (Blurr has done this as well. Wait, who am I kidding? Blurr pulls this stunt off much better than some cartoon bird!)

As for Wile E. Coyote… he does break the Law of Gravity, but only if he doesn’t notice he’s supposed to be falling.

“Oh, that’s all right — we haven’t studied gravity yet.”

— a young Elmer FuddI believe Bugs once said, “I know this defies the Law of Gravity, but, you see, I haven’t studied law.”

He did. I’m quoting a very young Elmer Fudd (armed with a cork gun) speaking to a juvenile Bugs Bunny in the cartoon “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny”.

spoiler alert — in the next scene, Bugs leaves a book entitled “Gravity for Beginners” where Elmer was sure to find and read it…. so the next time Elmer went off the edge of the cliff — down he went — only to be elbowed aside by Wile E. Coyote holding a sign telling him to “move over and let someone fall who knows how!”

Ah, but it doesn’t defy the Law of Cartoon Gravity, which is:

The gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the product of the masses of those objects, inversely proportional to the distance between them, and directly proportional to their awareness of each other, and of the comedic timing between them.

*shakes fist at Plas*

*Does a roadrunner raspberry and speeds off*I heart you for this ^^

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Agreed. Breaking the rules out of ignorance just displays ignorance. Breaking them for artistic effect demonstrates creativity.

Breaking them for no reason displays your insanity.

I like to follow the rules that require me to break other rules!

Rule √-1: This rule must be broken.

Ah, using your imagination is always a bonus.

ilike this rule.Just leave it in surd format. I dunno why it’s so hard.

That’s an imaginary rule.

@Aizat: No, it shows that you’re bored. All work and no play makes Whirl an interesting ‘Bot, as the saying goes. And despite what Whirl may want us to believe, he’s not really crazy. If anything, Whirl would prefer to

actuallybe crazy, since it would alleviate him from the spark-crushing guilt and horror of his life.There’s also a limit to how many times you can use ignorance of a rule as an excuse, before Ultra Magnus locks you in a room and makes you recite the entire Autobot Code (unabridged) twice. Especially if you knew that it’s against the Autobot Code to weld the contents of Ultra Magnus’ quarters to the ceiling. 😉

Yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask, did Ultra Magnus forced Megatron to read the unabridged version of the Autobot Code?

Yes. Yes he did.

Six months ago, after the trial on Luna 2 ended, and the

Lost Lightwas back on its mission, Ultra Magnus walks into my bar, sought out Megatron and plopped a data-slug in front of him. Magnus said one word: “Read.” Then he walked out. Everyone in the bar was cautiously backing away, waiting to see if Megs would shoot Magnus in the back, or at least throw the slug at him. Get this: Megatron calmly picks it up, finishes his drink and walks out quietly! I’m telling you, Megatron is definitely up to something!Is Magnus actually called out by name? ‘Cause that would be either horrible or hilarious.

Hilarible? Horrilarious?

Was Ultra Magnus called out by name for what?

Breaking the rules because you know it will have the effect you want is mastery.

Calculus was invented by fudging the then-current rules of math. Before the controversy of “who invented Calculus,” there was a smaller controversy of “dude that is not how you math” “oh yeah well do you wanna fight about it”

Naw, math is only fun when it’s something I like. Like the Catch rate equation for Pokemon.

Math was never fun for me – most of it just sounds illogical to me.

That’s also a funny joke.

Huh?

Math is literally 100% logic.

What Belegcam said.

“Logical” is not a synonym for “intuitive”. Logic can be crazy hard, and since math is logic, math can be crazy hard.

Saying it’s illogical, though, makes less sense than saying the center of the sun is cold. Because, relatively, the center of the sun

iscold if you compare it to something much hotter. But math is not illogical compared to anything. You can’t get more logical than being made of pure logic.Math in the real world is easy. Two and two equals four; always has, always will. Formulas and theorems have already been proven to work; constants are always constant; and every problem is repeatable with the same answers every time. And once you learn and accept that, math will stop scaring or intimidating you.

But, whenever I look at a clock, and then wait awhile, and look at it again, the number is different.

(Also, 6 and 9 are just waiting ’til you stop looking to switch all around, and zeroes mean ‘nothing’, so you can ignore them.)

Or how to break Final Fantasy Tactics to itty bitty pieces.

Breath on it. (I love the game, and can recite from memory most of the formulas in it, but its a mess balance wise)

ah, memories.

Or street fighter.

But how do you know you’re breaking the rules if you don’t know what they are first?

Ninja’d by Plasma Mongoose.

Move over Sharigan, I have the Icosagan. 😛

Who is that btw?

Is it Kawaii from that one anime about the boarding house?

Icosagan is my unofficial magic ninga eye in keeping with the other magic ninja eyes from Naruto.

I mean your icon 😛

Silly me, my grav for today is Ryou Akizuki from Idolmaster, he wants tobecome a male idol-singer but was made into becoming a female idol instead.

… That sounds disturbingly like what Jhiaxus did to Arcee. With less pop-star singer and more vengeful-creation-hunting-down-Jhiaxus.

Unless it’s something completely different. Your Earth culture has been known to confuse us mechanical beings.

And that one episode of Detective Conan or that one chapter in Kindaichi Case Files.

In other words, It’s A Trap!

That used to be the problem with me too, when asked to show my working out I skipped that because I knew simpler ways to do it.

Are we going to learn everything in video game terms now? Because that makes everything far more enjoyable.

Using games to advance education? Sure why not! ^_^

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T39kYzzv_3Q

Hah, and they say games teaches you nothing.

For linking EC, you get +5 Internets.

Breaking the rules isn’t as fun as manipulating them to work in your favor.

Wait, we’re still talking about math, aren’t we?

I believe you were thinking about rule lawyering.

That’s all math -is-.

Which is why it’s so AWESOME.

*pushes up glasses*

Whether its math or mario kart, you gotta know the basic maneuvers and rules first to learn how to abuse them

I’m visiting the east coast now so I have to actually wait til midnight to read the new strips. It’s terrible!

I feel so sorry for you. I’ll bet you also have to walk all the way to the fridge to get your coffee milk. Life is tough. Times is hard.

I have to wait until 1:31pm Adelaide time to view the latest comic… pity me 😛 😛 😛

*Gives you a fine chalice filled with the blood of gummi bears*

^_^

“the blood of gummi bears”?

Wouldn’t that just be syrup?

Icky indeterminate fruit-flavored syrup, yes.

Worse yet, think of our World Cup athletes who have to wait up until 2 AM local time for updates.

Are any members of Team USA DoA fans? Not being snarky (on purpose anyway) just enquiring.

Well, here the new page goes online at 6 o’clock in the morning. So I get out of bed, drink my daily litre of morning coffee and read it.

Learning rules can be fun? Huh, tell that to Tailgate.

Math, where there’s a thousands of ways to solve a problem….but you still have to follow the rules.

Your Gravatar will cause me to read all your comments as Amuro voiced by Brad Swaile.

Is that a Gouffy?

Yes, yes it is.

Almost going to call it a ZaGoofy but then I realized it’s blue so it’s no Zaku.

It woulda been better if you did.

Hey Sal, you have to know the rules to know how to avoid them.

Ya, you don’t want to end up doing the right thing now do you?

Why is Sal wasting time and money going to college if she doesn’t want to learn the rules? Lets’ see what Danny can teach her.

I get the feeling Sal is gonna be doing the teaching.

And she won’t be teaching math.

Well, you could say that Sal could give Danny a tongue lashing.

“Damn Sal, you’re riding him pretty hard don’tcha think?”

…What were we talking about?

Maybe her parents wanted her to do it? They seem to have Walky’s future already planned for him.

I have a feeling that Danny is not so good at mathematics himself, just good at calculating things, plugging numbers into ready-made formulas.

But does he understand why the formula works?

Danny is the type to sum up the numbers between 1 and 100 one by one, and never think that there might be any other way.

(While Sal would immediately say: 5000 with 99% accuracy. Show what work?)

How do you figure that?

0+100=100

1+99=100

2+98=100

47 more times, +50

5050

danny looks kinda cute in the last panel

geez, Danny sounds like the most clean cut yuppie ever in that last panel

Your avatar makes that seriously ironic.

It really does…

Aw, but calculus is great once you understand it, Willis. It’s my favourite math, and it can be really lovely.

It’s a shame that calculus is so bad for your teeth.

To race a track in Mario Kart, you have to figure out the shape of the track, how fast your kart goes, how high you can jump, what the weapons do, what planetary masses you can bank off of. Those are “rules” in the same sense that the rules of math are rules.

The rules of math aren’t edicts laid down by authorities, they’re observations made by really smart dudes 2000 years ago that were -so- astute that we can use them today to make iphones and spaceships.

I would expect if it were explained to Sal like this, it might effect the way she looks at math. I’m hoping that’s Danny’s approach, since Jason’s seemed to be NO, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG ARE YOU JUST STUPID?

People bongo about Danny, but I am apparently just discovering an untapped reserve of hate for Jason. 0_o

What a game allows you to do may go beyond what the game designers expected players to do to solve it.

There’s more to math than the “rules” that the designer of some freshman calculus problem set expected the students to use to solve it.

The “rules” aren’t the procedure to solve a particular problem, the rules are the fundamental logical relationships that define the core of mathematics. The procedure, which is I think what you’re talking about, is just a set of steps used to solve common sorts of problems, but each one of those steps has a fundamental basis that is just about the way the universe is.

I agree with you that math is based on observations. However, as a scientist (metallurgist, specifically) who’s been actively studying the molecular composition of metals for four million stellar cycles, those observations have to always reach the same conclusion. If you try to skip steps (especially if you don’t understand the process in the first place) you won’t reach the correct conclusion. In my field that often leads to ruining the metal I’m trying to synthesize, or causing a batch of engex I’m distilling to explode.

I definitely agree with your second point. Mocking someone for making an error, especially if they are unused to advanced mathematics will only turn them off the field. The same goes for any subject, whether it’s weapons engineering, melee combat, air combat superiority or using a force-field. (Sorry Trailcutter! I kid!) I’ve heard rumors that Whirl spent time as a flight/air combat instructor at the Autobot Academy. I shudder to think what his students went through, if that rumor’s true.

I don’t think you disagree with my first point, to be honest. I’m not suggesting that Sal should skip steps recklessly, that is, in fact, her -problem-. I’m saying that she needs to better understand the fundamental reason why those steps -work-. Math is built on a basis of primal truths, things that are observed about the universe. Things like the law of identity, or the distributive property of multiplication aren’t just something somebody made up, they’re fundamental observations about -reality-.

The problem I think Sal has with math is that she sees the rules as arbitrary restrictions on what she’s allowed to do. She doesn’t see them as truths, or observations, she sees them as restrictions. That’s the basic problem that needs to be addressed, in my opinion.

I definitely see math in the restrictive way that you describe Sal seeing math. I’m not aware of math rules coming from a description of the natural universe, instead it seems that math rules come from Because A Teacher Said So. Super lame.

Adding to the difficulty, my brain has made up its own intuitive but nonsensical numerical rules.

That’s precisely the problem with math as it is taught in high school, at least from my experience.

You start to break away from the boring but easy stuff (basic arithmetic/geometry) and into more challenging, abstract concepts like complex numbers, limits, integrals, differential equations and all that stuff that is fundamental to science in general, because it came from developing ways to describe and predict the world around us.

But then somehow teacher skip the part where “EVERYTHING HAS MEANING, EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED” and just have you memorize terribly boring formulas which you don’t understand and don’t care about.

Add this to the fact that unless you’ve taken up a bit of programming and/or philosophy, you end up with really poor logical reasoning / critical thinking skills, so you have trouble knowing at first glance whether something is obvious or not – making some things seem either overly complicated or completely arbitrary.

The real truth in math is that there are no rules, except the ones you decide to agree on. It just so happens that some rules are more helpful than others, even if they seem nonsensical at first : for example, i² = -1 and the associated e^(it) = cos(t) + i*sin(t) have an uncountable number of wonderful applications in every field imaginable (or imaginary).

So when you do real math, you try to find out everything you can about this weird thing you just made up (or this weird thing some other people made up), and if you’re lucky, you might derive some interesting things that help advance another field.

Things which are then presented to students, out of context, as facts that are true “because a teacher said so”, rather than naturally-arising properties of a meaningful whole.

Guess I got lucky. Even my ‘regular’ (non-Honors) geometry and trig classes had us doing geometry proofs, and deriving trig identities from sin(A+B), (though as far as I can recall, sin(A+B) was handed to us on a platter; I proved it via geometry much later in life.)

Your later examples aren’t actually “arbitrary but useful things”. It’s not like ‘i’ existed and we decided to map it to sqrt(-1); we decided to say sqrt(-1) exists and called it ‘i’, and that has various consequences. Similarly, Euler’s Formula (the e^it one) wasn’t simply made up, it was *found* via calculus and the Taylor series of e, sin, and cos: http://www.mathsisfun.com/algebra/eulers-formula.html

That’s one of the neat/mystical/creepy things about math: stuff that looks unrelated often ends up being related anyway. pi crops up in lots of places that have nothing obvious to do with circles or triangles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_formulae_involving_%CF%80

It seriously isn’t Because a Teacher Said So, though. I understand how somebody might get to thinking that way, because many math teachers, either due to time constraints, carelessness, or lack of knowledge themselves, just throw the rules at people without relating -why- they’re true. Without time to spend atually discussing it, I can only assure you that these rules come from observations about how the universe works.

“What is math” is complicated. It’s rooted in counting and measuring — how many things are there, how many days to the full moon, how much do I have, will I make money gambling — so in that sense, it’s rooted in the natural world, and this applies to pretty much all of the math you’d encounter in school without being a math major. For mathematicians, it’s often more a game of “assume these axioms, find the consequences” which could diverge heavily from anything observable, especially when infinities or arbitrary constraints are involved, though it’s also true that others often find use for such abstract maths anyway. (Physicists cottoned onto group theory, cryptographers to number theory, Einstein onto some non-Euclidean geometries, though also simply the surface of the Earth is a non-Euclidean geometry.)

There’s also a conflation between ‘math’ as in the ability to do arithmetic or more advanced calculations and ‘math’ as in the study of relationships and proofs (such as why the calculation procedures work). Then again, most math classes I’ve seen apart from grade school arithmetic or bad stats classes try to teach you both. But mathematicians are stereotypically terrible at adding up numbers, while an accountant wouldn’t be expected to be good at abstract algebra.

What you describe sounds more like physics to me than math.

Physics is just applied math.

Should we dig out the relevant xkcd?

Physics -is- math. It’s the application of mathematics to the world. Math is the user’s manual to the universe.

Without math you can’t understand physics or chemistry. Without physics you can’t understand advanced engineering, and without chemistry your understanding of metallurgy isn’t going to be more sophisticated than a rust removal technician’s. Basically, math is what made the Kimia Station run.

Math also allowed Shockwave to engineer his ores, seed them, harvest them and use them to bring about the Dark Cybertron Prophesy, nearly collapsing all of space/time into a singularity to fuel Cybertron for eternity. Math: capable of destroying the universe. Catchy slogan, right?

Very few people realize the degree to which math, physics, chemistry, archeology, history, philosophy, art, and basically every other aspect of human existance is interwoven together in an amazing tapestry.

And here we are in the twenty-first century, and we STILL have no grand unification theorum. Bah!

It’s that Copenhagen interpretation, man! They should have gone mit Bohm-mechanics, like Broglie said to, but noo! The discovery of decoherene has made the Copenhagen interpretaion as outdated as the Bohr electron model anyway. It’s a conspiracy, i tell you! A conspiracy!

That’s our fault, Giga. The universe is interconnected, we just don’t completely understand how.

Hey, we only unified electricity and magnetism like a hundred and fourty years ago, and we didn’t even -know- about he strong and weak forces back then. Quantum mechanics is less than a hundred years old. Figuring things out with our simple ape brains takes time and lots of effort.

And it’s hard to unify everything else with gravity when they’re significant at very different scales and we have 0 observational data from cases where both are at play. Quantum everything works great, general relativity works great, they don’t even have compatible axioms about the universe, but we’ve got zilch data where quantum and gravity are both significant. Thus a lot of unprovable string theory.

Out universe runs on spaghetti code?

Probably not, but as far as we can tell. As of yet.

Right, but math is not limited to physics.

What is the physical analogue to the RSA cipher, for example? Physics doesn’t use rest classes or Galois fields. Classical physics uses differnetial equations and matrices for everything; quantum physics uses Baysian statistics, same math that psychologists and SPAM filters use.

Modern physics wouldn’t be possible without math, but math is much older and more fundamental than physics.

Yes, but the fact remains that math seems to describe the way the universe behaves. The fact that the field of physics does no encompass all of mathematics only shows that there is that much more for physics to discover. There have been many areas of mathematics, after all, that were once purely theoretical, that found practical application later. Physics is our model of the universe. The blueprint to our lego castle. Math is the -blocks-.

Words fail me. That is beautiful.

Quantum uses probability amplitudes; I’m not aware of it using Bayes in standard formulations. Basic quantum uses lots of linear algebra. I’m pretty sure some sort of group theory gets used in particle physics; relativity uses odd geometries and hairy differentials.

But yeah, differential equations, linear algebra, and statistics (aka “second year core at Caltech”) will carry you through most of science (also: computer programming), while something like Banach-Tarski I hope has no real-world applications because ow my brain.

Just wanted to point out that while basic Geometry was about 2300 years ago, Algebra was roughly about 1000 years ago, Calculus was only formalized about 400 years ago, and what we call “abstract math” is only about 200 years old at most. Math rules are new and fresh!

(at least as Western Math; there were really smart Chinese mathematicians while the Greeks were still discovering fingers)

What is your take on the Ishango-bone?

I’d give HER an Ishango-bone! All night long!

(Seriously, if it WAS used to keep track of a woman’s menstruation she might find it useful. IDK)

When you go beyond the “rules” in math you are either an idiot or a genius, and sometimes both at the same time (savant). Going beyond the “rules” gave us things like calc and trig, and my personal favorite, imaginary mathematics with lots of numbers multiplied by the square root of -1 (my cheapy laptop lacks a radical key, unlike my desktop where I can use to get a radical). This particular branch of maths is useful when working with physical processes that operate at right angles to reality. It’s used frequently in design of electric motors and motor controllers.

“Math should be more like Mario kart,” no words have ever been more true than these.

I wonder what the mathematical equivalent to blue shells are.

Probably something about rounding up to the nearest #1

In first-year Calculus? That’s definitely the Power Rule. After the obligatory few weeks spent defining what Calculus even is, the Power Rule is basically an I WIN button for like 80-90% of the rest of the semester.

Power Rule is more like the lightning bolt.

Things that follow you for the whole thing and fuck you up when you notice them ?

That should represent stupid mistakes you made at the beginning of your calculation and that you only notice ten lines of awful equations later.

I think your example works better. ^_^

Show her with M&M’s!

IT IS THE ONLY WAYGoodness I hope Danny has a song about this. That is the face of a cartoon character about to teach through song.

Cut to Danny holding cane and doing soft shoe: “u dv plus v du”

Calculus the Musical is a thing

Wait, this was a calculus class they’re taking? Irony!

(gah, fail. need a preview button!)

Relevant.

And then Amber finds him with Sal and THERE ARE NO MORE RULES.

But the rules make math so incredibly easy.

…I hate when people who are good at math claim that it’s easy. Don’t be the Walky to my Sal.

Math is objectively easy, every question can be answered using the provided formula, it never changes. There’s a limited amount of variables for each question and once they’re eliminated you’re left with the only possible answer.

Now, opinionated essays, those are hard. There it’s not whether you’re right or wrong but whether you can phrase your thoughts properly and orderly enough.

Huh. If you think that “every question can be answered using the provided formula” and that it makes maths easy, we’re not doing the same kind of maths.

That can be right for basic calculus, but it quickly becomes much more complex than that.

For your info, there are mathematical problems that are proven to have no answer. And they’re not even esoteric problems in set theory : you don’t have (and will never have) a “provided formula” to solve any polynomial equation with degree 5.

And I’m not even speaking of Gödel’s theorems or indecidable problems.

It all depends on what type of intelligence you have. Those with greater mathematical ability find math easy, those with greater linguistic intelligence find essays easy.

While there probably is real variation in talent, I think it’s more helpful to think in terms of education, especially at this level. Thinking in terms of talent or intelligence tends to be self-sabotaging for anything you don’t think of yourself as talented at; thinking in terms of work, progress, growth, skill, is more productive.

I took algebra in 5th grade, calculus in 8th grade. Am I naturally smart and talented? Maybe. But I also had parents who had me doing rote memorization of the addition and times tables from a very early age, who gave me lots of books on math concepts (like Hogben’s Math for the Millions, and Gentle Art of Mathematics) (and I was the sort of kid to read them for fun), and went to a gifted school that might have done something right despite what I thought of as a slow pace; while I don’t remember the basic classes, I do remember enrichment stuff like logic problems and the Sieve of Eratosthenes. In other words, I was *steeped* in the basics, as well as more conceptual grounding. And then I had parents who responded to various clues to push me into algebra at 5th grade — most never even get the opportunity, so we can’t even know how odd I was.

Then in grad school I was tops in my Computer Theory class, and had people telling me how smart I was; maybe, but it was basically all simple math proofs, which I’d had lots of experience in, plus exposure to some of the concepts in books like Hofstadter, plus I did crazy things like read the book before lecture and starting the homework 5 days before it was due rather than the night before. (Proofs are often found in the shower, or on waking up after sleeping on a problem. IME, last-minute stress is a terrible way to do math.)

So: smarts, or education and study habits? IMO, a lot of being “good at math” could be as simple as not putting off the homework to the last minute…

I was the opposite. A supposedly logical mind that thinks laterally and can’t follow abstractly seeped in books. So basically: art student who reads everything in sight.

Concepts: fun. Concrete reasoning and puzzle-solving: fun. Mathematical representation: wut?

Those Hogben books sound really good. Must go find.

Whoops, I messed up: Hogben’s famous for _Mathematics for the Millions_, but I’ve never read that; I was given _Wonderful World of Mathematics_, much shorter, also I think out of print. _Gentle Art_ is by someone else, and I think useful overall, though I found when I gave a copy to a niece that it starts out oddly, on some very specific and weird problem, so if you pick it up you might profit by skipping the first few pages.

Raymond Smullyan is great at making engaging logic puzzles. _What is the Name of this Book_ and _To Mock a Mockingbird_, for example.

Then there’s stuff I found on my own. It’s hard to get far in school math if you’re scared of fractions or negative numbers, or unreliable in “following the procedures”. I’m fine, but I was tutoring someone once in basic fractions, and for the first time connected ‘numerator’ and ‘denominator’ to their etymologies, not just what they are mathematically.

numerator: number, enumerate; how many of something there are

denominator: name, nominate, denomination; what the name or type of something is

So 2/3 = two-thirds, literally “two things that are thirds”, like two apples. Seems obvious now but was still an ‘oh-yeah’ moment, and it might help keep someone from adding denominators: 2/3 + 4/3 = 6/3, not 6/6, same way 2 apples + 4 apples = 6 apples. And 2/3 + 4/5 is like adding 2 apples and 4 oranges, they’re different things, so you need a bigger and composite category to count both of them (in this case, fifteenths, /15)

Making fraction multiplication make sense is harder. Like Danny (probably) I was good at remembering and following rules as a kid, which helped me skate through anything that wasn’t fully explained at the time, like ‘carrying’ in multiplication and division.

I’m good at math, and I

don’tthink it’s easy. The rules don’t make math easier, theyarethe math.That’s what makes them the easy part of math.

The hard parts are

1) coming up with proofs

and

b) figuring out which facts are useful for a given problem

See, this is why I don’t hate Danny. He is the very definition of the extremist nice guy. He’s literally such a good dude that he just kinda fucks things up. Does all the wrong things for all the right reasons.

I’ve never faulted Danny for his intentions, only his tendency to live in fantasies and sheer obliviousness. He always means well, he just never explains himself properly or seems to learn the right lesson.

He’s not wrong. Any rebel looking to break the rules needs to know what the rules are, otherwise how can you be sure you aren’t accidentally conforming to society’s expectations?

Ok, I saw the comments before about how these two are starting to show chemistry and it felt to early to really refute anything, they were really just getting along well…but I’m starting to see they’re onto somethin’!

Know the rules, Know your enemy.

Is it just me or does Sal look extremely adorable in that last panel?

I had the same problem with word problems in algebra. I could figure out where the two trains would meet in my head by “walking them in” but I couldn’t write the equation for it. So I’d get the right answer every time, but since I couldn’t “show my work” I lost the majority of the points. Eventually I got the hang of it and could do it… but I hated it from then on.

“So what you’re saying to me, Sal, is that your biggest problem is an attitude problem?”

Do you actually not know calculus, Willis? (If so, why?)

Willis has had a… complicated relationship with college.

This popped into my head while reading this strip:

Amber (who’s looking at Sal and Danny talking) “I can see what’s happening.”

Amazi-Girl “What?”

Amber: “And they don’t have a clue…”

AG: “Who?”

Amber: “They’ll fall in love and here’s the bottom line: our trio’s down to two…”.

AG: “Oh.”

So now Amber has DID?

Hyper abusive father…

One part shut-in, one part super heroine (from what I’ve seen)…

Semi-Random rage and panic attacks…

Until DW shows or tells otherwise, that’s how I view Amber – DID/Multiple Personalities.

Breaking the rules without knowing them is accidental. Breaking the rules while knowing them is rebellious. You’d think she’d be aware of this.

She’s rebelling against your definition of rebellious behaviour.

Danny I like you and all, but if you keep insisting that math is easy I am going to break the fourth wall in reverse and punch you in the face.

I have to admit that I agree with Danny. Now that I’m doing more advanced maths (factorising brackets ftw!) I’m really enjoying the satisfaction of learning and applying the rules. There is a feeling of inexplicable power in mastering mathematics. Same with science, but science is more interesting, because you can see how it will help you later, if you ever decide to create life or nuclear weaponry.

Or living nuclear weaponry!

Let’s not go full on super villain here.

Never go full super villain.

What do you mean? I think if you want to be a successful supervillain, you have to really get into it.

As for living nuclear weaponry, as I’ve said before, give me so radiophillic fungi, half a ton of enriched uranium and a decent science lab and I’ll show you how it’s done.

Creating life is easy. Morons do it all the time.

Whoo boy, I know this conversation. Just replace Sal with me and Danny with my wife. She had a will of iron to put up with my constant questioning of the way things are done. The end result is just to ignore how utterly useless all of it is and fight my way through it so I can say I did it at SOME point. Not that I’ll remember any of it, but hey, I did it!

Reading it, hoo boy does it sound like Sal might have some kind of undiagnosed learning disability. I remember going through stuff like this as a kid, and it sucks to be graded low because you literally Are Not Getting why you have to do this thing.

Me too! Mine is in sequencing, undiagnosed until Junior year of college.

I am relating to Sal so much in this story-line.

If this ends in Sex I will be very disappointed. I hope Danny will stay faithful to Amber.

If Amber confronts Sal, and Danny is there, will he side with Amber? Or with Sal?

I mostly think he will side against Willis.

I wonder if it would help at all to explain to her that the rules of math weren’t invented in order to oppress people, the way that she usually thinks of “rules”. They are just natural things that arise from the way the physical world functions, like gravity or inertia. She would probably want to rebel against gravity and inertia too if you told her they are “laws”.

On the other hand, if she’s not doing a math or science major (clearly), there’s essentially no good reason that she has to learn calculus. She’ll probably barely use plain old algebra in her life.

“If you want the motorcycle to go, you have to turn the ignition key. That’s the rules.”

What is her major? Do we have any clue? And there’s more than math or science majors that would require it: engineering, medicine, accounting, business… not all of those will use it that much in the real world, to my knowledge, but it’s still part of the requirements.

And does she have any clue? She’s a month into her freshman year, after all. Math skills open the doors to majors and jobs you might not know you want. Lucrative jobs…

(At Caltech, which granted is unusual, the geology department reportedly preferred to take grad school applicants from other schools who had physics or chemistry backgrounds rather than geology ones, on the grounds that it was easier to teach a physicist geology than a non-Caltech geologist the math and physics thought to be necessary.)

I wouldn’t be surprised if she was undeclared.

It’s hard to stay off the roads when you don’t even know where they are in the first place.

Danny just described music theory and composition.

Willis what have you done

The funny thing is that math is all about getting where you want the way you wanna. There are no rules in math, there are only consequences. Cantor said: “The essence of mathematics is freedom”, and he wasn’t joking.

Unfortunately, math is often taught, by teachers who don’t understand it, as a series of “rules” which if you follow them will give you the right answer even if you don’t understand what you are doing. In this way, students will hate math and won’t really learn anything of value, but they will pass the course, and we all know that’s the important thing, right?

Word!

True story, but I got bad grades on my math tests sophomore year of high school because I did all the math in my head but didn’t show the work on paper. My uncle remembers helping me one night over this and asked me why I didn’t show the work. I simply told him “it bores me”.

So what’s it say about school when you’re required to show your work for no real reason other than to show the teacher you’re paying attention?

That it prepares you for the real world, where most people are required to do work to someone else’s specs in order to remain employed, regardless of whether it bores them or if they think there’s a better way to do it?

panel 3 reminds me of how i passed advanced geometry in 7th grade, which was forgetting most of the theorems and putting “given” for the reason when we were doing proofs. “why is this true? um. because OBVIOUSLY!” <_<

still not sure how i got an A in that class. it was at 7am, i was 13, and was late so often my teacher frequently joked about giving me half a grade since i was only present half the time. (it wasn't till the end of the year that i realized he wasn't serious; i would have accepted the C, it was only fair!)

four. panel four. i knew i should have scrolled up to make sure i was referring to the right one.

Calculus was the only subject I had trouble with in University. I have had my B.Sc. in engineering for 30 years now, haven’t used calculus once, all that painful work for nothing.

Dude. I might be misremembering but doesn’t your wife have a physics degree from Berkeley?

You’re basically missing out on four years of her life and experiences.

My wife does not have a physics degree. She studied Japanese there.

Thanks for calling me a jerk!