kitchen table math, the sequel: brewhaha on the natural

Monday, July 14, 2008

brewhaha on the natural

Math is most unnatural - it is only after we understand it within its artificial axiomatic system that it seems natural. If math was so natural and could be learned in a completely natural setting we would have more mathematical geniuses out there and (at the very least) more people willing to forego maxing out their credit cards.
Brewhaha, commenting on spilt religion
John Saxon opens every one of his textbooks with an observation along these lines:
In this book we continue the study of topics from algebra and geometry and begin our study of trigonometry. Mathematics is an abstract study of the behavior and interrelationships of numbers. In Algebra 1, we found that algebra is not difficult—it is just different. Concepts that were confusing when first encountered became familiar concepts after they had been practiced for a period of weeks or months—until finally they were understood. Then further study of the same concepts caused additional understanding as totally unexpected ramifications appeared.
Didn't someone leave a similar observation from... Feynman?


Independent George said...

I think the correct spelling is 'brouhaha'.

Incidentally, 'brouhaha' is on my top-5 list of favorite words, along with 'hullabaloo', 'kerfuffle', 'tipple/tipplemeister', and 'canoodle'.

Dipsomaniac just barely misses the cut, on account of it being more clinical than obscure/archaic.

Independent George said...

In one run-on sentence:

There was much hullabaloo over the dipsomaniac mayor's recent kerfuffle, as he attempted to canoodle with a lamp post following a long night of tippling; though the initial reaction from bystanders was amusement, a brouhaha had quickly developed long before the photos appeared in Sunday's paper.

Independent George said...

Ok, I'm dumb; I didn't realize 'brewhaha' was a name. I just got excited about seeing it in print.

Catherine Johnson said...

brouhaha is an excellent word!

spelled either way