Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Near Disaster Nearly Averted

A mere twenty minutes ago was the linear algebra final. In brief, he's what linear algebra entails: you do simple things like add, subtract, and multiply. But you gotta deal with a bunch of numbers at once (usually nine [because they like to use three by three matrices]). This drives me crazy. When you're dealing with all these numbers, you're bound to make a silly mistake somewhere. And good luck catching your mistake.

So there I was, trying to evaluate simple determinant, and for some reason I thought that 30*10 was equal to 40. Aurgh!!! Nothing was making any sense. I was stuck trying to solve this quadratic equation that had no solutions. And if I couldn't solve this equation, then I'd need to get the next two problems wrong, because they were based on this equation. So after many long torturous minutes of wasting precious exam time trying to solve this insoluble equation, I went of the teacher and asked him what to do. Said the wise teacher, "You've got the hard part right. Just look more carefully." (He said "got" rather than "gotten" because he's German and speaks British English.)

So I sat down and sweated some more, until the light bulb went off in my head, and I said, "Oh!!! 10*30 is not 40! It's 400!"

I resumed my scribbling but things still weren't making sense. I looked and looked for other simple mistakes, but none were to be found. The teacher saw my frantic squirming and came over to me. "You look like you're in a rut. Continue with the other problems, and get back to this one later."

"I finished all the other ones." said I, "I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I already realized that 10*30 is 400 and not 40, but the quadratic still makes no sense."

"Are you listening to what you're saying?"

The light bulb went on again! 10*30 is not 40. Nor is it 400. It's 300!

The quadratic equation suddenly became simple, and everything worked out nicely. I know I got that problem (and the ones related to it) right, but I'm still not so sure about the others. Who knows what other silly mistakes I made without realizing it? If I was nervous enough not to know that 10*30 = 300, then I could have made all sorts of silly mistakes. So I'm sitting tight, waiting for him to post the final grades.

108 comments:

  1. You made some rather silly mistakes in the editing of this post too, but we won't hold it against you.

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  2. yah i think ur missing an a before simple determinant

    nice expression of feelings that sometimes resemble aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

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  3. That’s why I hate Math.

    And programming.

    And Molecular Biology.

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  4. Wow, nice of the teacher to help. I had an excellent English teacher with a sadistic side, he just let you squirm.

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  5. Someone's gotten into TAFKAP! For the record, the only reason he changed his name was because the labels held onto the rights to his (first) name, when their association with it was lost, he reverted to his original name.

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  6. The man formerly known as the almighty editorDecember 16, 2009 at 6:53 PM

    TRS+ChayAiz: There's a reason it's former

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  7. CA: In calculus, for example, you don't have this problem as much. Because as you're working through the problem, you know what each number represents, so you'll automatically realize that 10*30 can't equal 400 or 40.

    Sara: how does one squirm during English tests? There's no one right answer that the teacher can refuse to tell you.

    Mottel: i haven't gotten into him. I just got sick of being the highway back to krenitz and couldn't come up with something new.

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  8. The perhaps instead of using the love symbol - which combines the masculine and feminine signs - you use some obscure mathematical symbol as your banner.
    From hence forth you blog shall be known as this

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. In all seriousness, most people tend to call blogs by the name of the URL - so why not call this hear place 'E Holds Forth?'

    By the way are you a fan of XKCD?

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  11. I purposely chose the url eholdsforth because it was bland and easy to spell and would allow me to change the name whenever i felt like it.

    I bumped into so xkcd stuff before, but i can't say i'm a fan.

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  12. so..wat was the desaster that was averted?
    (btw there was a line in between those two, cos they dont rhyme...)

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  13. Mottel: That banner pic is actually a shtickle torah if you look at it properly

    e: nice. How many finals did you have today? I bet I had more.

    Mottel again: I'm a fan, you?

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  14. Holy crap, our teachers aren't even allowed in the room, much less to advise us on exams. If you don't know something, you pull some heuristic argument somewhere from deep in your rectum and just hope it fills the blank space.

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  15. Nice teacher, sounds very wise and owl-like. Liking the new name. The new symbol looks like a cross.

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  16. wow i felt stress just reading this. exams are a bummer.

    interesting new name. i meant to comment on it, but u didnt write a post about it. im still puzling over it. how bout u hold a suggestion post and have ppl come up with a better name for u?

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  17. dude! your teacher frikkin' helps you??

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  18. My teachers smirk and relish their power to flunk. Then I smirk when they can't

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  19. Modeh, you certainly did have more than me. I had only one exam.

    y'all, the teacher didn't really help. He just kept on telling me that i was making a simple mistake until I realized it myself.

    I have a calculus exam in fifteen minutes, and i keep on thinking, "If I forgot 10*30 yesterday, who knows what kind of horrid mistakes I'll make today?"

    Altie: Some things aren't meant to be democratic.

    Dovid: it's not a cross.
    modeh: it's not a torah
    it's the unpronounceable symbol

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  20. What percentage of symbols are unpronounceable?

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  21. haha, very good TRS, very good

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  22. -TRS: I beg to differ. Most symbols can be pronounced - A makes an 'ahh' sound - it can be read by its names as well 'ei'. B makes a 'Bbh' sound and can be read by its name 'bee'. So too with numbers, and other symbols ( $, #, @ ).
    They all have meaning and names by which to call them.

    0(+> on the other hand, is a nonsense symbol - a stylized amalgamation of the male and female symbols . . . it's gibberish and thus can not be pronounced.

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  23. Mottel: Differ with whom, my dear boy? I opined no opinion, I merely questioned!

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  24. I differ with the idea that symbols are unpronounceable . . . Be it your answer or another's.

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  25. trs, now you're quibbling. And please don't quibble as to whether you're quibbling or not.

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  26. TRS I've been sensing some hostility coming from your direction lately. Is everything ok?

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  27. Mottel: ask not to have the dirty laundry aired in public.

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  28. Not cool. I really feel demonized by certain elements in the 'Crown Heights' underground as of late, and it's not cool! If someone has a problem with me, then have the guts to tell me already!

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  29. Crown Heights has underground? What is its mission statement?

    e, how was Calc exam?

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  30. Death to the bourgeois counter-revolutionaries!

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  31. calc exam was fine. I'm just hoping I did fine on yesterday's linear algebra exam.

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  32. In order there to be counter-revolutionaries, there has to be a Revolution first.

    On the other hand, “есть у Революции начало, нет у Революции конца.” Just like, lehavdil, OE"S.

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  33. Revolution has a beginning, but it has no end.

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  34. That once the Third Proletariat starts, there is no ending to it, until it engulfs the whole world in the flame of revolution.

    In the West, it's known as Domino Theory, although Western feelings about it were quite a bit less cheerful.

    I don't remember where the phrase is from. Also, it sounds better in Russian.

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  35. mottel may i apologize for the underground?
    all of us little boys and girls are friends

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  36. Yeah i know the feeling. I lost my A on calc 1 because i missed a minus sign while taking the derivative of a rational function. I then plugged the numerator into the quadratic formula to get the critical values, which was of course wrong. i did that more then once... I should have bought a graphing calculator. Damn.

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  37. since when do chassidishe bocherim say 'damn'?

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  38. uhu. thats kind of funny if u put it that way. is it also a 'new' thing for girls to dress not tzniusly, or guys to hang out with girls? what is the world coming to? at least dont call urself chassidish.

    i freely admit that im not chassidish., AND i got told off on my blog for ssaying a 'blasphemy'. it wasnt even a really bad word.

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  39. -Altie: Cursing amongst Lubavitcher chassidim is not a new thing - the chassidim from Nevel were known for having filthy mouths.
    What's more who said it makes one un-chassidish
    In general this belief that 'I'm fry but admit it' is lame. It doesn't work that way ...

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  40. Mottel: You think that people who who have filthy mouths can possibly be chassidish?

    Also, if it doesn't work that way, then what way does it work?

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  41. -TRS: Yes, as I said gedolei hachassidim esp. those from Nevel had filthy mouthes. R' Zalmen Moishe, R' Mendel - plenty of others . . . They all cursed. Greenglass once brought a Poilisher to the Yeshivah and the guy was shocked when he heard R' Peretz, Shimonwitz and others speaking. (The poilisher figured it must be something in Kabbalah)

    Yes TRS, the excuse that I'm not chassidish but at least I admit it is bup. Like the famous response of a chossid to a kofer, 'When you go m'lima'ale they won't just ask you why you left and that's it! They'll ask why you didn't say modeh ani and wash mayim achronim as well.'

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  42. When you're a big chassid you can curse. Until then...

    I agree that it's lame. You said, "It doesn't work that way." I asked, "In what way does it work?"

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  43. I follow the RaMBaN's shita in nivul peh. "poilesher" as you call them follow the taz. To put it that way is extremely snaggish. Normal people would say "I only curse in impolite company. Poilesher don't curse it all."

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  44. Reb Heshke - where the F*** did all the f***** seforim go?
    R Yoshke - oh their being cleaned for pesach - its the sh*** init?
    Reb Heshke - (obscene grunt) knew i shouldnt have bothered ****** to this ***** ***** place.
    (just a regular conversation in Nevel)

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  45. all respect to any real chasidim with those names...just trying to bring out a point - exactly which situations do you think they cursed?

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  46. Dowy: lol

    You know why they call it nivel peh? Because that's how they spoke in Nevel! (courtesy of le7)

    Mottel: Put it another way- can you imagine any of the Rebbeim ever cursing? I sure can't.

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  47. Chassidim from Nevel cursed? That's kinda funny.

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  48. I can't imagine the Rebbeim blogging.

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  49. I can't imagine the Rebbe on 5th avenue in Manhattan on Mivtzoyim either, but he sent his chassidim there-

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  50. Altie, just because i didn't write lol doesn't mean that i was serious. as Mottel said chassidim always cursed.

    It seems to me that some people confuse the practical meaning of chassidus for the idealistic definition of it. the ideal chasid would of course not use foul language, but he also wouldn't do many other things that are commonplace within the chasidishe community (e.g. giving a free pass for child molesters)

    And then, there is no requirement a person has to meet before he or she can identify him or herself as chassidish. anyone can, validly, claim to be chassidish even if he or she does not meet ur expectations of what a chassid is. nobody holds the patent to that tittle; its up for grabs.

    I'm chassidish. I'm NOT ex-chassidish, I AM chassidish. i went to a chassidish yeshivah, i live in a chassidishe neighborhood, and I wear a 'hit and bekitshe' shabbat. To me someone who dresses chassidish and lives among chasidim IS chassidish, even if that person is mechalel shabbat.

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  51. Ahh, we have very different definitions of "Chassidish". In Lubavitch, to be "Chasseedish" is as you describe. To be "Chassidish", there's very different criteria.

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  52. Arguing with MyselfDecember 25, 2009 at 1:26 PM

    hi e!
    I'm back

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  53. CB, I thought you were chassidic, not chassidish. Anyway, what you described is not chassidish. It's a method of becoming chassidish. But only a method. A car is a way of getting from point A to point B. But if you don't drive it to point B, it's useless.

    TRS, why not? Had Rebbe Rashab told Reb Leivik he wants his chassidim doing mivtzoim in Yekatirinoslav, the Rebbe would do it. He still wouldn't blog. Or maybe he would.

    I don't really think "chassidim always cursed" is a good excuse. Back in the day, chassidim probably didn't take a shower every day either.

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  54. CA,
    i don't really get the chasidic/chassdish/chaseedish difference. anyway, a car even if its not driven is still a car. im not going to argue with you about the definition of chassidus because, as i said, i believe there is no absolute definition. but you can't tell me not to call myself chassidish.

    "chassidim always cursed" is merely an answer to Altie's question "since when do chassidishe bocherim say 'damn'?" i don't think that it's something that needs to be excused.

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  55. Absolute definition of Chassidus is Torah of Baal Shem Tov, which had a specific nekudah. You can get to that nekudah by wearing a levush or by learning. But if you're wearing a levush and didn't get there, you just sat in the car with ignition turned on for an hour, turned it off, and said: "Job done".

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  56. I see chasidus as a distinct culture which i happen to subscribe to. I speak their language, i dress like them, i associate with them, and i think like them; I AM them. i don't see it as a mean to get somewhere, it's the end itself. we could go back and forth all day long about that, but u have to realize that ur understanding of chassidus is not the only 'correct' understanding thereof; mine is as valid as urs.

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  57. lol. to think i really did not care what you said, and started a wole thing...

    curse all the heck you want, i dont really care. but yes, even if you are a 'big chossid' i would disapporove. there is no excuse, and cursing is just low, for anyone. unless youre on fire, then its okay to say 'oh shit'. but only then.

    and mottel, i do agree with you that to say 'well im not chassidish so i can do whatever the hell i want' is not a very good excuse. i know. but anyway, god forbid, i never said i was fry, just finding the way. ya ya.

    good shabbos ppl, keep the language clean.

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  58. CA: That's why I specified 5th Avenue in Manhattan :)

    CB: Darling, you can think whatever you want, but even you must admit that there's a difference between Chagas and Chabad.

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  59. As a culture — I agree with you. As a derech in Yiddishkeit — I don't. If the culture is disconnected from a derech (on the level of a community, or for a specific individual), it's a herbarium, in my opinion.

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  60. You guy all missed the main point!

    Chassidic guy: were you trying to find maxima and minima? Even without a graphing calculator, you should be able to visualize around where the critical numbers should be.

    What school do you go to that allows you to use graphing calculators on an exam? And if they're allowed, why didn't you buy one? I bought mine for $30 on ebay.

    Lastly, you can't say "I lost my A for mistake X." There's no one mistake that can take you from 100% to 90%. It has to be a bunch of mistakes over the course of the semester.

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  61. Or you could be like a friend of my sister-in-law (cousin-in-law?) who didn’t realize that the exam is 1–3 pm, not 2–4 pm, came late and was not allowed into the room. (Actually, in her case she failed the whole course as a result of missing the final and now has to take it over again.)

    Something similar happened to my roommate (I was actually the one to wake him up, saying "Dude, don’t you have a final half an hour ago?"), and he got C+ instead of A−, decided physics is not for him and is now suing different companies as a well established attorney.

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  62. e 1) it would be true if the difference wouldn't have been between sqrt(7)/2 amd scrt(5)/2

    2) the cut off point for an A is 95% (i got an A-)

    3) on the first two exams i misplaced or forgotten a minus sign. i haven't seen yet my final but im sure that i did the same.

    and of course i wouldn't say in public which school i go to, i do try to be anonymous.

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  63. btw using a graphic calculator is no big help because unless u r able to show how you got ur answer u wont get any credit even for a correct answer

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  64. ca: izvenayus. na-angliski "story" znachet i fiction i non-fiction.

    (All those who don't understand russian: you're not missing much)

    Chassidic dude:
    1. good point
    2. good point
    3. Will you eventually see your final?

    Please. We're not gonna guess who you are just from knowing which school you go to. We probably don't have any mutual friends.

    Right, but if you know what the right answer is meant to be, it's much easier to get it.

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  65. if you really want to know email me.

    i probably will see the final.

    i agree on the last one.

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  66. sheesh. which school lets you see the finals?

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  67. e, my last post is for you. Good Shabbos.

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  68. -TRS: I never said cursing was Rebbe'ish, I never even said it was chassidish - I merely said it isn't a contradiction to one's chassidishkeit - many great chassidim cursed like sailors.
    Don't compare your blog to the Rebbe's mivtzoyim

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  69. Mottel: Find me a great chassid who approves of cursing like a sailor, and then I'll reconsider. Until then, remember what it says in the Talmud.

    Who said my blog was like the Rebbe's mivtzoyim? E's is!

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  70. I could see certain Chassidic personalities cursing, like maybe Rueven Dunim or Mendel Futerfas. But other Chassidic personalities I could never imagine them even saying shvantz, like Nissan Nemenov and Itche the masmid. I guess there are two varieties of chassidish. There's the entertaining chassidish and the beinoni chassidish.

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  71. Dunin had a mouth like a tractor driver .... Which he was.

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  72. When Itche der Masmid visited Manhattan, he looked at all the tall buildings and said: "Die ophanim takeh hoben do oytgemakht."

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  73. I take offense for all tractor drivers.

    In Russia we say "curses like a shoemaker" (and yes, there are tractors in Russia).

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  74. -CA: They say the same story when Shloime der geller saw Petersburg.

    That's because all Russians curse like Tractor Drivers - perhaps shoe makers are an even deeper darga.

    -E: All power to the mighty G-d om. Listening to across the universe?

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  75. The truth is: Russian cursing has many different levels; it's much more inventive and varied. So, while in English, there are specific words which are definitely curses and some words are just impolite to use in certain companies, in Russian it's much more of a matter of scale and context. Some words not appropriate in front of women are appropriate at a farbrengen. Some words in English that Chassidim would say, in Russian one would never say.

    Dunin was speaking with other tractor drivers; this way he made y"h much more real.

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  76. Oh. In case you were all wondering about the results of that nail-bitingly nervousness-inducing test, I got an A.

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  77. Anonymous but not a spammerSeptember 1, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    Two points:
    "Near disaster nearly averted" means that e almost averted the disaster, but didn't quite manage to avert it successfully. That does not appear to be what actually happened.

    TRS: Your bugging Mottel to tell you "what does work that way" is silly

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  78. At the time, it made sense. Come to think of it, still does.

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  79. Anonymous but not a spammerSeptember 1, 2011 at 9:55 PM

    do elaborate.

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  80. I would, but I don't know who is reading this.

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  81. Anonymous but not a spammerSeptember 1, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    then post under an alias. duh.

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  82. everyone would still know it's me. duh.

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  83. But this is the blog world. We don't mind saying things here that wouldn't say in the real world. duh.

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  84. Which overlaps very nicely with your blog world.

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  85. Thing is, my blog world and my real world also have extensive overlap.

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  86. (le7 is no longer considered part of the blog world.)

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  87. i don't understand your question?

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  88. What did her no longer being considered part of your blog world have to do with anything?

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  89. she's not part of your blog world either.

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  90. As far as I can tell, the last time the lady commented on a blog was 12/27/10.

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  91. That has nothing to do with anything- we're discussing why I can't discuss my actions on this blog, and you bring up my wife's participation in the blogosphere?

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  92. whatever. I don't care anymore.

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  93. I'll take that as a graceful admission of defeat.

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Forth shall ye all hold.