WRITING 131: WHY PEOPLE DON’T LIKE MATH, 1

Math is everywhere. From the first sound in the morning  (alarm) till the last touch at night (electric toothbrush), hardly a day goes by without math’s touch. Indeed, math powers all kinds of gadgets,  from cell phone,  to TV, car, train,  and computer; it also dictates how modern society carries out daily activities, from sales, trading, auction, forecasting, to sports (Moneyball). Indeed, if we put a label “Math Inside” on everything that uses math, we would be amazed by its ubiquity.

Its might aside, math is also genuinely beautiful. Like writing, math values simplicity, coherence, consistency, and precision. Often more so than writing. For example, my favorite symbol, the integral \displaystyle \int, is just visually gorgeous. It is also extremely powerful to express all sorts of relationships—e.g., between speed and distance, between density and mass, between stock and flow. It does so by capturing their common core in such a simple, unified, elegant way:

\displaystyle F(x ) = F(a ) + \int_a^x f(t ) dt.

Despite its ubiquity and beauty, people seem to dislike math. Few joke about their deficiency in literature or music, but many are eager to admit their illiteracy of math.

Why?

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DAY 131, 10PTS, 1.26

[ROUTINE]
RUN: 11MIN, 9MPH, 1.6MILES;
SWIM: 20R;
LEARN: LUENBERGER, 1HR;
WST: 1HR;

[DISCIPLINE]
CLEAN UP ELECTRONICS, 2HRS;

[HAPPY MOMENT]
LEARN HOW TO USE ZIP BAGS TO ORGANIZE STUFF;

2016-01-26 04.56.57