'I'm always looking for the Hows and the Whys and the Whats,' said Muskrat, 'That is why I speak as I do. You've heard of Muskrat's Much-in-Little, of course?'
'No,' said the child. 'What is it?'
- The Mouse and his Child. Russell Hoban.
Go here to find out more.
Sunday, 21 April 2013
When I was a kid, I was scared of maths. To use a metaphor, it was a mysterious dark lake with a couple of bloated bodies, dead sticks, decomposing leaves, and lurid green duckweed* floating on the surface.
My teachers would smile excitedly at the beginning of each new type of maths, sit me on the ducking stool and and entice me under the surface with happily familiar words, teasingly offered bait, like 'triangle' and 'x' and 'origin'. But below the surface these words were appended to really scary new words like 'cosine' and 'calculus' and 'vector'.
When I got to university, carefully choosing geography, zoology and psychology for their presumed total lack of maths content (having gained a dismal 24% on my university bursary mathematics paper), I was confronted with not one term each year of the dreaded Statistics, but three!
But there is a happy ending to this story. The patient support of my tutors and thrice repeating the same information each year was all I needed. By the end of my fourth year, and four times three equals twelve terms of stats, I was top of my class and swimming joyfully in the crystal clear, albeit refreshingly icy, lake of maths.
Of course I have forgotten ninety percent (plus or minus three standard deviations) of all the stats I ever knew, but I am now completely unalarmed by it.
I have recently stumbled upon a short vid clip that echoes my feelings towards maths these days. So, I invite you to sit back, get a warm beverage of your choice, have the sound on, smile and plunge in, clicking on the clip below. Be not afraid. It's pretty.
* Lemnoideae spp.