I’ve met each class twice with no major snafus.

I didn’t have the book for 130 until after class yesterday so I did the “Linear Inequalites” section (1.2) before the “Applications of Equations” (1.1)—it’s a whole lot easier making up inequalities off the top of my head (that’re essentially the same as the exercises) than it’d be to make up “applications” (i.e., word problems). Now that I’ve got the book, I discover that there’s a boxed-off “definition” to this effect.

An inequality is a statement that one number is less than another number.
This isn’t just wrong or even just obviously wrong: the silly son-of-a-bitches know it’s wrong: the line before this box says “The next definition is stated in terms of the less-than relation (<), but it applies also to the other relations (>, ≤, ≥).”.

How is this anything but worse-than-useless to anyone? I’m more or less convinced as of right now that I’d’ve given a worse lecture yesterday if I had’ve had the book—I’d very likely have felt obliged to do some version of this rant right there and students are already pretty weirded-out on the first day of class without the instructor going off on some random angry tirade.

It may be even more to the point to mention that the “Rules for Inequalities” that follow could hardly be presented in a more confusing style: the heart of the matter (“change direction when you change signs”) is given using esoteric terminology (and also in code) and appears third in a list of Rules mostly having nothing to do with working out the actual exercises. The first thing I’d do if I had a free hand is throw out this book.


  1. Yeeks, I’m confused this fall. I thought you retired?

    I guess I’ll take back my jealous, sneering thoughts.

    Good luck to all of us.


  2. Anonymous

    i’ll retire for real… who knows, maybe soon…
    when i quit *knowing for sure*
    that “the book”… or the *industry*…
    is *doing it wrong*.

    “o curs\`ed spite… that ever i was
    born to put it right.”

    jealous thoughts? first-year grad-school.
    real analysis. abstract algebra. life-altering.

    good luck to all of us. OT

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