### more about bullshit commitments

a (pretty commonplace) math-ed

BC nurtured by me at various times:

“never memorize what can instead

be calculated out from first

principles.”

(particular examples:

*the quadratic formula

i’ve elaborated somewhere

in here.

*values of trig functions

[for “basic” angles (i.e.,

\pi times 0, 1/6, 1/4, 1/3, & 1/2)];

i now (mildly) urge beginners to develop

a routine of *charting* these

values for the “sin” function

when faced with several exercises

calling for trig calculations.

the other charts are easily

devloped as needed from there.

but heck, i’d’ve just done better

myself to admit that sin(\pi/6) = 1/2

is a *darn useful thing to know*

even without drawing some big ol’

equalateral triangle in my mind’s

eye every time just to “see” it.

*various “infinite series”

like e^x = 1 + 1/[1!]x + 1/[2!]x^2 + 1/[3!]x^3…

[one is utterly puzzled at some point

about how integrating-the-recipocal

can have such easy-&-useful tricks

associated to it; too many unfamiliar

notations (or unfamiliar properties

of [somewhat] *familiar* notations)

are floating around. one is waiting

for the “aha” when “differentiates

to itself” will be able to work itself

out *vividly*… anyhow, it’s nice

a nice simple *target* set up for

certain suchlike gropings-in-the-dark…]

*many others

)

but, of course, “figuring out from first

principles” is *hugely important* and

widely under-rated in the imagination

of our typical students… so, just

rephrase it as “*seldom* memorize…”

and you’ve got a *winning attitute*

rather than a BC.

it’s that *totalizing* thing: “never”.

again: “accentuate the positive”

is a winning attitude (dammit).

but “eliminate the negative” is

a bullshit commitment

(as is “don’t mess with mister

in-between”, i suppose).

it’s just no use *talking* with a

hardened hear-no, see-no, speak-no

evilist. or anybody else that already

knows the answer before the question

arises. be it jesus or allah or

more teachers or younger teachers

or more training (or less) or acceptance is

the answer to all my problems today.

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