The Most Interesting Person in the World

The law of sines

Posted on: January 24, 2010

Once there was a planet called Sines. It was way out in an atmosphere so far away that you couldn’t throw a rock at it. It was filled with people.

The people of Sines were always sad. They talked *like this* (read that with a droop in your voice.) They were sad because of this one law, this crazy, sad law, that kept their shoulders hanging and their hair falling flat.

This is the law of Sines: When you walk, you must always have your left foot forward. You may not think that this would cause sadness, but oh yes, it does. Those people were dancing around when they walked, trying so hard not to put their right foot ahead that it caused a burning sensation in their ankles. They screamed when they walked sometimes, but a sad, rather than an angry scream. (Is that even possible? I’m going to pause here to let you try that.)

One day, the sun just opened up. There was a self-help author who wrote a book called “Smash the Solid State… And Love Yourself.” It was about anarchy, but in a namby-pamby way. It encouraged people to break the law, but stopped short of encouraging them to bomb factories.

One curious little Sinesian tried walking while keeping his right foot ahead. At first he was scared, but by the time he got to the corner store, he noticed that nobody else had noticed. Eventually he learned to alternate between feet, but this was already a big deal, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The quiet rebellion had started. All across the planet, people were walking any which-way and that. They came up with walks even we couldn’t come up with – nor would Monty Python. They walked upside down. They walked while carrying cakes. They hopped. Their feet sang. They did lots of other things I can’t even think up – but I’m sure you can, if you let your imagination open up.

Today on the planet of Sines, they still have a law about how to walk. But nobody follows it. And you know what? They walk much more creatively than us Earthians, who do not have such a law.

p.s. Thank you Janet for your suggestion. And yes, I know that sines and cosines are a trigonometrical concept, but this is creative writing here. Anyway, I’m sure the law of sines regulates how equations can walk.

p.p.s. I have an interview next week for a position teaching math. Can someone please send me to a good website or source for practicing super-tricky math concepts in a fun way, to help me brush up? Thanks.

p.p.p.s. Next suggestion, please!

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1 Response to "The law of sines"

Lauren, I really enjoyed that. How about quadratic equations?

Try this website: http://mathworld.wolfram.com

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