The Most Interesting Person in the World

quadratic equations

Posted on: January 25, 2010

x has a lot of weight on its shoulders.

Just look at that. All those numbers – a whole fraction, even (no oxymoron intended) – just sitting there, waiting for x to tell them who it is, what number it wants to be for its life.

b must feel like nobody wants it to be what it is. The first time we see b, positive or negative, it has to pretend to be what it’s not. And the second time, where even if it is negative nobody will care in two seconds, b is about to be squared off.

Do you think c likes being multiplied by a and -4? Does anybody even care?

Is -4 negative four, or is it just a 4 that’s being subtracted? (You can get back to me on this one after you’ve figured out whether the zebra is white or black with inverse stripes.)

I’m not going to touch the square root here. That’s for you to figure out on your own.

It has always struck me that everything on the right side is over 2a. Couldn’t it just be the square root over 2a? Or would the -b feel left out?

Overall, my favourite character in this equation is the plus or minus sign. It can be both. It has the time. It will sit there and wait for you to calculate each equation, it’s not going to choose for you.

Which brings us back to x. (I should point out that when I befriended this equation, I knew that x as y, and only now because wikipedia imagines it this way have I translated over everything I know about quadratic equations.)

x is meant to feel like it’s the most important thing here. Often x is what we’re all here to find out. But the truth is, x is entirely dependent on all the numbers and signs on the other side. x gets to watch through the bars of that equal sign as the other characters change from one value to another, going from average to extremely high to extremely negative within seconds, then becoming not even a whole number anymore, and x just watches it all change, having no idea what value it’s going to be tomorrow.

Poor x.

p.s. Thanks to Janet for the suggestion. To everyone: what should my next post be about?

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4 Responses to "quadratic equations"

Here’s a hug for x.

Next one: permutations.

x the letter is conflicted > crossed lines : P
x the symbol in equations is… well it’s quite happy – hope so anyhow – or rather TheY are happy… See it’s actually two spiffy 3/4 circles snuggling up to each other. And also they’re open so that adds to their growth and joy too : )
Immediately to their right is an Oreo cookie – yummm. They’ve been dunking it and licking the cookie surfaces so the cookie is quite thin… all in anticipation of the xtra deep sweet gooieness of the centre!
After that there’s a whole megillah of exciting things going on, but since this is the wonderous Lauren’s blog, and this is just my little comment, I will cease and desist at this point : ) lest burbblesnufflings sprout whence whiskers dare not tread.

Janet: Thank you for your hug. x needs it!

Motti: Mmm… Delicious…

i don’t agree with you about x in the quadratic equation. he has the easy life of a wealthy 19th century landowner.
depending on people, just waiting for their results. always take take take.

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