My weblog ELECTRON BLUE, which concentrated on science and mathematics, ran from 2004-2008. It is no longer being updated. My current blog, which is more art-related, is here.

Fri, 11 Mar, 2005

Basic Technical Mathematics With Agave Worm

I've done a lot of vector problems, and will do a fair number more. But I think I've pretty much gotten the idea of it, deconstructing the different quantities and directions that describe force and velocity and other vectorized entities. When I've done enough problems so that it is almost automatic, then I will declare vectory and go on to something else. "Physics Made Easy" wants to teach me momentum, fluids and density, orbits, torque, pulleys, and work, though not in that order. One thing that mystifies me about classical mechanics is that it seems that it is composed of many different sectors of different sizes, each with its own set of problems. But these sectors don't follow one after another, like the chapters of a narrative. They all fit together under Newton's roof, but it seems that you can visit one room after another in any order you want. This confusion is probably because I am doing this on my own, rather than in a class where the schedule is what the teacher says it is.

The text I am using with the best section on vectors is a big thick old college text called BASIC TECHNICAL MATHEMATICS WITH CALCULUS, Fourth Edition, by Allyn J. Washington. (No text-writer's name can beat the co-author of my Geometry text, "Phares O'Daffer.") I found this book on the overloaded shelf of some friends of mine, a heavy, dust-collecting clunker left over from college days, and they were only too glad to give it to me. "Basic" covers the algebra I studied in years one and two, as well as much of the trigonometry I struggled with in year four. It is very useful for reviewing material. The calculus begins well into the book, on page 646.

The title of this book reminds me of some sort of food or drink combination, in which something simple has something extra added to it. Kind of like tomato juice with clam flavor added, or tortilla chips with chili and lime. Or, to continue the Southwestern theme, tequila with agave worm. I am not a tequila drinker, but I have seen plenty of ads for tequila which claim that there is a worm in the bottle. Here is the official word on the worm in the tequila bottle. You have to scroll down a bit to "Tequila Myth #1" to find the worm. In the case of "Basic Technical Mathematics," calculus is a big worm.

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