Author Archives

I am entering my 21st year as a math teacher at Weston High School, the sole public high school in Weston, MA. It’s also my 44th year as a teacher altogether. In addition to my day job, I taught for 20 years at the Saturday Course in Milton, MA. I also teach at Harvard’s Crimson Summer Academy each summer; 2017 was our 14th consecutive summer.

Sometimes I work on educational software. I also read, cook, and continue building my model railroad whenever I can. For some reason I'm left with less so-called free time than would be ideal. Nevertheless, I manage to devote time to my wife, Barbara, and to our excessive number of cats as well.

  • Five ways to engage reluctant learners

    One of my favorite bloggers, John Spencer, wrote a post a year ago on how to engage reluctant learners. But let me first quote the hook, his opening paragraphs: I am currently on my fifth solid day of doing things that… Read More ›

  • Snow Crash

    The time came to re-read Snow Crash. I had first read Neal Stephenson’s seminal science fiction novel when it came out in 1992, and then again at the end of the millennium, which seemed appropriate. Now, to celebrate its 25th… Read More ›

  • Restaurants in the southern part of Dorchester

    In the last year or two the southern part of Dorchester has been blessed with a large influx of new restaurants. Here are some capsule comments on ten of them (yes, ten! — and there are more) in alphabetical order:… Read More ›

  • The Industry

    “The Industry”? Is that a restaurant? Yes, indeed; it’s Dorchester’s newest restaurant. Barbara and I decided to try it out last night. All in all — two thumbs up. Fortunately they have valet parking (in the gas station across the… Read More ›

  • PhDeath: The Puzzler Murders

    How could I resist? Word puzzles, a murder at NYU, some math, a dash of ancient Greek, political intrigue, faculty politics, philosophy, social commentary, and even Will Shortz… obviously irresistible. So I didn’t resist it. The result of all these… Read More ›

  • Peer tutoring

    Who likes peer tutoring? Google “peer tutoring” and you’ll see dozens of upbeat images like this one. The Math Curmudgeon, who usually hits the nail on the head, certainly hits the nail on the head in the opening to his… Read More ›

  • Mansplaining

    I have to share this cartoon (by Arnold Zwicky), but I’m not going to explain it:

  • 3D pens?

    Who’d a thunk it? Is there really such a thing as a 3D pen? Can you really write in the air? It all sounds very science-fictional. But 40 years ago 3D printers seemed science-fictional, and yet they were invented soon… Read More ›

  • Whence significant figures?

    Significant digits can arise out of less significant data, right? For instance, you probably learned in ninth-grade science that a number rounded to one significant figure can be magically turned into one with three significant figures simply by changing measurement… Read More ›

  • Chinatown or Mission Hill?

    Every year, the rising high-school sophomores at the Crimson Summer Academy take a field trip to a Boston neighborhood as part of their Quantitative Reasoning class. “What,” you may ask, “does a field trip to a neighborhood have to do… Read More ›