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.

  • Security through obscurity

    So how do you hide a password in plain sight when it doesn’t need to be particularly secret? For instance, imagine that you are using a hard-copy textbook for which the publisher also provides an online version. And the online… Read More ›

  • Static or dynamic systems

    How do we think about systems of equations (or inequalities)? I know, most of us don’t think about them at all. But teachers and students of algebra certainly do. Whether we call them systems of equations or simultaneous equations, we… Read More ›

  • Back from the show

    Just got back from the Amherst Railway Society’s annual model railroad show, which is held in…no, not Amherst…Springfield, MA. Barbara wasn’t interested in going, so Meredith accompanied me. Although she isn’t a model railroader, her interests in crafts and technology… Read More ›

  • Law and order and suicide

    Catching up on last week’s television shows with the wonders of the VCR — soon to be replaced by the greater wonders of TiVo — I just watched the excellent January 18 episode of Law & Order, Heart of Darkness…. Read More ›

  • What's in a name?

    Does the name of a course matter? At Weston High School we recently renamed our two-year college-prep precalculus sequence. The first course, taken primarily by juniors but always including a few seniors, used to be called Math 4. What does… Read More ›

  • Playing with Trains

    Currently I’m halfway through reading Playing with Trains: A Passion Beyond Scale, a memoir by Sam Posey. There’s a certain irony to the title. The word “passion” is accurate, for this book is truly about Posey’s deep enthusiasm and passion… Read More ›

  • MyLifeBits, Borges, and big ideas

    On yesterday’s episode of NPR’s Living on Earth, Steven Cherry interviewed Gordon Bell about his project at Microsoft, called MyLifeBits. Bell is in the process of recording everything in his life in digital form: Gordon Bell has captured a lifetime’s… Read More ›

  • Science, math, & engineering

    A fellow Dorchesterite, calling himself Trxckster — yes, the third letter is indeed an x, not an i — quotes visionary Alan Kay in his blog: Today, science (a concern with what is real) is mixed with mathematics (a concern… Read More ›

  • The hub of the Hub?

    Dot! Dorchester is becoming the city’s hip new destination after dark says the headline above Johnny Diaz’s big story splashed over the front page of the Living section of today’s Boston Globe. Not Landsdowne Street, not the South End, says… Read More ›

  • Calculus limericks?

    I can’t resist quoting from Rudbeckia Hirta’s post in her blog today: I have been dared by one of my colleagues to write one of the questions on my calculus exam in the form of a limerick. This is especially… Read More ›