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.

  • Dare Me and Exit, Pursued by a Bear

    “Exit, Pursued by a Bear.” Hmmm… where have I heard that before? It sounded like a Shakespearean stage direction, and it seemed familiar, but I couldn’t place it… so of course I looked it up. I’ll save you the trouble: it’s… Read More ›

  • Bullying Three Ways

    I originally started drafting this post well before last night’s presidential debate and the follow-up by Van Jones, but these events have slightly rearranged what I need to say. This thread actually started on September 27 with four talks (to different… Read More ›

  • Too Like the Lightning

    It’s definitely necessary to avoid spoilers on this one. Ada Palmer’s dark novel, Too Like the Lightning, is partly fantasy, mostly science fiction, and completely fascinating. Oh, did I mention philosophy? It’s clearly a work of philosophy as well. And sociology/anthropology. And a… Read More ›

  • For the win!

    What a great start for the Weston High School Math Team! In our first Massachusetts Math League meet of the year, our goal was a simple one: to beat Canton. Simple, but definitely not easy, as it almost never happens. And beat Canton… Read More ›

  • Station Eleven

    Is Station Eleven a post-apocalyptic survival novel? Well, yes, in a way. Is it science fiction? Well, yes, in a way. But it’s not really either of these. In a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards, Canadian author Emily St. John Mandel has… Read More ›

  • My Stroke of Insight

    What a promising book! My Stroke of Insight is an initially interesting but ultimately irritating work of non-fiction by Jill Bolte Taylor; I listened to the audiobook version, narrated by the author herself. The promise is that Dr. Taylor, a brain scientist… Read More ›

  • Desmos Redux

    We had a productive workshop today, identifying and developing materials for using Desmos — primarily, but not exclusively, in Algebra 2 and Precalc 2.  There are at least two different ways to use Desmos: as a graphing calculator that’s much better than… Read More ›

  • I’ll Have What Phil’s Having

    Completely inadvertently, I ended up watching two episodes of I’ll Have What Phil’s Having last night. I had never even heard of the show before, but it instantly hooked me when I saw the shot of the piazza in Panicale, a small hilltown (half… Read More ›

  • Lingo: Around Europe in sixty languages

     An informal and totally unscientific poll tells me that most people don’t realize that there are 60 languages in Europe; they are certainly surprised to hear that actually there are considerably more than 60. Dutch linguist Gaston Dorren has written a slightly flawed… Read More ›

  • Dark Matter

    “Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.” Right? This definition, as I’m sure you know ☺, is the opening sentence of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, a great work that I read at least twice, beginning back in college and then again… Read More ›