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.

  • No Pi Day?

    This is the first time in 26 years that I haven’t been able to observe a weekday Pi Day with any of my classes. Sigh. But there are plenty of online resources for my past, present, and future students.

  • Weston’s 17th Fractal Fair

    I returned to Weston yesterday for its 17th annual Fractal Fair. That’s a lot of fractal fairs! As you might expect for a subject that keeps evolving every year, with an entirely new set of exhibitors every year, the fair… Read More ›

  • Ingrid Thoft

    No, “Identity Theft” is not the title of this book — though you can readily see why Barbara thought so when she glanced quickly at the cover. Identity is Ingrid Thoft’s second novel. In some ways it’s in the tradition… Read More ›

  • Old authors never die…

    Lawrence Block’s latest novella, A Time to Scatter Stones, and one of Ruth Rendell’s last novels, The Monster in the Box, have something in common — a couple of things, in fact. It’s no coincidence that both books were written late in… Read More ›

  • The top universities for linguistics?

    Are these really the top universities for linguistics? That’s what the QS World University Rankings by Subject says. I’ve been skeptical of lists like this as I watched high-school ratings over two decades from publications like Boston Magazine and U.S. News, paying special attention… Read More ›

  • Bay State Model Railroad Museum Spring Model Train Show

    Wow! Look at that title: a noun phrase consisting of nine consecutive nouns! Maybe the show should be called Buchtstaatsmodelleisenbahnmuseumsfrühlingsmodellzugshow. On second thought, maybe not. OK, enough fooling around with German. Let’s get back to the show itself, which was… Read More ›

  • Happy Exelauno Day!

    Schools in this entire area (not just Roxbury Latin!) are closed today in honor of Ἐξελαύνω (Exelauno) Day. Or maybe there’s some other reason.  

  • How many Tater Tots? — the answer!

    Yesterday I posted this problem: Great Fermi problem that I just heard on the Ask Me Another quiz show on NPR: Estimate how many Tater Tots were consumed in the U.S. during all of 2017. The answer (from CBS News)… Read More ›

  • How many Tater Tots?

    Great Fermi problem that I just heard on the Ask Me Another quiz show on NPR: Estimate how many Tater Tots were consumed in the U.S. during all of 2017. Correct answer will be posted in this space tomorrow.

  • Boston Chops

    Apparently, Boston restaurateurs are supposed to be named Chris. The chef/owner of Ashmont Grill, our favorite every-day local restaurant — well, more like twice a month, but who’s counting? — is Dorchester neighbor Chris Douglass. Then, for my birthday dinner… Read More ›