The Witch of Agnesi

What math teacher could resist a mystery titled The Witch of Agnesi. Of course if you’re neither a math teacher nor a mathematician, you’re probably scratching your head right now, wondering, “What is he talking about?” Well, the Witch of… Read More ›

Labyrinth of Languages

On May 5, as you will recall, I posted an article about a proposed new class for the Saturday Course, temporarily code-named Geolinguistics. Well, that course has indeed come into existence, and I am just finishing teaching it for the… Read More ›


One Saturday last month, when I walked into the Saturday Course wearing my map jacket, the director brought up the idea that I should consider teaching a geography course. I was lukewarm to that idea, primarily because I couldn’t imagine… Read More ›

Pi Day

Three days ago was Pi Day (3/14). Or maybe I should say 3.14 days ago, since that was Pi Day. Anyhow, a lot of the Weston math teachers celebrated it one way or another with our classes, and Kelly of… Read More ›

Can we have archaic and read it too?

If you are translating an archaic language into English, should your writing sound archaic? Or should it be readable? Altogether too many amateur translators think the former. One of my colleagues inadvertently provided a lovely example yesterday. In precalculus class… Read More ›

Xerox? photocopy? copy?

Yes, we know that Xerox® isn’t a verb. For years we’ve been carefully trying to say, “I photocopied this document,” instead of “I Xeroxed this document.” But now the photo- prefix seems to be disappearing. Some people are even puzzled… Read More ›

Singulars and plurals

I am catching up on reading old posts in Tenser, said the Tensor, which labels itself as “the blog of a graduate student in linguistics. It’s about language, science fiction, computers and technology, comics, anime, and other geekery.” How could… Read More ›

An obligation to vote?

Everyone knows about the 2004 decision of the Massachusetts supreme court legalizing gay marriage, and everyone knows that laws banning gay marriage have been passed in many states and are in the pipeline in others, but out-of-staters may not be… Read More ›