Math is dead.  Long live math.

Friday evening.  Lugging the end-of-term grading load has rendered me
too tired to report on the first fifty pages of Milgram’s Obedience to
.  I picked up a dusty copy from the library shelf yesterday
morning after class.  Found time to read some over coffee this
morning.  Collin’s
is helping me think about agentic shift from several different
angles. More on that sometime this weekend, I hope.

For now, I just want to share a comment Ph. made when he got home this
afternoon.  He and I have been spending late afternoons before D. gets home
from student-teaching, working on math.  The latest feat: drilling through
multiplying and dividing mixed fractions.  So today he mentioned that
they’ve started a new section–repeating decimals.  He summarized the
lesson: "you just put a line over the number to show that it keeps going

Forever?  Wha?!  We traded one of our usual banters where I act
surprised by something taught in the school.  It’s not a serious, deep, or
undercutting skepticism (usually); it’s more of a game meant to tease out the
lessons, to reinforce the in-school learning.  So I asked him what forever
means in mathematical terms.  "If you couldn’t use the overline to
show that it goes forever, when would it end?  It can’t really go on
endlessly, can it?"

Ph.: Probably not.
Me: So when do you think a repeating decimal ends?
Ph.:  When math is dead, I guess.
Me:  *nothing to say…long pause*  That’s an answer I won’t argue