Student: “Math is either boring or hard.”

Me: “Nothing else? It’s one or the other?”

Student: “If I get it, it’s boring, otherwise it’s hard.”

Me: “Nothing else? It’s one or the other?”

Student: “If I get it, it’s boring, otherwise it’s hard.”

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You’re killing me with the classroom dialogue, Dan. Priceless stuff.

You’re just homesick.

I quoted this exchange in a talk a couple days ago. It’s taken me awhile to make sense of it but I think I have it now:

We chop problems up into mealy, mushy little bits. They’re easily digested and they lead to a final bit that (often) requires the trivial evaluation of a formula. If you know that formula, the problem is suddenly trivial and “boring.” If you don’t know that formula and you have no hope of developing it on your own, the problem is “hard.”

Boring or hard.

Thanks, Dan – mealy & mushy. Ick. That’s it exactly.

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