# Who Remembers the Quadratic Equation?

Given a polynomial in which ax^2 + bx + c = 0, the quadratic equation, or “negative b plus or minus the square root of b squared minus 4 times a times c all divided by 2 times a” can solve for x. This formula has been seared in my brain since the 1980s. But now, apparently, there is a new way to solve for x that appeared in the most recent issue of Popular Mechanics.

The images are from the Daily Mail today.

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1. Coolidge

Anyone remember this fallacious proof? Figure out what’s wrong (copied from the web):

# 1=2: A Proof using Beginning Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

For those who haven’t figured it out — “cancelling” the (a^2-ab) figure is dividing by zero, since a=b. You can’t divide by zero.

That’s exactly right!

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .

2. Member
Arahant
@Arahant

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

3. Inactive
Ed G.
@EdG

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

I thought all math and culture came from Islam. Was I misinformed?

4. Member
Misthiocracy grudgingly
@Misthiocracy

I’m convinced that the quadratic equation was invented to discourage all but the most obsessive students from studying math.

5. Coolidge

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

I thought all math and culture came from Islam. Was I misinformed?

No.  White male, heterosexual Christian mathematicians stole it from the Arabs, who stole it from black Africans . . .

6. Coolidge

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

I thought all math and culture came from Islam. Was I misinformed?

Arabs, yes.  Islam, no.

7. Member
Misthiocracy grudgingly
@Misthiocracy

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

Do the ancient Greeks really count as “White”?

Aside: Didja know that the first people to be described as “Whites” were the pre-Roman Britons?  It’s hypothesized that it was probably a reference to the cliffs of Dover, and not a reference to skin colour.

8. Member
Misthiocracy grudgingly
@Misthiocracy

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .”

It’s true. White dudes made up that rule.

I thought all math and culture came from Islam. Was I misinformed?

Well, since this thread is about quadratic equations, it’s certainly true that “Algebra” is an Arabic word.

According to Wikipedia, folk were working on the problem as far back as 2000 B.C.  The Babylonians, Egyptians, Chinese, and Greeks all took stabs at it, and it was an Indian mathematician who provided the first explicit solution, and a Muslim mathematician who provided the first general solution and first described the method of “completing the square”.

9. Member
Arahant
@Arahant

Ed G. (View Comment):
I thought all math and culture came from Islam. Was I misinformed?

Lied to.

10. Coolidge

Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):
Do the ancient Greeks really count as “White”?

I don’t think so.  One of my friends from work has Greek ancestry and he’s got reasonably dark skin.  However, he may be lumped under “caucasian” like a lot of peoples who are clearly not Asian, American Indian, or Negroid (Can I say that?).

I have heard the term “Mediterranean” used before, but I don’t think it includes the South of France.  It’s all somewhat confusing.

11. Member
Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
@ArizonaPatriot

Anyone remember this fallacious proof? Figure out what’s wrong (copied from the web):

# 1=2: A Proof using Beginning Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

For those who haven’t figured it out — “cancelling” the (a^2-ab) figure is dividing by zero, since a=b. You can’t divide by zero.

That’s exactly right!

Although some leftist might claim, “Well, you could divide by zero if it weren’t for white, male, heterosexual Christan mathemeticians . . .

Right on, Stad, though I was committed to this particular mathematical rule before I became a Christian.

12. Member
RightAngles
@RightAngles

Misthiocracy grudgingly (View Comment):
Do the ancient Greeks really count as “White”?

I don’t think so. One of my friends from work has Greek ancestry and he’s got reasonably dark skin. However, he may be lumped under “caucasian” like a lot of peoples who are clearly not Asian, American Indian, or Negroid (Can I say that?).

I have heard the term “Mediterranean” used before, but I don’t think it includes the South of France. It’s all somewhat confusing.

On Reddit some months back, someone posted that meme with all the identical skulls labeled “white, black, straight, gay” etc. and I made the mistake of commenting that actually, anthropologists are able to tell a caucasoid skull from a negroid one (and for pete’s sake, “negro” just means “black” in other languages). I mean that is the scientific term. Or it used to be. That day I learned that nobody uses that term anymore, that I am a racist, a Nazi, and that I should kill myself, and another commenter helpfully suggested that  I educate myself to become “a better person.”

(I don’t usually like to leave a comment contradicting someone’s post, but the person who posted this was just such a sanctimonious jerk)

13. Moderator

Anyone remember this fallacious proof? Figure out what’s wrong (copied from the web):

# 1=2: A Proof using Beginning Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

And that is why division by zero is undefined and has no answer.

14. Coolidge
WalterWatchpocket
@WalterWatchpocket

Anyone remember this fallacious proof? Figure out what’s wrong (copied from the web):

# 1=2: A Proof using Beginning Algebra

The Fallacious Proof:

The flaw is that you are dividing by zero in the last step.

Thanks for taking me down memory lane,

15. Coolidge
CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
@CarolJoy

What kills me is the idea that this is “easier.” Is it really? I never thought of the quadratic equation as hard to use…

Very much agree.

Plus  I am sitting here, all like: “As long as the square of the hypoteneuse of a right triangle is still equal to the sum of the square of the two adjacent sides,” nothing else really matters.

Plus the above has been put to song: