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Pocket Talk: Math and Poetry
4:04 with Dave KellamMath and Poetry: A HybridConf Pocket Talk

0:00
Well, I'm gonna talk to you about math, maths here and poetry.

0:07
Apparently the s means it's kind of futuristic or something too.

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>> [LAUGH] >> So I'm a developer, these days,

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I am also a designer and I'm also a math teacher.

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And people are like, you're a math teacher.

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First reaction I tend to get is, I suck at math.

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So, who here sucks at math, or thinks they suck at math?

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My hand is up, too.

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I got, like, 53% in calculus.

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Apparently, that's a bad number.

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So, I'm not actually gonna try to draw any correlation between these two.

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I'm just gonna present one of my favorite math problems, and

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one of my favorite poems.

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So, let's start with the math problem.

0:50
Oops. It's a problem with spiders.

0:53
So we've got Jamie and Kelly, they're spider friends.

0:55
They're hanging out on opposite sides of the wall.

0:59
They had a rough night last night.

1:01
Jamie has no idea what happened.

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He's going to go talk to Kelly, or she, could be either.

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So, what's the shortest route they could take to get there?

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Obvious solution, go down the wall, across the floor, up the opposing wall.

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Adds up to 42, also a nice number.

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Now, it's a bit of a leading question,

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that means there's a nonobvious solution as well.

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Less obvious solution, unfold the box, draw a straight line,

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here's the math part, calculate the length of the line.

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Pythagoras' theorem.

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So we unfold the box.

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Draw the line.

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We've also got some nice numbers here that make for some easy math.

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32 squared plus 24 squared equals 1600.

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Take the square root, we get 40.

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So that's a shorter route.

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And if you're like a spatially aware person,

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if you fold that box back up, you realize it's kind of a spiral.

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And even though it's the shortest route, it might not be the smartest thing to

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spiral around a room if you've had a rough night.

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>> [LAUGH] >> So, this is going way quicker

2:15
than I thought, which is good because it's only five minutes.

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On to the poetry part.

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My favorite poem is called The Waking by Theodore Roethke.

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And it's a highly structured form of poetry called a villanelle.

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It's 19 lines, so more math, I guess.

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Five tercets, which are three lines each, and a quatrain with four lines.

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The first and last line of the first verse,

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which is this one, are repeated in alternating stanzas.

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And the first and third line are also the last two lines of the poem.

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They also rhyme, slow and go.

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And one of my favorite parts of this is, you know, it's a highly structured poem.

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First thing he does, hits you with a paradox.

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I wake to sleep.

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What does that even mean?

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And he takes his waking slow.

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So if you get into the interpretation and stuff, it's kind of,

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people like to think it's about life and death and you live so eventually you die.

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And you want to kind of take that living slow, get the most you can out of it.

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I'm focusing mostly on the first and the third line.

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Also love the, I learn by going where I have to go, also kind of a paradox.

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Sort of makes sense, sort of doesn't, but you kind of get there in the end.

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And one thing I actually hadn't noticed about this until I was kind of preparing

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my slides here.

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It's really cool, it goes, I wake, I feel, I learn.

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And I think i'm gonna leave you with that.

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Nice and quick.

3:57
[APPLAUSE]
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