Article of the Day: Negative Numbers Elucidated

Maybe you don’t think about multiplying negative numbers because you are no longer in high school.  Lamentably, I do.  I teach high schoolers the finer aspects of the ACT and SAT, so negative numbers (along with square roots, the Pythagorean Theorem, and the circumference of a circle) are my purview.

I expect my students to grasp the concepts and not push the logic — why would two negative numbers multiplied by each other equal a positive?  But now I don’t have to avoid these logical discussions (I pass off why 1 isn’t a prime number with “look it up on Wikipedia”) anymore.  Read, and enjoy, as I did, the blog post “The Enemy of My Enemy” in yesterday’s NYT and behold the logic of mathematics, international relations alliances, and unbalanced triangles.  It’s actually fun and helpful.


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