Kate Deddens Jul 11, 2018

Allow me to tell you The Fable of the Fearsome √2, a proud irrational number with an unsettlingly sinister story behind it.

Feel free to share this story with the little children whom you tuck in. Please note that this is, like any respectable fairytale, the stuff of legend. Furthermore, as is a storyteller’s prerogative, I’ve taken a few minor liberties—mostly with respect to vocabulary—in retelling the legend.

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Kate Deddens Apr 6, 2018

In my last article, “Can Mathematics be Parables?” I considered the fantastical realm of “imaginary” numbers. Now, wander with me across a terrain of numbers even more dazzlingly head-spinning . . . and even more hazardous, perhaps, to encounter.

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Kate Deddens Oct 11, 2017

Once upon a time, there were two sisters.

No, not the two step-sisters from Cinderella, although I can guess that for some of you, that’s who came to mind. Or, perhaps, if you’re like me, you thought of Austen’s Lizzy and Jane. Those sisters would be a most amiable topic to dwell on for a while.

However, the story of the two sisters I’m thinking of is told in the Bible. One sister, perhaps the elder, was Martha. The other was Mary. With their famous brother, Lazarus, these two sisters have joined the ranks of the Bible’s most well-known people.

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Kate Deddens Sep 25, 2017

Parables, somewhat open-endedly defined as “any saying or narration in which something is expressed in terms of something else” (Oxford English Dictionary, 1987), are sticky.

I’m certainly not the first to notice this nor, I’m sure, am I the first to use that word to describe them. But there’s no doubt in my mind: such “sayings” are sticky.

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Joshua Leland Jan 30, 2014

Reading is really quite mysterious. We take it for granted, but the fact that a series of scrawled symbols and shapes stained on a piece of paper can transport us into the mind of another human being is rather magical. But I've also become aware that there are different kinds of reading, or different ways of reading.

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Joshua Leland Jan 23, 2014

I've been reading in the gospel of Matthew recently, and I just went through the passages where Jesus has been using parables to teach the people. At one point Jesus' disciples ask him (I imagine in a somewhat bewildered tone) why he is speaking to the people in parables. Jesus gives a mysterious answer that I am not wise enough to understand, but he also mentions the reason he is using parables is that "seeing, they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand." 

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