Friday, October 11, 2013

X, Y, and Everything in Between

I've been giving a lot of consideration to X and Y recently, as I'm sure many of you have. And, I don't mean to brag, but I am something of an expert on these matters, and I totally do mean to brag. Since I'm such a respected authority of the field, I'm sure that many have been waiting to hear what I have to say. Well, fear not, my flock, for it is now by my immeasurable grace that you shall find yourself unnerved by how much I sound like some kind of creepy cultist. And so, without further ado, I will now start talking about math. Because, you know, variables.

Really? Sorry, doesn't ring any bells

But before that, I'd like to talk about arithmetic. Now, you may be wondering why I just slyly implied that arithmetic isn't math. It's because I don't believe that arithmetic is math. Well, not Real math, anyway. Saying that arithmetic is real math is like saying that singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees,  and Toes" is practicing medicine, or getting in a playground argument is practicing law, or that I ever practice the clarinet: Hilarious. And yet, despite how trivial and elementary arithmetic is, people still manage to mess it up, and the only proper response is to get really angry and tell everyone how wrong they are. Like so:

It's about to get pretty mad in here. Viewer discretion is advised.

 Yes, of course, I'm talking about one of these stupid goddamn PEMDAS things that you always see on Facebook. When I saw this, my first instinct as a math major was find some clever math way to turn this into something it clearly wasn't meant to be. (Well, 3x3 is clearly 0, because any vector crossed with itself is 0, HAHAHAHAHA I know things you don't) My second instinct, as an internet man, was to look at the comments, and feast on the bountiful harvest of rage laid out before me. Naturally, there were plenty of people getting 18, because the American education system has failed them, Big Government, Idiocracy, ect. Some even had the audacity strain the bonds of their shackles of ignorance, and accuse us, the Knights of the Twelve, of incorrectness. And while the foolishness of a fool too foolish to realize his own foolishness is sad indeed, it is no cause for mourning. Neither grief nor rage can bring them to the light, so steeped their souls are in darkness. They reside in a place from which there can be no return. The Lost Zone, I guess.

But it is not these, who have forgotten that which has been taught to them, who have me dismayed. It is those who remember the vile lies they have been taught, striking out against the light of truth, and thinking themselves agents of justice for it. It is The Cult of Six who are a truly pitiable lot. They are the fundamentalists of the Church of PEMDAS, taking its word for how it is stated, rather than for how it is meant.

PEMDAS, for those of you who have probably been very confused for a while now, is a mnemonic for remembering the order in which mathematical operations occur in a mathematical expression. It stands for Parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction. So if you have some mathematical expresion, operations in parentheses are evaluated first, then exponents, then instances of multiplication and division, then instances of addition and subtraction. Some common mnemonics for PEMDAS are “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” (The boring one that everyone knows), “People Expect More Drugs And Sex” (Randall Munroe, of XKCD fame), and “Passing Egregiously Makes Dunking Awesomely Satisfying” (A Havoc Mantis Original).

So if, for example, you have the expression 2*(9+1)-3^2+20/5, you would first do the addition in the parentheses to get 2*10-3^2+20/5. Then, square the 3 to get 2*10-9+20/5. Perform multiplication and division to get 20-9+4. And from there, the answer is clear as day, right? Of course! The answer, as can be clearly seen, is 7. Because in PEMDAS, subtraction comes after addition, so you add to get 20-13, which is 7.

Remember this? This is what you should look like right now.

If you are nodding your head in agreement, or thinking to yourself, "Well, gee-wiz, that Havoc sure is correct. Only a devastatingly witty and powerfully sexy person would be able to type something so correct at 3:30 in the morning." then I am terribly sorry to inform you that you are wrong. Well, not about the part where you lavished me with compliments, but the part where I was right. You see, I was actually pretending to be wrong. The real answer is 15. Also, the cameras that you use to keep constant surveillance on me must never have sprung forward, because it's actually 4:30. It's no big deal, since Daylight Savings Time changes back pretty soon, but I just thought I'd let you know.

I guess the point that I'm trying to get at is that in PEMDAS, addition and subtraction happen at the same time. There are those who have been deceived, and would let you be deceived, given the chance. They say that subtraction happens afterwards, and I have taken it upon myself to tell them that they are wrong, and endeavor to guide them to the path of righteousness. It's over there, guys.

The path of righteousness is your weapon in the zombie apocalypse. How screwed are you?

If it helps, just remember that subtracting a number is the same as adding that number times -1. The multiplication goes before the addition, and then you add the negative number the same way as you add any other number, going left to right. Division can be thought of the same way, as multiplying a number that is taken to the power of -1. Are we all on the same page here? Can I stop bitching about this? Awesome.

Well, remember when I said that I was going to talk about math, but first I'd talk about arithmetic? Well I only said that so I could make those jokes, because I don't think there's any actual math I can talk about without talking over everyone's heads, while simultaneously being funny or enjoyable in any way. Unless you want to play cross-product tic-tac-toe? (You do not want to play cross-product tic-tac-toe)

Having exhausted math, I suppose I'll see if I can undash your hopes and talk about Pokemon, as I kind of promised in the beginning. I don't really want to spoil too many things, for my readers or myself, so I'll avoid talking about too many Pokemon, but there are some issues that need to be addressed.

"Issue" may be a bit of an understatement

Now, for those of you who aren't already in the know, would you care to guess what this thing is? Well, yes, I agree that it is an "abomination", but I was hoping for something a little more specific. An alien? Not quite. The shattered fragment of an orphan's forgotten childhood? Almost. I'll give you its name: Espurr. That's right, this thing is supposed to be a cat. The real problem with this Pokemon is its waste of one of the greatest names in Pokemon, made only better by how much it sounds like something out of Virtue's Last Reward, what with its abundance of cat puns, but no other reason, because of spoilers. I cannot identify a single trait of its appearance that indicates that it is a cat. I'm told that apparently its ears have something to do with it? What about the fact that it clearly seems to have 6 legs? Or its eyes, which are more unbalanced than psychic type in 1st gen? Or its rippling chest hair, reminiscent of a friend I've decided to refer to as "Baja Blast"? Perhaps I should just move on to the next Pokemon.
When I said that I was typing at 4:30 in the morning, this was the reason I couldn't sleep.
This Pokemon is the dusk that draws the sanity of mortal men to its end. It is beautiful in Its terror, and It is terrible in Its beauty. It makes Its home outside the scope of humanity, far removed from that which has been crafted by human hands, and far removed from that which has been imagined by human minds. It is removed from the trappings of human description. It labors not for good or evil, for order or chaos, for hope or despair. Its song is sung in languages that cannot be understood. That must not be understood. To gaze upon It is to feel that a piece of you has gone missing, yet know that it was not taken. This void within you has existed since the beginning. It has only made you Aware. It is a perfect contradiction, embodying that which It is not, giving form to what could never be. It is the weight that must exist to counterbalance the laws of an ordered universe. It is the knower of all that cannot be known. It is that which existed Before, and that which will exist After. It is too fearsome to be feared, too lovely to be loved, and too powerful to be stopped. It hates not, it loves not, it feels not, it does not. It is. 

Gal Bursten it.

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