This particularly afflicts Odysseus during undergrad, when the temptation is overwhelming. But even years later, a chance wind may carry that fatal song across the sea to his ears…

The Abandoned Exercise

“This proof has been left as an exercise for StackExchange.”

The Easiest Rhyming Dictionary to Create

Really, “so tautological, it’s tautological” would make a great slogan for just about anything.

“Seeing” the Fourth Dimension

“I meant a fourth SPACE dimension.”
“Careful. Make it to Dimension X and you’ll run into Krang.”

Teaching for Understanding

I think my first decade working in education has made me slightly better at explaining things, and vastly better at knowing the limits of my explanations.

Infinite Thoughts

Don’t divide 1 by 0, kids. Stay safe.

The Shortest Distance…

The pick-up-line-save is an underrated literary genre.

Since Time Immemorial

It’s funny how much stuff from undergrad I lapped up unquestioningly, and looking back now I struggle to imagine what drove my sense of intellectual need. I don’t think I was more curious then; I think I was merely curiousĀ enough, and understood my incentives.

Evil Fermi

To be fair, enough megatons of dynamite will block out the sun all by themselves, with no volcano required. But Bond villains rarely go in for simple plans.

When Am I Going to Use This? Biology Edition

Ugh. Kids today, with their rRNA. They don’t know we lived.

City on a Grid

Commenters on Facebook and Twitter pointed out that some cities do work on this principle! It sounds kinda nice honestly.

Checkered Flag Errors

Not pictured: “White Flag” errors, which make the teacher and student alike feel an overwhelming sense of surrender.

And What’s Next to Prickliness?

Thank goodness for the internet. This comic would have required a lot more brain-wracking and patience to write back in the day of paper dictionaries.

I think I found this joke more amusing than anyone else did. Which is to say, you’re all missing out! Yogurt on a quiz! How could that have happened? The mystery runs deep!

7 thoughts on “A City on a Polar Grid (and 15 other math cartoons)”

With respect to “‘Seeing’ the Fourth Dimension”, I always give my students a handy little trick which makes it very simple. Suppose that you want to visualize the fourth dimension. First, you visualize $n$-dimensional Euclidean space, then simply consider the case $n=4$. It really isn’t *that* hard.

I’m rather fond of a tweet I saw about visualising 14-dimensional space. You simply visualise 3-dimensional space and quietly whisper ‘fourteen’ to yourself.

I always thought the diamond modality meant “it is possible that…”. So maybe a black diamond means “it is _very_ possible that…”. The semantics of a double black diamond is left as an exercise for the reader.

Okay, I’m pretty sure this was wrong, but my first impression was that the student’s *score* on the quiz was yogurt. Like, they somehow contrived, possibly through a mixture of culinary science, confusion, and surrealism, all in the form of quiz responses, to make you conclude that the most reasonable grade to give them was not any kind of number but rather a kind of cultured dairy product. That is art.

With respect to “‘Seeing’ the Fourth Dimension”, I always give my students a handy little trick which makes it very simple. Suppose that you want to visualize the fourth dimension. First, you visualize $n$-dimensional Euclidean space, then simply consider the case $n=4$. It really isn’t *that* hard.

I’m rather fond of a tweet I saw about visualising 14-dimensional space. You simply visualise 3-dimensional space and quietly whisper ‘fourteen’ to yourself.

I always thought the diamond modality meant “it is possible that…”. So maybe a black diamond means “it is _very_ possible that…”. The semantics of a double black diamond is left as an exercise for the reader.

The pickup line cracked me up!

Cities on a polar grid.

They say that cities on a Cartesian grid have the feature that they are less windy.

Book covers.

This is what the book cover of a math book (differential equations, no less) is supposed to look like

But now they have artsied it up.

That cover adds $50 to the purchase price.

Well, they also replaced Linear Algebra with Chaos

Okay, I’m pretty sure this was wrong, but my first impression was that the student’s *score* on the quiz was yogurt. Like, they somehow contrived, possibly through a mixture of culinary science, confusion, and surrealism, all in the form of quiz responses, to make you conclude that the most reasonable grade to give them was not any kind of number but rather a kind of cultured dairy product. That is art.