Answer of the week and algebra

Last week I asked:

a) Consider the expression 2/x. Can you make 2/x to be any number (any real number), if you just choose the right x?

Answer is NO. You cannot make 2/x to be zero. You CAN make it to be any other real number though.

b) Same for the equation x2 = a. Again the answer is NO. If a is any negative number, then you can't find such x.

Those were kind of little thinking (or maybe just remembering) exercises in algebra.

This week's question is:

Is algebra a needful subject to study in school?

Get started by reading Mr. Richard Cohen post where he emphatically argues that you shouldn't need algebra to graduate from high school.

He uses interesting arguments to prove his point, such as:
a) he has lived his life without needing (using) algebra (so you don't need it either)
b) algebra doesn't teach reasoning because some math whiz in his algebra class years ago could not remember where Sahara desert was
c) most of math can be done with a calculator
d) some people experience trembling and fear when a teacher calls them to blackboard

Oh, it almost looks like to me that Richard doesn't want to use logical arguments in his column.

The blogosphere has had plenty of people angry at him and his reasoning - and they've written some good points about algebra. So please go read some of these - especially if you DO feel that algebra is useless/unnecessary:

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