On mathematical websites

A piece I wrote and is currently posted on Sylvan Cary's site: http://sites.google.com/site/sylvancary/blog/

Many, if not all, of us have found ourselves faced with a math problem that falls in that gray area within our brains where we thought we stored all of that incredibly fascinating information we learned in high school and college yet somehow we just can't access it anymore. However, thanks to new technologies and the internet, there is another ray of hope (in additional to purchasing "Trigonometry for Dummies"). Two websites. One you may never have heard of, the second - oh, you've heard of that one alright.

The first is WolframAlpha.com. This site is like the Google of numbers and data. Sure you can go to Google and type in 124 + 37 and it will do the math for you, but WolframAlpha will really solve the problem for you. Head on over and type in x+2=8. A simple equation. But click submit button (it looks just like an equals sign) and poof! - you'll be looking at the solution, the steps to solve the equation, and even a graph. And it doesn't just work for simple equations - try something a bit more difficult like y=cosx+(1/3)pi and think don't blink because as soon as you click the equals sign, there the answer will be.

It doesn't just work for mathematic equations. Type in your birthday and see what comes up. After that type ask WolframAlpha a question. Like, "What's the weather in San Diego?" Once you've picked your jaw up off of the keyboard, come back and read on.

For more information on WolframAlpha see the video embedded below - or visit the site itself.

The second site is YouTube.com. Yes, really! Go on over to YouTube and type in "solving quadratic equations" and see how many results you get. People are not just using YouTube to post videos of their cats anymore and they are really posting some useful stuff. You will have to do some sorting at times until you get to a good, reliable source, but it's worth it.

There you have it! When I'm struggling to remember a concept that's long been lost somewhere in the depths of my brain, these two sites are the first places that I visit. Enjoy!


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