Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monster Math- Variables and Demon Possession

A lot of people are afraid of algebra.  I think that it is because they don't know that algebra is just basic math dressed up in scary costumes. I mean, for the most part, it is just addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division-- it is just a matter of understanding how they are dressed up to understand the concepts.  But don't worry, I'm here to unmask the monsters of math for you, kinda like in that movie Van Helsing, only not so boring that you want to throw yourself off the balcony to avoid having to watch anymore.


Variables are like the Regan McNeil of algebra.  Each variable used to be a cute little number but then they made the bad choice to play with a Ouija board wherein Captain Howdy turns them into pea soup spitting letters of fear and uncertainty.  Yes, they seem scary, but basically are just a demon-possessed number masquerading as a letter.

With variables, your job is to figure out what number that letter used to be to free them of their demon.  Yup, each math problem where you are solving for a variable is a mini exorcism!

Suggested watching: The Exorcist, Jennifer's Body

Distributive Property

The distributive property in algebra can be likened to the movie Rosemary's Baby.  You take possessed numbers (aka variables) and their mates (should they have any) and spread their seed into the other numbers in the parentheses next door.  Once everyone is done with their multiplying orgy of the damned, you combine like terms into teams, that is, demon numbers combine by addition or subtraction, as do plain ole numbers who have avoided being possessed.  They are organized from most possessed to least possessed as follows:

(y+2) (y+2)

* note- this concept works with possessing aliens also!
Suggested watching: Village of the Damned, The Stuff


Factoring is the paternity test of algebra. Where did all these variables come from?  How do I get rid of them!? How did I get to be such a great lawyer even though I talk like a surfer pretending to have a southern accent? Well, let's take a look at who the parents REALLY were.
In factoring with variables, you want to get it so that you end up with the parents; the groups of entities that created the original problem.
To do this you separate out as much of the variable expression as you can.
VARIABLE EXPRESSION!?  Yes, variable expression...
15y2 would be an example of a variable expression. It means that there are 15 double possessed y's.
y+2 would also be an example of a variable expression.
Variable expressions would be the entities I was talking about above.  In the case of horror movies, it is usually just a very religious woman and the devil. In the case below, it is 5x2 and (1+4x).

5x2 + 20x3
 5x2(1 + 4x)

Suggested Watching: The Devil's Advocate, Angel Heart

Stay tuned for more monster math-- Negative Numbers and Zombies - coming soon!


  1. I think that algebra is one of the finest things that the human brain has ever created. Thank you for putting your spin on it, creative.

  2. All I read was the title of the post, then I glanced around the room and almost had a heart attack when I spotted what looked like a face peering out at me from the heap of towels I have to fold. Alas, it was only a strangely-wrinkled skin-colored towel. Not a demon.


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