Updated: Tue, 27-Dec-2011 1:00 PM The index at stevengrindle.com (I teach/tutor math and develop web sites/pages)

Contact information: StevenGrindle@msn.com

Light BulbA semiconductor (in the world of computers) is silicon with carefully controlled trace amounts of phosphorous (n-type semiconductor) or boron (p-type semiconductor). Semiconductors have electronic properties between that of conductors and insulators. When layers of conductors, insulators and semiconductors are sandwiched together properly they form transistors that can be arrayed together to form logic gates which allow computer chips to function.



You will get a quiz on this next week. Make sure you get all the 6's and 0's in the right place in the right order. :)

English is a language

Humpty appears in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, where he discusses semantics and pragmatics with Alice.

Cheshire Cat"I don't know what you mean by 'glory,'" Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't – till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!'"

"But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument,'" Alice objected.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less."

"The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean different things."

"The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master – that's all."

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.

"They've a temper, some of them – particularly verbs, they're the proudest – adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs – however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"

lamp decorationMusing about words..

There are 24 unique sequences of four distinct words.

For instance, the four words, "What's", "on", "your", "mind" can be arranged 24 different ways.

My favorite sequences are:

  1. What's on your mind?
  2. What's your mind on?
  3. On what's your mind?
  4. On your what's mind?
  5. Your on what's mind?
  6. Mind on your what's?


Amazing Grace
John Newton (1725–1807)

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost but now I'm found, was blind but now I see.

Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved,
how precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;
tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we've no less days to sing God's praise than when we'd first begun.

Andromeda Galaxy"I don't feel frightened by not knowing things, by being lost in a mysterious universe without having any purpose - which is the way it really is so far as I can tell - it does not frighten me"

Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out

A sucker is born every minute (quotes from scam letters I received)

cross-eyed face"As the former official/personal attorney of the deceased and witness of fact of this subject matter, I hereby solicit for your immediate response and positive committed efforts to facilitate the fund remittal of total sum $12.5 million into your bank account in your country."

Easter Bunny"This delivery is urgent and once we receive your reply we will start processing all the relevant documents that will empower the diplomat to successfully make delivery of your consignment without interference of any law enforcement agents in your country."

picture of a real person who is not the sender of the email"Hello Good Day how are you doing and how was your day been today so far hope all is well with you if so glory be to the almighty. i am single never been married i don't have any kids but i love kids a lot i am new on facebook i just register it and i was here, I search only for serious attitudes for the future family. I do not wish to play game with feelings. And heart of any man I wish to meet the real man full of love and adjusted on long home life. I shall hope very much, who knows who may be the lucky guy, cause your profile seem cool and i do love your pictures as well i would love to get to know you more better and see what we have in common you can view my profile if you like it you can get back to me or add me on my email account i don't check here that much that is the reason why i would Love to communicate with you on IM for better communication hope to read from you soon and i hope you add me soon as well take care."

Original stuff

When my high school geometry teacher showed me how to bisect an angle using only a compass and straight edge, I was thrilled.

One day he pointed to the corner of the room where the floor and two walls intersected at a single point. From that point he showed how any other point in space could uniquely be defined with just three numbers. I was in awe of the power of numbers. Yes some of us actually love mathematics. Mathematics has been a part of my life and career ever since.

crescent moonNo fiction is more thrilling than the truth of a circle.

No fantasy is more fulfilling than witnessing the arc of the moon.

No land is more stable than a triangle.

No ocean is more plentiful than the sea of integers.

No universe is more spacious than the infinities of numbers.

No court is more just than the square root of two.

Not just for fun do we seek the natural philosophy of being.


Even though I cannot measure all the fish in Lake Champlain and compute the mean length of ALL the fish in Lake Champlain, if I take a random sample of the fish and compute the mean of the sample, I will have an unbiased estimate of the mean length of all the fish.

Time was...

40 years ago there were no personal computers, 30 years ago there was no significant internet, 20 years ago there were few cell phones and 10 years ago I had a much higher paying job than I do now.

HourglassThe semiconductor industry was an exciting place to work for 20 years. I sometimes joke that "If Al Gore invented the internet, then I built it."

I learned to write computer programs using a machine that punched holes in cards. The first personal computer I used was a Tandy TRS-80 and taught myself Basic by writing a program to play a game similar to Pong.

With a desktop machine with 256kilobyes of RAM running Basic I 'invented' a screen saver, dabbled with software to create word processing software, made a graphical user interface so my technician could run equipment without errors and created software that produced graphs from tables of data.

Tower of boxesThe Tower of Babel

Genesis 11:1-9 (New International Version)

1Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

 3They said to each other, "Come, let's make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

 5But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6The LORD said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

 8So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9That is why it was called Babel — because there the LORD confused the language of the whole world. From there the LORD scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

The 12 Days of Math Class

One year near Christmas, I asked students to substitute math words into the song, "12 Days of Christmas". Here is what they came up with.

The 12 Days of Christmas Original lyrics S4P2 S6P4 C2P5 CaP6
On the _____ day of Christmas my true love gave to me On the ___ day of SIMMS 4 my teacher gave to me On the ___ day of SIMMS6 my math class gave to me On the ___ day of math class, my teacher gave to me On the ___ day at Hazen, my math class gave to me
1 Partridge in a pear tree Test on trigonometry Graphing Calculator TI-83 1 year of torture an A+ on a hard test
2 Turtle Doves πr2 Passing Grades Major headaches Problem sets
3 French Hens Hexagons sin x2 Wise men f-primes
4 Calling Birds Tessellations Students crying Hexagrams Smart students
5 Gold Rings Amplitudes SIMMS books aflame Simple problems Intervals
6 Geese-a-laying Coefficients Years of torture Chewed-on pencils Integrations
7 Swan-a-swimming Logarithms Functions Functioning Acute triangles Differentials
8 Maids-a-milking Calculators Mismatched dimensions Non-stop talking females Logarithms
9 Ladies dancing Planar graphs mu's-a-mu-ing
Un cool problems Power Functions
10 Lords-a-leaping Quadric functions pi's-a-pooing
Nasty candies In-class problems
11 Pipers piping Math equations Vectors Shapes to graph Substitutions
12 Drummers drumming Kids complaining Days off from Math Gummy tables Function Problems

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