Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes...

[For this story to make sense, you really should watch this brilliant video, which is for the song "Mandelbrot Set" by Jonathan Coulton].

It's a song about fractals and the Mandelbrot set, which were the topic last week in our Math/Science Fiction course. Great sections include:

I hate the Peano Space and the Koch Curve
I fear the Cantor Ternary Set
The Sierpinsky Gasket makes me want to cry.

But there's a small problem with having your kids learn the song:

Mandelbrot set
You're a Rorschach Test on fire
You're a day-glo pterodactyl
You're a heart-shaped box of springs and wires
You're one bad-ass #$%!!@#ing fractal.

I taught my kids to sing that last line "bad-ass monkey fractal." So that problem is temporarily solved (hey, I knew a kid in Boy Scouts who insisted that "Life in the Fast Lane" was actually a song about fishing (!): "Life in the Bass Cage." It took us weeks of making fun of him to show him he had heard it wrong).

But yesterday my 3-year-old son wanted to bring the CD to his school.

Me: I can't let you do that, big guy. There is a bad word in that song.

Him: And I can't say bad words at school, right?

Me: Right. You can't say bad words at school. You'd get in trouble and your teachers would be upset.

Him: Ok Daddy. I promise not to say Sierpinski Gasket.

I swear I am not making this up. I laughed on and off for the rest of the day.

(Am working on that Beowulf review but am trying to process lots of other commentary in other places).

No comments: