Some people might not be too familiar with the pack rat experience. So today, I decided to give an anecdote about a topic that I'm sure is much more universal, and I'm sure all of you can relate.

Don't you hate it when you're trying to read and answer a calculus problem for somebody in a foreign language, and you can't find terms like "derivative" and "integral" in the language dictionary? So you have to try to figure things out by context? Man, that's annoying. Somebody posted this in the math section of Yahoo Answers:

Ich muss die Gleichung der Tangente in der Form y=mx+b angeben.. aber kann nicht Dx HILFE!?

Ich musst die Gleichung der tangente in der Form y=mx+b angeben.f( x)=2x³;P(2;y)

Hilfe ich kapier das nicht!

And here was my answer:

Das tut mir leid, mein Deutsch ist rustig. Aber...

f ' (x) ist 6x^2. Und das is die Steigung der Tangente.

m = 6(2)^2 = 24

P(2,y) ist auf f(x) und auch der Tangente. Der punkt ist P(2,16) weil:

f(2) = 2(2)^3 = 16

Und jetzt:

y = 24x + b

16 = 24(2) + b

b = -32

So die Gleichung ist

y = 24x - 32

Seriously though, I post a lot in the Yahoo Answers' mathematics section. I originally went there when I was in between jobs and considering a teaching career, and wanted to brush up on certain things. I had forgotten things like "Wait, how do you do this kind of physics problem without using calculus, and sticking only with the stuff they teach a 10th grader?" So kept answering and answerings, until before I knew it, I was in the top 10 of best answerers.

I rarely get to speak any German these days, but I took German in middle school, high school and college. So I saw this problem as a fun challenge to do both. Yes, I really do consider this kind of stuff to be "fun".

Unfortunately, the guy deleted the question before I could post my response. Bastard.

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