## The
Calculus Scam: The Equations of Mystery

Fri 3/24/17. In an on-going effort to achieve dreamless sleep, I was
perusing Calculus for Dummies
and had one of my patented flashes of insight — which was, like so
many, that calculus is a scam.

...
Now for years I’ve naturally preferred to assume this, in the
time-honored blame-the-problem strategery that I’ve always regarded
as
superior. ... I took about 3 minutes of Calc 101 while I was wasting
time at City College some time in the Mesozoic, taught by some
long-suffering no doubt graduate student girl,
and it was, as they say, utterly greek to me, as it remains to this day
and, consequently, I have maintained a personal animus against the
wonderful mathematical marvel. ... Particularly
since I became an assembly language programmer,
wildly knowledgeable in the ways of ridiculously-complicated things....

Q. So what is calculus? A.
It is a way of producing useful equations from other equations.

The
usefulness of the produced equation is of course up to the
mathematician, but as practically everybody knows, finding the slope of
a function — the “derivative” — or the area under
a curve — the
“integral” (?) — lead the hit parade.

### Where does the equation come
from?

Eh? ... You know? ... The blue thing over there ?

...
And I hear only the sound of crickets. ... I mean, you can’t apply
all
those clever mathematical thingeys to something unless there’s an
equation. I’m looking at this blue line, and pressing my forehead,
and I don’t see an equation.
... You, of course, are a brilliant
person who can see the equation,
it just pops-up ’cause you’re
so smart, or at least you know the form
for
the equation, just requiring a few actual numbers to make it “real”.

...
But what if the line was something a little more like the sad mortal
reality we trudge through? Something like that poor fellow over there
? ...
Huh?!?!?

### Computers

My suspicions are that in modern times,
computers
figure-out stuff like the area under a curve, using
extravagantly-stupid algorithms, like dividing the graph up into a
million pieces and counting each.
... So boring. ... But computers
are our slaves and will do anything we tell them no matter how
boring — in fact, the more boring, the more likely it is the answer’ll
be right — and, these days, they’ll do it pretty quick. ...
And the
wonderful thing is, the computer’ll do the red line or the blue line
without fear or favor: it doesn’t
care....

Thus endeth the lesson. ... Well, really, it’s
an aspect of the Monotheism of the Physicists....