In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 4, 2006 / 4 Teves, 5766

Meet i

By Pat Sajak

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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The time has long since passed when I could be of any use to my teenage son when it comes to the matter of math homework. I'm fairly useful in the fields of English and History, less so with Science and Latin, but totally superfluous in the bizarre world of Algebra.

That point was driven home again the other night when he introduced me to an imaginary number, or, as those wacky mathematicians like to call it, i. Here is the issue, as I understand it, and I'm not at all sure I do. There is no real way to find the square root of a negative number, because any number multiplied by itself would be positive. So, you might logically assume that, since a number can't exist, there's no point looking for it. Well, you'd be wrong. Apparently the inability of a number to exist isn't a sufficient reason not to find a way to pretend it exists.

Which brings us to i.

i is the square root of -1. (Or is it i am, the square root of -1?) And don't be fooled by the fact that there's no such thing as the square root of -1. Remember, we're talking about imaginary numbers, so just go with me on this. Now that we have a fake number, we can use it to make other fake numbers appear, well, real.

For example, there is no square root of -9. The number 3 doesn't work, because 3 times 3 equals a positive 9. Likewise, a negative 3 times a negative 3 nets a positive 9. But, hold on to your slide rules, because, thanks to i, we can now express the square root of negative 9 as the square root of negative 1 (that's our friend, i) times the square root of positive 9, which is i times 3, or 3i. In other words, the square root of -9 is 3i.

So, you see, we now have a way to express nonexistent numbers by using an imaginary number. You're probably asking yourself why we need imaginary numbers when things are tough enough when using real numbers. The truth is, I don't know. My son doesn't know, either. Neither his teacher nor his textbook explained why we do this other than because we're able to do it.

I'm sure there's a practical application for a number that's not really a number. Of course, it could be just an imaginary application. Perhaps it's a way to balance an overdrawn checking account or to measure the number of angels who can dance on the head of a pin.

So, as always, when it comes to Algebra, I'm out of the equation. Imagine that.

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JWR contributor Pat Sajak is the recipient of three Emmys, a Peoplesí Choice Award and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He's currently the host of Wheel of Fortune.


© 2006, Pat Sajak