The Variables of Life

Posted on October 25, 2011

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James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning

Life can tend to have variables. I am thankful that the Lord is not one of them. No matter what is going on, one thing never will change. Pretty much everything else will at some point. But the Lord will not.

Variables. Math variables specifically. What is a variable?

Variables are further distinguished as being either a dependent variable or an independent variable. Independent variables are regarded as inputs to a system and may take on different values freely. Dependent variables are those values that change as a consequence of changes in other values in the system.

When one value is completely determined by another, or several others, then it is called a function of the other value or values. In this case the value of the function is a dependent variable and the other values are independent variables. The notation f(x) is used for the value of the function f with x representing the independent variable. Similarly, notation such as f(xyz) may be used when there are several independent variables.

That was taken from Wikipedia. I do not, in general like variables….period. There really is not a ‘general’ about it.

I have that job. Yes THAT job. The job when you are sitting in high school, looking at a math problem and thinking, ‘when or how could I EVER POSSIBLY use this in any functional way at any future point in my life.’

One word; SURVEYING!!

I have the job that I didn’t really even think existed outside of engineering circles…..I now regret not trying harder in school, specifically math. For anyone who may still be in school. As far as a highly practical aspect of life that you should pay attention to. It is math. I mean seriously, all things being equal, who cares if you can name all the bones of the middle ear. Or if you can recite the pledge of allegiance backwards? But then, that is coming from someone who uses math…and needs math, to essentially earn a living.

I have been in my current occupation of surveying/layout….field engineering, to make it sound important, carpenter helper, to make is sound honest, for over two years. I work with…no I work FOR, a church member, and my best friend, and my most effective antagonist Homer Tijerina (by the way…everybody friend him so he doesn’t feel so unloved). He knows math…he was in advanced placement classes for math when he was in school. I know that….well, because he told me….. All I know, is he knows more math than me. And we have never laid anything out wrong….yet. We probably will this week because I said that….but for now….we are 100% on accuracy.

Frankly, I have been lazy for the last couple of years. He could teach me….I could learn, I actually did learn quite a bit. But circumstances over the last couple of weeks has propelled me to get my act together, to actually be able to completely do the entire scope of work in the future.

Homer was essentially teaching me very job function specific math. I didn’t pass Algebra 1/2 in high school. That’s just the fact.  And then I am being dropped into advanced Trigonometry, some geometry, and full-scale Algebra. Over my head, way over my head. So, I decided to start at the beginning. I can read, i can count to ten. That is the basis for all math.

That ok, go ahead and laugh…..But let me ask you first…how much are you going to make this year with zero college or secondary education, or some sort of technical school. if you are going to laugh at me…it seems like you should be making more than me….

Secondly….there are only two kinds of people who are going to look at that picture, and perhaps a couple of sub-groups. First, are people who could not sit down right now and pass a high school algebra test….if that’s you….what are you laughing about…..I will let you borrow it when I am done. Second kind of people? Those that could sit down right now and pass an algebra test….maybe even trig, geometry…perhaps even a pre-calc, or statistics class. If that is you….you can laugh….or you can offer to help me if I have questions…..

I bought another calculator. The first one I bought when I went to work is, shall we say, entombed in concrete at the bottom of a 8ft drill shaft. (that is why you only spend about twenty dollars on your work calculator)

It has FIVE HUNDRED functions…..I’m impressed. I will maybe only use 50….outside number. But its kind of like cable tv…they won’t let you just get ESPN and cartoon network, you also have to get….EVERYTHING else. They don’t sell calculators with just pick your own combinations of functions.

So, I have been working on right triangles…..till I am dreaming right triangles….I’m getting close, I think. Started today working on point of intersections for perpendicular lines….I did three problems….Homer sat on top of me for the first one…and after 176 tries…. I got it right. He wasn’t there for the last two….ergo I got them wrong. I was introduced to full-page math problems……

Those are the two I got wrong…just in case there is somebody out there that can make heads or tails out of it. Homer doesn’t want me to use the COGO function on the Total Station. With that…you punch in your four coordinates, and less than a second later it spits out answer. The paper way??? 30 mins and 14 tylenol…….The computer way is to check your self….whatever.

So…..we will see how it goes….

Now….where is an ice cream bar

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Posted in: Family, Work