Monday, August 02, 2010


Yesterday Margot and I were listening to Schoolhouse Rock's Zero my Hero, which lauds the invention of zero. Part of the lyrics include:

My hero, Zero, such a funny little hero,
But till you came along,
We counted on our fingers and toes.
Now you're here to stay
And nobody really knows
How wonderful you are.
Why we could never reach a star,
Without you, Zero, my hero,
How wonderful you are.

"Why couldn't we reach the stars without zero?" Margot asked from the backseat of the car.

"Well," I answered, "because we'd never be able to do the math it takes to fly a rocket into space." By this response, I meant that we'd never be able to figure out the physics needed to launch a projectile from the earth to a star. Big picture stuff. But I didn't say any of that out loud, because it's beyond M's comprehension (to be honest, it's beyond my comprehension, too).

"Oh! You're right!" exclaimed Margot. "Without zero, we couldn't do the countdown for a rocket! 10, 9, 8, 7...There's a zero in the number 10, after all. A rocket could never take off without a countdown."

Good point.

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