# Month: February 2022

## Degenerate Conics II: Are Their Parameters Meaningful?

Last time we looked at what a degenerate conic section is, and how it relates on one hand to actual cones, and on the other to the general equation of the conic. Here we’ll look at the parameters of conic sections (focus, directrix, axes, and especially eccentricity) and how they apply to degenerate cases. Does …

## Degenerate Conics I: Mystery of the Missing Case

Degenerate cases are instances of a concept that are just on the edge of fitting its definition. They occur when we stretch a definition to its limits, at which point some of the original properties remain, but others break. We’ll start here with common instances of the phenomenon, in conic sections, pursuing the elusive case …

## Negative x Negative = Positive? Abstract Proofs

Last time we looked at explanations for the product of negative numbers in terms of various concrete models or examples. But it really requires a mathematical proof, as we’ll explain and demonstrate here, first with a couple different proofs, then with the bigger picture, giving the context of such proofs.

## Negative x Negative = Positive? Concrete Illustrations

One of the more common questions we’ve been asked is, How can the product of two negative numbers be positive? Between this post and the next, I’ll put together many of the answers we have given, starting here with examples from the “real world” (gradually getting more abstract), and next time we’ll look at proofs. …