If a train leaves Warren at 6 a.m. and averages 60 mph to New York City 402 miles away, at what time will it smash through the new math museum, leaving an explosion of plus signs, integers and long division in its wake?
That's right - a math museum.
Glen Whitney, who was a hedge-fund quantitative analyst, is building a $30 million MoMath Museum to free kids from the ''tyranny of the curriculum and the almost treadmill of standardized testing.
''That sensibility has sucked out the life of the subject,'' Whitney told The Associated Press.
But still, he's figuring that math - and math lodged in a museum, at that - will draw kids.
When I was a boy, the very word ''museum'' meant ''boring.'' In kid language, it translates to ''place where you cannot touch anything or your mom will smack your hands and make you sit in the car.''
Some museums and galleries still are like that. About four years ago, I was at one of those hallowed halls trying to act as if I knew what I was talking about. I swept my hand toward a piece while asking a docent 15 years my junior what I meant to sound like an intelligent, adult question.
She smacked my hand!
''No touching the exhibits,'' the docent scolded.
''Wasn't touching!'' I yelled. ''I was indicating!''
At least these days when I am sent to wait in the car, I'm old enough to drive myself to the Dairy Queen for a hot fudge sundae and a sulk.
I also have discovered a large number of museums that both fascinate and beg you to touch and clatter about with all sorts of experiments. Had I known museums could be this fun, I probably wouldn't have resisted so much as a kid.
Plus, I enjoyed math back then. I could work math, even the story problems. I loved calculating to see how long it would take a train traveling west from Chicago at 30 mph to slam into the train chugging east from Los Angeles at 60 mph.
Like other fourth-grade boys, I erased the part about the trains being on separate tracks. Then I multiplied the stakes by adding a 100-foot bridge in a mountain pass over a roiling river at the point of impact.
As an adult, I now know crashing trains is wrong. It would hurt the environment. Whole colonies of endangered amoebae and rare water crickets could be wiped out.
I also no longer understand story problems. I think this was because they tried to teach us something called New Math with abstract concepts like number bases and modular arithmetic that had little to do with counting.
Pretty soon New Math was dumped 100 feet into the roiling river, polluting the environment with algebraic inequalities and axiomatic set theories. Since we no longer could do math, the pocket calculator was invented instead.
Whitney's MoMath Museum will let visitors right tilting model ships by balancing the weights, figure angles to get the fastest times on a model roller coaster track and ride a square-wheeled tricycle over curves that by mathematical formulae will create a smooth ride.
I suppose that's OK. But you know what really would draw me and fourth-grade boys everywhere? Yep, two toy trains racing toward each other on bridge over roiling water. Calculate correctly and they crash! Now that's math.
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