& A Numerical Interlude—Systems of Linear Equations
People create marvelous works of imagination in art and science and mathematics, but the creative randomness that leads to masterpieces also leads to errors when routine and repetition are required. Repetitious, mechanical tasks do not play to human strengths. Nevertheless, repetitious and mechanical tasks are a necessary part of everyday life (think of getting dressed, brushing your teeth, and writing your name). Repetitious, mechanical tasks are also a necessary part of mathematics (although not nearly as big a part of mathematics as your experience might suggest). Some questions require calculations to answer and there is no way around the arithmetic. So some arithmetic we will do.