Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Stacey Bearden

December, 1999

Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 22:22:31 -0500 (EST)
From: Stacey Bearden
To: All Dr. Math Doctors
Subject: Dr. Math in December

Greetings, Math Doctors!  Welcome to the New Year.  Let's dive right in...

December Stats:
6186 -- incoming questions
1452 -- answered questions
23.4% -- percent answered

As with last month's stats, the "incoming questions" figure includes the
thank you notes and some bad-address messages, so the percentage answered
is really a bit higher, if you take that into consideration or compare to
previous months' stats.

Some news:

A few of you have asked about some kind of discussion area where you can
interact with the other doctors, ask each other questions, share opinions,
etc.  Here it is:

Don't forget the slash at the end; I did, and then I couldn't get
in.  Have fun!

And now some news from the archivists:


We have a new Dr. Math FAQ on the Pythagorean theorem,
answering the questions: What is the Pythagorean theorem?
When would you use it? How can we prove it? See:

And 105 new question-&-answer entries were added to the
Dr. Math archives during December of 1999.


And since this is the last newsletter of the year, here's a summary of the 
tips of the month from past newsletters:

March:  Don't just ignore questions that seem unclear; ask the student or
post a memo for other docs (or use the new discussion area).

April:  Be friendly in your responses. Tone can make all the difference
for a student having trouble.

May:  Be clear and encouraging.

June:  Don't forget to use the archives.  A quick reference can be all it
takes, or it can be a great supplement to a great answer.

July:  Always PROOFREAD.

August:  Avoid bad-addresses by reloading your triage page or answering
questions that are not at the very top of page 1.

September:  Try not to do a student's homework for him or her.

Well, that's a wrap!  For more detail, check out the past newsletters at

You may notice a rather large omission from this newsletter -- the much
looked forward to thank-you notes.  You may find your individual notes in
the triage pages for December.  Please watch your mailboxes for a note
from me asking a few questions about the thank-you notes that come in.  
To replace the thank yous from the students we send you a big thank you 
from the Math Forum for all you do for this service.

And in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day, a federal holiday in the
United States, I close with a quotation:

"We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted
with the fierce urgency of _now_.  In this unfolding conundrum of life and
history there is such a thing as being too late.  Procrastination is still
the thief of time....  This may well be mankind's last chance to choose
between chaos and community."
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Stacey
Doctor Math Administrator
The Math Forum