Writer | Editor
Untitled design (7).png

Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

Math Sucks Because Science

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: November 2012

I hate math. I think I always have. Something about numbers makes my palms sweat, my throat start to close up, and my vision begin to slowly narrow until all I see are giant quadratic formulas and variables dancing around in my brain (see also: panic attack). As my parents can attest, I even boycotted learning my multiplication tables for what seemed like years, but was most likely just a couple of months. I finally caved in after I’d put up a reasonable fight, but not before spending each night sitting at the dinner table with my dad with my math homework in front of us. Mostly I just sat there, hearing the buzz of rage in my ears and feeling the hot, metallic taste on the back of my tongue from grinding my teeth so hard.

It turns out science has come through again, this time proving beyond a shadow of a doubt, that math is officially awful and causes physical pain! Because science! The good folks at geekologie.com have reported that anxiety caused by the anticipation of doing math actually causes a chemical response in the brain similar to one you’d experience if you were undergoing bodily harm.
“For someone who has math anxiety, the anticipation of doing math prompts a similar brain reaction as when they experience pain – say, burning one’s hand on a hot stove,” said Sian Beilock, professor of psychology at the University of Chicago and leading expert on math anxiety (because apparently that’s a thing you can specialize in).
It’s true, that nowhere does it say that actual math causes the mental reaction, just the anticipation of it. So I guess the real message here is that some people’s brains (mine) are just broken…. And also that math sucks.
Also in scientific news this week, a new dinosaur was discovered and it’s being named after Sauron (of Lord of the Rings fame), because the people who get to name dinosaurs are nerds. Glorious, unrepentant nerds. i09.com has revealed that the previously unknown dinosaur is related to the Allosaurus, and because dinosaurs are awesome and so is the LOTR, they decided to name it after Sauron. The full name is Sauroniops pachytholus, and you can see an artists rendering of the beast at the aforementioned website.
Lastly, the election is finally over and I can’t wait for my Facebook feed to get back to LOLcats and pictures of the moon-faced babies the people I went to high school with keep popping out. More importantly though, Obama won! Somehow though, prop 37, the one about labeling genetically modified food lost. How do you people not want to know what the shit is in your food? I guess all that advertising on Hulu paid for by Monsanto worked. Bummer. Till next week, Zooey out.

Arielle Mullen