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William C. Altreuter
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Thursday, June 23, 2005

EGA writes: "We have an induction stove in Hopkins, consisting of two raised black squares on the counter. It's very mysterious and I haven't yet used it. It works with some pots but not others; you put a pot on the burner and if it is the right kind of pot a little light comes on and you can turn the stove on. Darned if I know how it works. This morning at breakfast Susie said, "I just discovered the induction stove! That's so cool! And it's so nice to have two extra burners at mealtimes."
"Yes," I said. "It's very mysterious, though. Do you know how it works?"
"Not really," she said.
"I think it works by mathematical induction: you put the first pot on and it works, and then you prove that if it works for any arbitrary pot, it will work for the pot after that."
She's a math major, but she looked at me like I was crazy. "I don't think that's how it works."

Oh. Hm. Well, it was funny to me."

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