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When I was a kid I would lay half awake in bed, looking at my alarm clock, interpreting the time as an algebraic expression (mentally filling in the variables) and factoring it. This is when I was in a crazy Japanese math program where I had to factor algebraic expressions every day. Seriously, to this day I can beat physics grad students at factoring. (It was a long time before I learned that factoring was not as useful a skill as I assumed.)



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