To add fractions, you find the least common denominator—a term that has a certain resonance in our age of mass cancellation.
Even a longtime number lover like myself cringes at the memory of grade-school arithmetic—mostly boring exercises of memorization and seemingly arbitrary rules that led to often obvious answers. These number numbing years effectively murdered math for most people, who would forevermore associate the subject with answers and sums rather than questions and ideas.
The exception, for me at least, was canceling—an oddly satisfying way to slim down numbers by slicing up factors and using just what you needed. To add fractions, for example, you’d first find a common denominator to
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