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Spring Math Test

by Joseph Prever


1. If every sound is potentially the product of some finite number of sine waves, is every barnswallow’s flight potentially the product of some finite number of perfect circles?


2. Which is best: dirt, a beetle, a chipmunk, or a sparrow? Is there a hierarchy implied in the series? If so, in which direction does the hierarchy go, and with respect to what is it arranged? If not, why not?

3. If a finch alights on a branch and bobs his body in such a way that his body moves while his head remains entirely motionless, why is his motionlessness so convincing? Why does the finch seems to be making a legitimate bid to be the only motionless thing in the universe?

4. Given an evergreen shrub whose dark green tips, after a heavy rainfall, acquire a shoot of brighter, more livid green, calculate the taste of the brighter part against your fingers.

5. Why does a jet stream against an azure sky dissolve more slowly the longer you think about death?

6. Given a parabola whose apex is the zenith and whose point of inflection is just out of reach, what would you expect to find at its end? Why is it always brighter at the periphery?

All answers should be given in jewels, Lieder (or, when appropriate, microLieder), inchworms, or Sehnsucht per square minute; whichever you found most of outside your window on the morning that the question first became pressing. You may not use a calculator.