You won't use that in real life, 'cause it's not a real equation.
I don't blame anyone who didn't have good enough teachers to explain the how and the why of algebra. But throwing it out isn't the solution.
You may never use 2x² - 13x - 24 = (2x + 3)(x - 8) in real life, but understanding the relationship between a dependent variable and its independent variables will keep you from being fooled by pretty graphs the media throws at you. Knowing how exponential decay works will help you to recognize that Al Gore's "hockey stick curve" is something he's just pulling out of thin air. Even something as potentially confusing as integration can help you to understand why the debt crisis isn't going to go away.
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