29 June 2015

If you enjoy mathematics, this video will be painful to watch


  1. Good job with headline baiting.
    Starting with the inane units of mile and continuing with the moronic mph abbreviation and rounding it off with the slightly cryptic "per". I can see why a young person wouldn't have ever given a common phrase a second thought, it also sounds like trick question, but isn't.
    In fact we often give names to or learn names (mph for speed) of things we don't understand, forgetting to ever question their meaning. We talk of a "day", but rarely think of it as an earth rotation around its own axis for instance. Your average person finds percentages very confusing, because they actually are ambiguous, if you don't say exactly what they refer to.
    Today I think enjoyment of math depends a lot on making it enjoyable, but as a smart aleck I often used math to bully and trip up people with what amounts to simple trickery.

    1. At least the math bully in the above video is marginally gentler than this one:

  2. This is also a function of how school is taught. You get A's by regurgitating simple formulations back to the teacher and give them the answer they want. You don 't get A's by trying to figure out how the formulations are put together and then asking the teacher why some questions have more than one correct answer or asking about an obvious short-cut to what they are teaching... Ask me how I know. The few of us in the "advanced" classes who saw things like this quickly learned to keep the mouth shut and just spew back what they were looking for.

    So this poor girl was not picking up on the need to dissect the question instead of trying to spew back what normally would have included a pre-set formula to figure out what her friend wanted of her!

  3. Thank you, 'no child left behind', for preparing these young minds for the jobs of the future
    (Since there will be no technical domestic jobs left, I can now see your vision was crystal clear.)
    If 'merican children have to analytically think in the next decade (vs regurgitate test facts) - they'd be doomed.

    Meh, what this video really shows is how we just plain do not hear what people are saying - we predict and are usually right until it is exploited...
    "If an American spy plane crashes and explodes exactly on the border between Iran and Iraq, which government gets to decide where to bury the survivors?"
    ~ For the smarty pants that sees the trap and says, 'You don't bury survivors' - you can still come back with, 'drones don't have passengers, duh!'

    1. A "spy plane" is not necessarily a drone.

  4. Painful it was, only made more so by my love of my language, cast into hell by the American misuse of the abbreviation maths.
    With the word mathematics, you should not forget that it is a plural word and never a singular one.
    This leads to the realisation (yes, that is spelt correctly) that if you want to abbreviate it, it must have an s on the end.
    I realise that some bigwig in your American history wanted to put emotional distance between the British forebears and the independent American people, and changed a lot of spelling (and yes, golly, a lot of pronunciation habits) but in these days of close internet proximity where the English language is the accepted form of communication and metric the same regarding measurements, don't you think you and your fellow USAians (see how misuse hurts the eye ?) could step onto the platform of the future that the whole world except your good selves and Liberia in Africa, have wholeheartedly embraced ?
    Today where I am is the 4th of July.
    Perhaps tomorrow at your locale, when you wake up to fourth of July independence celebrations, you could realise you don't have to bastardise the language to be a separate country and make it law that you all spell words properly, by which I mean, my way.
    Haven taken that step, it would not be a great leap to make it illegal for anyone to post a post that implies, intentionally or through ignorance, that there is only the U.S.A. in the world, that there are no other countries or people.
    Such posts are common and I worry about the education levels of your fellow peoples.
    I write the word peoples as a secondary reminder that misuse of the language hurts the eye.
    On this rainy winter's afternoon, I now go to refresh my coffee, 12,800 kilometres from where you are.

    1. Chastisement accepted; title amended.

  5. This is not really about mathematics. The person just doesn't know what the phrase "miles per hour" means.

  6. From the Oxford English dictionary:

    per, prep.

    Brit. /pəː/ , U.S. /pər/
    Forms: lME par, lME pur, lME– per.
    Etymology: < Anglo-Norman and Old French per (842), Anglo-Norman and Old French, Middle French, French par (c1050) and its etymon classical Latin per through, by, by means of, in post-classical Latin also in a distributive sense, ‘for every…, for each…’ < a different ablaut grade of the Indo-European base of fore prep. Compare Italian per (960); also Dutch per (17th cent.), German per (15th cent., now only in idiomatic phrases), both probably < Italian.
    Used in English in various Latin and Old French phrases, and ultimately becoming practically an English preposition used freely before nouns of many classes.

    I think this is less of a math problem than a language problem although the two are closely tied in this instance. Being the brainy snob that I am, I fault the passenger. Not for being weak in maths but for not being more intellectually curious. Why didn't she ask what 'per' means? Why didn't she ask for more information? Okay, I'm going to fault the driver, too, because she was just being mean. Teach your friend, you loser!


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