Some people have a great mind for math, and some don't. Until my last year of high school, I enjoyed my math classes very much and even did math problems from old textbooks from the late 1800's, just for fun. (So I was a nerd, okay?) The further I went in math in high school, though, the less enjoyable it became to me. When Algebra 2 and Math 4 started going towards trig, sines, cosines, and calculus, it was beyond my interest and abilities and was really no longer fun. Now, besides grades for classes, the most I do with numbers is my game or two of Sudoku every evening. I loved base 2 in junior high, but I'm not sure how to solve the Sudoku puzzle from http://xkcd.com on the right.
I recently saw a pie chart that was an encouragement me for having abandoned Algebra, once I got deeper into it.
All joking aside, there really are many jobs that require one's being able to work accurately with numbers. For instance, if an engineer's calculations are off even slightly, the results can be disastrous, as seen below.
If you need help with math, there are people out there willing to help you ... but getting to them can be a challenge.
How would you like to have a locker partner like this guy's?
Another man and I share a locker at work. Noticing that it needed a new combination lock, my partner said he would pick one up on his way to work the next day. It occurred to me later that I might not see him in the morning. How would I find out the combination?
I needn't have worried — when I arrived at work I found that he had used the locker before me, had put the new lock in place, and had left a note reading "To find the first number subtract 142 from your high score the last time we went bowling. The second number is 16 less than that. To find the third number subtract 1.87 from the amount you owe me."
The upper halves of the people in the following image shift back and forth. Count the men each time.
Is it a dozen or a baker's dozen?
The following puzzle is in Chinese, but since numbers are the international language, you'll have no problem. Keep in mind that 8 X 8 = 64 and 5 X 13 = 65.
Now that you have that one firmly in mind, here's a slightly different version where 64 = 63.
So, does 64 equal 65 or 63? Maybe a reader who is not mathematically challenged can explain those two images to those of us who don't understand?
With lots of pumpkins available at this time of year and with the knowledge that pi = 3.14... even mathematically challenged people will enjoy this mirror image of pi.
Did any of you wonder why the old rotary dials on telephones had letters as well as numbers? All through my childhood, our home number was HE 5-5514. Actually in our little town, all I had to do was tell people my number was 5514, and they knew to dial 435 in front of it. Ah, life was so simple life then! Some people would tell me my number was HEmlock 5-5514. Recently I ran across an interesting blog post on why old phone numbers used to begin with letters instead of being all numbers. That's why the old rotary dials had letters as well as numbers. Those letters carried through to push-button phones and now cell phones All of that was the precursor of texting on cell phones with letters on each key, except the placement of the Z.
Here's an image from that blog post.
I was a little put off when I first learned that hemlock was poison used in executions, wondering why that word had been chosen for our phone numbers. You might find this list of Ma Bell's Officially Recommended Exchange Names interesting, especially if you're old enough to remember your phone number including letters.
I'll end this post with a number-related video clip from the Southern comedienne Jeanne Robertson. In this hilarious monologue she describes an aspect of using numbers that eluded her husband, a man with a doctorate, whom she lovingly calls "Left Brain." Those of you reading this in an e-mail or a blog reader will have to go to my blog to see the video clip. It's worth the trip, no matter how painful going to the blog itself may seem.
Are you mathematically challenged? I look forward to reading your comments on that question or on anything in the post.
"God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with him." — Jim Elliot
Solve for x:
x – ♥ = 0 (...clue 1 Corinthians 13)
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