1050: "Forgot Algebra"

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Adam H
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Adam H » Wed May 09, 2012 3:32 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:
Adam H wrote:And every time I throw something into the wind I think "roughly 35 degrees for maximum distance!"


You're a remarkable human being. how's your aim? I expect you can throw a football further and more accuratly than the kids who wasted their time merely practicing to throw a football far and on target.

Adam H wrote:Every time I accelerate or brake in a car, I think "heh, the derivative of acceleration is jerk."


And sometimes when I flex my arm I think "heh, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism". But that doesn't help with the act in any way. I may be using ATP but I'm not using the knowledge. You "use" math when you drive the same way you use chemistry to live. (unless you crash a lot)
The context of my post was that while I may not use math daily, I do think about it daily, and my life is better because I know it, and I feel small amounts of pity for people that are ignorant of the things that I know, and I think everyone should be given the opportunity to learn these kinds of things.

I don't think you're arguing with me.

HungryHobo wrote:You're confusing
"X can be defined using Y"
with
"X can ONLY be defined with Y"
or possibly even worse the blatant falsehood:
"You need to understand Y to be good at using X"
It's quite funny how your arguments are only possible because you took higher level math. I'm not saying it proves your post invalid, just that it strikes me as ironic.
-Adam

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Yakk » Wed May 09, 2012 3:36 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:You're confusing
"X can be defined using Y"
with
"X can ONLY be defined with Y"
or possibly even worse the blatant falsehood:
"You need to understand Y to be good at using X"
It's quite funny how your arguments are only possible because you took higher level math. I'm not saying it proves your post invalid, just that it strikes me as ironic.
Isn't it ironic, don't you think, that this song uses the term ironic to refer to situations that are not ironic, and hence the entire song is ironic?
One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid, and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision - BR

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Adam H
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Adam H » Wed May 09, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

Hmmm... irony. Where's that old webcomic again? Ah, here it is.

But while I am convinced I'm right and you are wrong, this is no place for such a discussion.
-Adam

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby goomba25 » Wed May 09, 2012 6:08 pm UTC

Adam H wrote:Hmmm... irony. Where's that old webcomic again? Ah, here it is.

But while I am convinced I'm right and you are wrong, this is no place for such a discussion.

I see your oatmeal and raise you a PhD.

But while we're at the Oatmeal, we might as well bring this up. Seriously, for all the debate between what's Algebra and what's arithmetic, it doesn't really matter because very few are willing (or able) to figure out the answer to that question. 5+ variables = 6+ equations? Enter the tip calculator apps.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby elminster » Wed May 09, 2012 8:29 pm UTC

I found the opposite to be true.
Needed maths a bit in school; needed it more at university; and now I'm confused by the level of maths I want to do.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby BergZ » Thu May 10, 2012 5:06 pm UTC

I think some people are "proud of not learning math" because, when I was in school, you were told that if you weren't good at math that meant you were:
"stupid",
and "doomed to be a failure",
and "the Ruskies/Chinese are going to eat you alive"*,
and "you'll die cold and alone because you don't know how long the ladder leaning up against the wall is"**.
I joke, but the first two I'm pretty sure I heard (almost) verbatim in school.
Sometimes I see comments, here in the XKCD forum, that give me the same impressions.

I think there is no "proud of not learning music/cooking/foreign language" because nobody stigmatizes you as 'stupid' because you can't play an instrument, or you can't bake a cake, or you don't speak a foreign language.
Being "proud of not learning math" is a defensive reaction against the stigma that being bad at math means you're stupid and it's a short-hand way of saying: "I might not be good at math but I have my own set of skills that I'm quite happy with and I'm still successful anyway thank-you-very-much Ms. Lenhart".

(* the Communist boogeyman of the day changed during my childhood)
(** I'm making that one up for comedic value only)

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:00 pm UTC

BergZ wrote:I think there is no "proud of not learning music/cooking/foreign language" because nobody stigmatizes you as 'stupid' because you can't play an instrument, or you can't bake a cake, or you don't speak a foreign language.

What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
What do you cal someone who speaks THREE languages? Trilingual.

...What do you call someone who only speaks ONE language?
Spoiler:
American.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby goomba25 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:30 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
BergZ wrote:I think there is no "proud of not learning music/cooking/foreign language" because nobody stigmatizes you as 'stupid' because you can't play an instrument, or you can't bake a cake, or you don't speak a foreign language.

What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
What do you cal someone who speaks THREE languages? Trilingual.

...What do you call someone who only speaks ONE language?
Spoiler:
American.


I"ve heard this joke many times, and it's stupid because Americans know only 1 language because it assumes they're intentionally being culturally arrogant.

Wrong. Americans can get away with only being able to speak English because it's widely used in basically every part of the world. Say what you will about the horrors of British colonialism and American imperialism/commercialism, but one of the side effects was to make English a lingua franca of the world. It's the language of aviation, it's splattered on every type of commercial product available from T-shirts to fast food. You'd be hard pressed to go to any urban area worldwide and not see or hear at least 1 word in English.

Additionally, it seems to me that Europeans love to propagate this joke. Haha, very funny. The US's borders aren't as porous as those in the EU, and the US doesn't have as long history of intermingling with its neighbors (and fighting with its neighbors, for that matter). I'm not very impressed with someone who knows a lot of the West European languages because they all have the same roots and share similarities. If you want to show off your polyglot skills, I'd pick from this list:
    English (worldwide). Useful: French (esp. useful in Africa and Canada) / Spanish (Central/Latin America)
    Russian
    Mandarin Chinese (not Cantonese, not anymore). Useful: Japanese / Korean
    Useful: Hebrew
    Hindi / Urdu
    Swahili
    Arabic. Useful: Pashto / Farsi
    NOT Esperanto.*
These will get you communicating with most places in the world (or at least communicate enough to find someone who speaks a language you're more comfortable in), and lack the advantage of being mostly unrelated to each other. I tried to pick languages that weren't locked in to a certain country unless those countries had large geopolitical influence.

*Seriously, people who believe this isn't a joke language are deluding themselves. The facts are these: it's been around for nearly 100 years. It's STILL a fringe language that 95% of the world doesn't even know exists. Learn it for fun, but Esperanto has failed. Get over it.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:38 pm UTC

goomba25 wrote:
Spoiler:
Роберт wrote:
BergZ wrote:I think there is no "proud of not learning music/cooking/foreign language" because nobody stigmatizes you as 'stupid' because you can't play an instrument, or you can't bake a cake, or you don't speak a foreign language.

What do you call someone who speaks two languages? Bilingual.
What do you cal someone who speaks THREE languages? Trilingual.

...What do you call someone who only speaks ONE language? American.


I"ve heard this joke many times, and it's stupid because Americans know only 1 language because it assumes they're intentionally being culturally arrogant.

Wrong. Americans can get away with only being able to speak English because it's widely used in basically every part of the world. Say what you will about the horrors of British colonialism and American imperialism/commercialism, but one of the side effects was to make English a lingua franca of the world. It's the language of aviation, it's splattered on every type of commercial product available from T-shirts to fast food. You'd be hard pressed to go to any urban area worldwide and not see or hear at least 1 word in English.

Additionally, it seems to me that Europeans love to propagate this joke. Haha, very funny. The US's borders aren't as porous as those in the EU, and the US doesn't have as long history of intermingling with its neighbors (and fighting with its neighbors, for that matter). I'm not very impressed with someone who knows a lot of the West European languages because they all have the same roots and share similarities. If you want to show off your polyglot skills, I'd pick from this list:
    English (worldwide). Useful: French (esp. useful in Africa and Canada) / Spanish (Central/Latin America)
    Russian
    Mandarin Chinese (not Cantonese, not anymore). Useful: Japanese / Korean
    Useful: Hebrew
    Hindi / Urdu
    Swahili
    Arabic. Useful: Pashto / Farsi
    NOT Esperanto.*
These will get you communicating with most places in the world (or at least communicate enough to find someone who speaks a language you're more comfortable in), and lack the advantage of being mostly unrelated to each other. I tried to pick languages that weren't locked in to a certain country unless those countries had large geopolitical influence.

*Seriously, people who believe this isn't a joke language are deluding themselves. The facts are these: it's been around for nearly 100 years. It's STILL a fringe language that 95% of the world doesn't even know exists. Learn it for fun, but Esperanto has failed. Get over it.

Somebody missed the entire point of my post. I'll give you a hint who it was: I'm quoting zir right now.

Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby goomba25 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:42 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.

1,000, 100 years post-inception? In a world of near 7,000,000,000? Are you serious? What's your criteria, that it still exists?

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:43 pm UTC

goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.

1,000, 100 years post-inception? In a world of near 7,000,000,000? Are you serious?

I'm serious. Not only are there still speakers of it a hundred years later, there are freakin' NATIVE SPEAKERS of it.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby goomba25 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:49 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.

1,000, 100 years post-inception? In a world of near 7,000,000,000? Are you serious?

I'm serious. Not only are there still speakers of it a hundred years later, there are freakin' NATIVE SPEAKERS of it.

OK, I'll indulge you. When you say "native speaker", what exactly do you mean? That they were taught that from birth, that they grew up using it in their home, that they learned that as their first language before anything else? Because that's what I mean by "native speaker".

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Роберт » Thu May 10, 2012 7:53 pm UTC

goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.

1,000, 100 years post-inception? In a world of near 7,000,000,000? Are you serious?

I'm serious. Not only are there still speakers of it a hundred years later, there are freakin' NATIVE SPEAKERS of it.

OK, I'll indulge you. When you say "native speaker", what exactly do you mean? That they were taught that from birth, that they grew up using it in their home, that they learned that as their first language before anything else? Because that's what I mean by "native speaker".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Esperanto_speakers
This usually occurs when the parents meet each other at an Esperanto gathering but do not know each other’s native language.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby goomba25 » Thu May 10, 2012 7:59 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:
goomba25 wrote:
Роберт wrote:Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.

1,000, 100 years post-inception? In a world of near 7,000,000,000? Are you serious?

I'm serious. Not only are there still speakers of it a hundred years later, there are freakin' NATIVE SPEAKERS of it.

OK, I'll indulge you. When you say "native speaker", what exactly do you mean? That they were taught that from birth, that they grew up using it in their home, that they learned that as their first language before anything else? Because that's what I mean by "native speaker".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Esperanto_speakers
This usually occurs when the parents meet each other at an Esperanto gathering but do not know each other’s native language.

I shouldn't be surprised, 7B people in the world makes all kinds of statistical improbabilities more likely. But I am. Words fail me.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby webgiant » Mon May 14, 2012 2:38 pm UTC

Noslo wrote:"Why do they make us learn math? It's not like I'll ever use it."
"Yeah, it's not like math teaches you how to work out complex problems logically."
This conversation happens quite often.

You're always solving for X. You just don't see it written down as X.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby J Thomas » Mon May 14, 2012 6:00 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
goomba25 wrote:*Seriously, people who believe this isn't a joke language are deluding themselves. The facts are these: it's been around for nearly 100 years. It's STILL a fringe language that 95% of the world doesn't even know exists. Learn it for fun, but Esperanto has failed. Get over it.

Somebody missed the entire point of my post. I'll give you a hint who it was: I'm quoting zir right now.

Anyway, with around one thousand native speakers, the most widely spoken conlang is hardly a pure failure.


I was all ready to say that Klingon is a more widely spoken conlang than something that has only 1000 speakers.

But -- native speakers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Esperanto
Estimates of Esperanto speakers range from 10,000 to 2,000,000 active or fluent speakers, as well as native speakers, that is, people who learned Esperanto from their parents as one of their native languages.


Two million would be pretty respectable, especially in only 100 years. While it survives at all, we shouldn't count it a failure in the first 500 years.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby queueingtheory » Mon May 14, 2012 6:04 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:If you miss a week of english literature and don't fill it in, it won't hurt you that much. "Byron? Don Byron is OK, but there are better jazz musicians." It leaves a hole. If you miss a week of math you lose everything that gets built over that hole.

So if it doesn't make sense, you go back to something earlier, and see if that makes sense. And you go back until you get to the first thing you don't quite understand, and figure it out. After you get it, it will look easy. The math that gets taught a lot is designed that way -- it's all supposed to be small easy steps. When for any reason a step isn't easy, it looks real real hard because you don't understand it. After you get it, you find out that all the hard stuff was ideas in your head for what it might be. The reality was simple and easy.


I wouldn't quite say that. Sometimes (to continue the metaphor) an algorithm acts as a temporary manhole cover until you later fill in the hole.

As an example, I remember* that in primary school the one mathematical concept I didn't understand was why the flip-and-multiply rule worked for division of fractions. As an "academic" learner that was a bit frustrating, but the algorithm was easy and later, presumably after doing some algebra, I realized it had all became clear conceptually.

But, I think you are generally correct. I just watched and helped my wife through a Calc II class which she did after forgetting the Calc (and probably some Pre-Calc) she had done over 15 years earlier but never really learned properly because she had more important things in her life at the time. That was really hard work for her. As an algorithmic learner she was able to cram her way through in a way that I simply could not have done. Fortunately, despite being over 20 years since my last analysis class I didn't have many holes and those were quite shallow.

* Sad but true.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby queueingtheory » Tue May 15, 2012 12:49 pm UTC

The Moomin wrote:The difference is that people don't hammer in to your head how essential it is you learn the violin, bake a cake or learn how to ask for a train ticket in Polish. Throughout learning maths you are told repeatedly how important it is to your survival in day to day life.


Really? I was never told Maths was important. Of course, I enjoyed it so I probably wasn't complaining about doing it all the time. I also didn't complain in the classes I hated, which is, I expect why I wasn't told how those subjects would be of benefit to me. Or "because you have to".

That's why no-one runs up to primary school teachers to shove in their face how they've never picked up a recorder since the music classes when they were 8.


Maybe it's because people who can reason logically would know that it would be irrational to complain to a former teacher when they aren't the ones responsible for educational policy.

Every subject should have to justify itself: Music and English literature stole many hours of my life with no benefit. I still can't fathom how people should be forced to study a subject they clearly don't enjoy when the only societal value of the subject matter is that it gives pleasure to people.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby HungryHobo » Tue May 15, 2012 1:07 pm UTC

queueingtheory wrote:Maybe it's because people who can reason logically would know that it would be irrational to complain to a former teacher when they aren't the ones responsible for educational policy.


Lots of policies are written and curriculums devised with consulation with teachers and former teachers. She isn't responsible right now. perhaps she'll remember if she ever is.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Fire Brns » Tue May 15, 2012 1:53 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Estimates of Esperanto speakers range from 10,000 to 2,000,000 active or fluent speakers, as well as native speakers, that is, people who learned Esperanto from their parents as one of their native languages.


Two million would be pretty respectable, especially in only 100 years. While it survives at all, we shouldn't count it a failure in the first 500 years.

It's not 2 million, people pushing for it inflate the numbers in their favor; at best -and I'm being generous- it is in the low 6 digits. Another example: Scientology claim millions of members but they will count anyone who they have handed a pamphlet to as a member.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby bmonk » Tue May 15, 2012 9:32 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:. . .

Example 2. My daughter in high school needed help with Trig. I looked at the problem and reinvented the formula to find the answer. It involved about 12 steps. But we worked it out on a number of different problems and it worked. The next day she came home very angry. I didn't notice, but about 10 of my steps gave you the radius of a circle. oops. So you need to know higher math in order to help your children with their schoolwork. Well, I have one daughter who has never asked me for math help again. 8)


Reminds me of when my High School Chem teacher was taking an Aquatics Chemistry class at a nearby University. Well, he had one derivation that the teacher had gotten down to six steps (from 12) over several years.

I took it home, and found a way to do it in three. Yay, ALGEBRA!
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby HungryHobo » Wed May 16, 2012 8:32 am UTC

back in school I remember coming up some steps for some specific calculations that were far faster and simpler than the book way.

As it happened the same problem came up in Math, chemistry and physics.

My chemistry teacher was a little dubious but ran a range of numbers through it and got correct values so accepted it as probably correct.

My physics teacher helped me prove it correct.

At the time my maths teacher was one of those awful ones: couldn't add a pair of 2 digit numbers without a calculator. For some people that's not too big a problem. For a math teacher that's inexcusable. She just got angry that I wasn't doing it the way the book said. That woman hated me, she seemed to take offense at the fact that I could just have the answer to problems, would "mix up" my marks with the people above me and bellow me on the list so that I'd be marked as geting far lower grades than I had. Took even more offense at the fact that I could read said list upsidown.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby bmonk » Wed May 16, 2012 3:42 pm UTC

HungryHobo wrote:back in school I remember coming up some steps for some specific calculations that were far faster and simpler than the book way.

As it happened the same problem came up in Math, chemistry and physics.

My chemistry teacher was a little dubious but ran a range of numbers through it and got correct values so accepted it as probably correct.

My physics teacher helped me prove it correct.

At the time my maths teacher was one of those awful ones: couldn't add a pair of 2 digit numbers without a calculator. For some people that's not too big a problem. For a math teacher that's inexcusable. She just got angry that I wasn't doing it the way the book said. That woman hated me, she seemed to take offense at the fact that I could just have the answer to problems, would "mix up" my marks with the people above me and bellow me on the list so that I'd be marked as geting far lower grades than I had. Took even more offense at the fact that I could read said list upsidown.


Reminds me of the time I had two different formulae for linear regression, and worked quite some time to show that they were equivalent.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby tesseraktik » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:56 am UTC

J Thomas wrote:I was all ready to say that Klingon is a more widely spoken conlang than something that has only 1000 speakers.
As an active member of the Klingon-speaking community, let me assure you:
tera'Daq tlhIngan Hol lujatlhlaHbogh wa'SanID ghotpu' lutu'lu'be'bej. - "There certainly aren't 1000 Klingon-speakers on Earth."

It's probably less than 50 who can hold a conversation in the language, and maybe a few hundred who can communicate clearly through text with the help of a dictionary.
ni'o mi nelci le zirpu sovmabrnornitorinku
Spoiler:
++$_ wrote:What's a "degree"?

EDIT: I looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently it's some ancient Babylonian unit for angles :/

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby dwllama » Sun Jun 24, 2012 6:47 pm UTC

I acutally just the other day solved for X to see how many miles per hour I was walking when it took me 25 minutes to walk about a mile.
I'm not always totally sure I'm doing it right but all my back checking seems to make it work out (in which case, if I recall, I was going about 2.4mph)

I don't think I use a whole lot of maths in work, but I'm a car parts delivery driver, so while comparing numbers to make sure I get the right thing for somebody is useful, math doesn't play a big role. (it might be more if the computer didn't tell me practically everything anyway)

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby Max™ » Mon Jul 02, 2012 3:04 pm UTC

Well, since algebra is just rearranging values from different sides of an equation, except often taught and explained in an annoyingly obtuse manner, I'd imagine it sees more use than most people would think, as has been pointed out no doubt many times in the thread.

As for speaking languages in the US, it's good to remember that the Queen's English, American English, American, 'Merican, Appalachian, Midwestern, Texan, Okie, Californian, Canadian/Minnessotan English, Ohioan, Bostonian, New Englander, New Yorker, Guttertrashinese (New Jersey dialects), and Hillbilly are in no way the same languages, despite generally resembling each other to a foreign ear.

The US is composed of about 11 regions with significant cultural and linguistic differences (Deep South, Appalachia, Ex-Mexico, Steel Country, The West, Old France, etc) but most importantly, we are rapidly approaching a point when the Latino minority population is no longer a minority at all, several southwest states already have, being from Texas I can converse in Spanish after being around it for a half hour or so to get my ear switched to parsing it accurately again.

I can also understand most of the redneck dialects, unfortunately, and due to my lack of a noticeable affect I am well suited as an interpreter between southerners and northerners.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby jerryalvord » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:03 am UTC

johnny_7713 wrote:
Invertin wrote:I acknowledge the fact that math is an incredibly useful subject, but I also know that I haven't used any in my day to day life.

Then again I might have dyscalculia so there you go.

The same sort of argument could be applied in regards to history, since I don't really plan on being a historian, but analyzing different views on an event and investigating the authors to ensure that I have the correct information? That's like, the entire internet.


You've never worked out how long you will have to save up to be able to buy that new car/computer/holiday/other expensive thing? You've never worked out how much money you will have left over after tax? You've never worked out how much tax you will have to pay? You've never worked out how much the monthly interest payment on a loan or mortgage is? You've worked out how much extra that 3% wage raise will give you at the end of the month?

Moving on to more basic arithmetic rather than math: You've never added up what your shopping will total before you've reached the check-out? You've never split a restaurant bill? You've never converted a stated monthly wage into an annual wage or vice versa?
The list goes on.
Dyscalculia might make all that a lot harder, but I can't imagine you've never done at least some of those things, or at least wanted to do them.

Regarding wst's argument I'm going to disagree. I don't do any math when driving a car, I do it by feel, visual feedback and muscle memory, as I'm sure does (nearly?) everyone. Sure there's all kinds of maths that can describe your driving, but you're not doing them while driving, any more than a tennis ball is solving a bunch of differential equations to work out where it should bounce.

Maths we use specifically or not is part of our lives. Anytime we do shopping, pay payments anywhere, do transactions math is required. So he can't say he never used Maths. As for doing maths while other activities, sometimes its possible like while cooking but at times not like while playing football.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby rmsgrey » Sat Apr 20, 2013 1:32 pm UTC

jerryalvord wrote:Maths we use specifically or not is part of our lives. Anytime we do shopping, pay payments anywhere, do transactions math is required. So he can't say he never used Maths. As for doing maths while other activities, sometimes its possible like while cooking but at times not like while playing football.

For payments/transactions, it takes no maths to swipe a card and enter a PIN, nor to hold out a handful of money and let someone pick out what they think is enough.

Yes, it's possible to get cheated that way, but you don't need to understand maths to be able to recognise when someone's cheating you.

***

I'm sure it's been said in the comments already, but the point of the comic is not that every single person in the entire world who is bad at maths is proud of the fact, but that it's commonplace for people to act like they're proud of being bad at maths. It's like bragging about having failed your driving test, or being proud of not being able to kick a football, or not being able to read. Tell someone you can't read, and it gets treated as a handicap. Tell someone you can't add 2 two-digit numbers together without a calculator, and it gets treated as normal, or even as an achievement...

Okay, part of the problem, at least here in the UK, is the education system where for decades, government, wanting to be seen to be doing something, has piled on more and more assessment, leaving less and less time for actually learning the material that's on the exams, never mind actually developing an understanding of the subject. Here in the UK, the goal of education has become, not to learn and understand stuff, but to get good grades by any means available, and never mind about any longer-term learning...

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby addams » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:41 am UTC

You are getting good grades 'by any mean possible'?
That's funny.

Are you Little Johnny Tables?
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Apr 22, 2013 10:54 am UTC

addams wrote:You are getting good grades 'by any mean possible'?
That's funny.

Are you Little Johnny Tables?

I heard from a reliable source that one school had the dictum handed down from on high that the students would get at least a certain mark on their coursework, and the teachers were to arrange that. It was made very clear that the teachers weren't to do the work for the students even if that was the only way they would get the required marks, but the students would get the required marks, or else...

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby mikmaxs » Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:58 am UTC

I was always bothered by this one. People react in that way because unlike the other skills mentioned, (with the exception of learning a foreign language, in some cases,) you are not forced to study it for 13 years along with other subjects. I will heartily agree that everyone should know basic mathematics, but unless you enjoy it or intend to go into a career involving it, there is no reason to learn really advanced math. Just like you should know how to prepare a meal, but you don't need to be able to fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds or bottle your own wine or serve a five start six course meal unless you enjoy it.
The difference is, one you are forced to do whether you like it or not. The other, you have to explicitly seek out and often do on your own time. That's why people get mad.

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addams
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby addams » Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:19 am UTC

Max™ wrote:Well, since algebra is just rearranging values from different sides of an equation, except often taught and explained in an annoyingly obtuse manner, I'd imagine it sees more use than most people would think, as has been pointed out no doubt many times in the thread.

As for speaking languages in the US, it's good to remember that the Queen's English, American English, American, 'Merican, Appalachian, Midwestern, Texan, Okie, Californian, Canadian/Minnessotan English, Ohioan, Bostonian, New Englander, New Yorker, Guttertrashinese (New Jersey dialects), and Hillbilly are in no way the same languages, despite generally resembling each other to a foreign ear.

The US is composed of about 11 regions with significant cultural and linguistic differences (Deep South, Appalachia, Ex-Mexico, Steel Country, The West, Old France, etc) but most importantly, we are rapidly approaching a point when the Latino minority population is no longer a minority at all, several southwest states already have, being from Texas I can converse in Spanish after being around it for a half hour or so to get my ear switched to parsing it accurately again.

I can also understand most of the redneck dialects, unfortunately, and due to my lack of a noticeable affect I am well suited as an interpreter between southerners and northerners.

Isn't that interesting?
You and I look at the same data.
You and I listen to the same people.

You and I come up with very different numbers.
When asked, "How many languages do The People speak?"

You come up with half a dozen or so.
My answer was, "X<1"

It is not true of All US Americans.
It is true of many.

What you see as a charming dialect I see as offensive willful ignorance.

Of course, I can barley understand the English; And; They are the authorities on English!

Spoiler:
No fucking wonder people will not talk to me.
I say things like, X<1.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:28 pm UTC

mikmaxs wrote:I was always bothered by this one. People react in that way because unlike the other skills mentioned, (with the exception of learning a foreign language, in some cases,) you are not forced to study it for 13 years along with other subjects.

I hope you mean unlike other subjects you are forced to study it for 13 years. It seems silly to spend 13 years on teaching every kid to cook (they should be able to cook a proper meal for themselves after about a year of teaching...). I think a lot of kids are forced to study how to play an instrument for 13 years though, just not generally by governments.
mikmaxs wrote:I will heartily agree that everyone should know basic mathematics, but unless you enjoy it or intend to go into a career involving it, there is no reason to learn really advanced math. Just like you should know how to prepare a meal, but you don't need to be able to fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds or bottle your own wine or serve a five start six course meal unless you enjoy it.

I don't think there are a lot of countries where children have to learn really advance maths, I only had to learn basic calculus, algebra and geometry, but nothing too advanced. I would have preferred learning to cook a six course meal over learning French during my secondary education, cooking is a lot more fun than talking to people who really don't want to talk to you because your French is not at the level of a native speaker, but that was probably your point. I wouldn't want to kill, cook or eat the chicken though. Maths on the other hand was fun, it was like a puzzle you needed to solve at school, but a lot of kids didn't like it :(.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby addams » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:51 pm UTC

Pink Shiny Rose?
No. Mikmaxs.

Everything on your list, Someone can do.
Except; fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds

Where the Hell did that idea come from?
Fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds?

Is that a direct correlation between what The Math Mind can do and what we Lesser Mortals can do?
We can do all those other things. I can not nor have I ever met anyone that can, fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds.

I have met The Math Mind. What a great mind it is, too.
I am not a one of The Math Minds. I like to go along for the ride.

It is like speaking French fluently. I never have and never will.
Some French speaking people are so kind. They let me say the words I know.

Then they get on with the business of having a good time.
I like to go along for the ride.

Math Mind and French Speakers. That I can understand.
That fabricating a chicken in thirty seconds. That is difficult without a computer.

Even with a computer, that chicken with all of its charm, will not become 3D.
The wine is Real. To someone some where.
The six course mean is Real. To someone some where.

That geometry can become Real. It is used to build Bridges and Bridges take longer than 30 seconds.
The idea of Chicken is 30 seconds bothers me. Who can do that in 3D? Chickens take time to build.

Unbuilding a chicken in 30 seconds is fairly easy.
Destruction is always easier than Creation.
.................oops...................
Unequal comparisons.
Destruction is easier than Construction.

Both can be dangerous. (to the chicken?)
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby PinkShinyRose » Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:07 pm UTC

addams wrote:Pink Shiny Rose?

PinkRose would be far too common, so I added a pokémon reference (the rose wouldn't normally be pink ;)).

EDIT:
addams wrote:Everything on your list, Someone can do.
Except; fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds

I wanted to say I'd love to be able to fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds (or fabricate a chicken at all really, preferably within a reasonable timespan), but I thought that would make my post too critical of a new users posts language use (also considering what else I posted)... It would be great though, it's so difficult to even grow a piece of a single tissue in a petridish, fabricating chickens would be great (but that could be my geekiness for these non-ecology biology things talking).

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby addams » Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:51 am UTC

PinkShinyRose wrote:
Pink Shiny Rose?

PinkRose would be far too common, so I added a pokémon reference (the rose wouldn't normally be pink ;)).

EDIT:
addams wrote:Everything on your list, Someone can do.
Except; fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds

I wanted to say I'd love to be able to fabricate a chicken in thirty seconds (or fabricate a chicken at all really, preferably within a reasonable timespan), but I thought that would make my post too critical of a new users posts language use (also considering what else I posted)... It would be great though, it's so difficult to even grow a piece of a single tissue in a petridish, fabricating chickens would be great (but that could be my geekiness for these non-ecology biology things talking).

Making a chicken is pretty easy.
All ya' need is a fertal egg.

Get a dozen. To get one to become a full grown tame chicken it is going to take about six months.
Not all of them like people. If the chicken does not like you, you can like it.
Spoiler:
with dumplings.


The thirty second time requirement is too strict. Six months is a better number.

I am sorry. I may have derailed the tread.
Back to what we know about The World and if we should be forced to know it.

Algebra? French? How to tame a Chicken?
Algebra is the better thing to know.

I have it on good authority:
You can not teach algebra to Dogs.
I bet you cant teach it to Chickens, either.

People Can learn it. I did, a little.
It was not as hard as the 9 times tables.

That is arrhythmic and it is hard!
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby jewish_scientist » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:24 am UTC

Schools spreading socialism by teaching the "distributive property" wrote:This is actually a pretty common and depressing refrain we hear about mathematics from all sorts of people from all walks of life: that some bit of mathematics isn't important to teach people and isn't necessary to know in real life. It's similar to the trope that "most math is done by calculators or computers," and therefore it's not really so fundamental to learn it anymore. This is similar to saying that "most writing is done by printers" or "most music is made by electronic speakers," and therefore it's not so important to teach people grammar or the arts---except that nobody ever says anything this patently stupid, unless they're saying it about mathematics.


I have not even read the full article. I had to stop in the middle and post this here.

EDIT: Now that I am done I went back and followed the links. Ultimately, they did not lead to anything solid. I would take this with some salt, especially since this site is fairly left leaning.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:35 am UTC

HungryHobo wrote:back in school I remember coming up some steps for some specific calculations that were far faster and simpler than the book way.

As it happened the same problem came up in Math, chemistry and physics.

My chemistry teacher was a little dubious but ran a range of numbers through it and got correct values so accepted it as probably correct.

My physics teacher helped me prove it correct.

At the time my maths teacher was one of those awful ones: couldn't add a pair of 2 digit numbers without a calculator. For some people that's not too big a problem. For a math teacher that's inexcusable. She just got angry that I wasn't doing it the way the book said. That woman hated me, she seemed to take offense at the fact that I could just have the answer to problems, would "mix up" my marks with the people above me and bellow me on the list so that I'd be marked as geting far lower grades than I had. Took even more offense at the fact that I could read said list upsidown.


In fairness to your maths teacher, there are some points where the goal is not to solve the problems in front of you, but to practice the skills that can be used to solve problems where you can't check your answer by using a different method. Of course, a good teacher would have helped you prove your method and explained why it doesn't work in general, or, at the least, that you have to do it the official way for the exam. Get far enough through the subject, and you can solve that sort of problem however you want (it's assumed that you can solve it reliably and people are more interested in you knowing what to do with the answer once you get it...)

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby svenman » Sun Sep 24, 2017 1:51 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:...

You do realize that you replied to a five-year-old post, right?
Mostly active on the One True Thread.
If you need help understanding what's going on there, the xkcd Time Wiki may help.

Addams didn't die! But will Addams have a place to live? You can help!

Randallspeed to all blitzers on the One True Thread!

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:10 pm UTC

svenman wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
HungryHobo wrote:...

You do realize that you replied to a five-year-old post, right?

I thought it was only 4 years old. And since the thread had already been necro'ed...


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