Category Archives: Mathematics

A Friday Visit From the Math Lady

Dear Readers Welcome!  Before we begin I’ve got a little video for you where I discuss the Math Lady and a few other things.

Well apparently the Math Lady was walking by the blog  just now, and stopped in because she smelled the pop tarts in the toaster. Doggone it!   Now I’m afraid she’s going to want to give us a math lesson . . . sigh . . . .

Okay Math Lady, we’re ready for our math lesson, but try to make it short because today’s Friday and, unlike you, we have other things we’d like to do today besides math.

Suzie needs to lose 14 pounds to fit into her new prom dress by Saturday so she can go to the prom with Stupid Chuck.  In order to lose one pound, Suzie must burn off 3500 calories.  If Suzie burns 4 calories ironing a blouse and 3 calories rinsing and spitting how many blouses will Suzie have to iron by Saturday?  How much will she have to rinse and spit?  Round up to the nearest dress size.

a) 1,000

b) 4 gallons of salt water

c) Size 14

Suzie’s boyfriend, Stupid Chuck, stupidly brings Suzie 27  jelly donuts for Suzie to eat while she irons her blouses.  If Suzie eats two jelly donuts at 760 calories each and only burns 4 calories ironing a blouse while she eats them, how many blouses will Suzie have to throw away due to jelly donut stains?   How many times did Stupid Chuck’s mother drop him on his head when he was a baby?

a) 1000

b) 4 gallons of salt water

c) Stupid Chuck’s mother lost count

When Saturday came, Suzie had gained 100 pounds thanks to Stupid Chuck and his jelly donuts and Suzie’s newly acquired aversion to burning calories by rinsing and spitting.   If Suzie’s mother bought 2 yards of material for every pound Suzie gained to enlarge s Suzie’s dress, and each yard costs \$1.27, and Suzie’s mother had to hire a hit man to get rid of Stupid Chuck right after the prom, how much money did the whole prom dress fiasco cost Suzie’s mother?

a) 1000

b) 4 gallons of salt water

c) Suzie’s Mother didn’t keep the receipts but says it was well worth whatever it cost

d) Stupid Chuck’s mother agrees.

Well, now, that wasn’t so bad, was it Dear Readers?  Who knew you could lose so much weight ironing blouses, raise your hand?  Oh I see everybody left already.  Well, frankly I don’t blame you.

Until next time . . . I love you

Another Visit from The Math Lady

Hello Dear Readers!  There are some things in life that we must do even though we would rather be doing something else.  Anything else.  Well today  is one of those days.  It seems the Math Lady has made an unexpected visit to the blog!  She’s waiting outside the blog door and I’m afraid we really have no choice now but to let her in . . . sigh . . .

Well, hello Math Lady!  What a surprise!  What’s that?  You want us to pick up our pencils and answer the problems to the best of our abilities?  Well okay.

Frieda’s mother, Ann, gave Frieda \$5.00 for her birthday.  Frieda’s step-mother, Nan gave Frieda \$6.00 for her birthday.  When Frieda’s father’s mistress, Claudia, found out Frieda’s mother gave her \$5.00 and Frieda’s step mother gave her \$6.00, Claudia gave Frieda \$100.00 for her birthday. When Frieda’s father’s part-time girlfriend, Maureen, found out Frieda’s father’s mistress,Claudia, had given Frieda \$100.00 for her birthday, Maureen paid to have Frieda flown to Disney World. Disney World is 3060 miles from Frieda’s house.  How many women was Frieda’s father involved with and which one did Frieda like the best?

a) A buck 20

b) Nan

c) 3060 miles

D) Now calm down Claudia

Frieda’s father owes Frieda’s mother \$12,060.73 in child support. Frieda’s father also owes Frieda’s step mother, Nan, \$8,437.14 in alimony.  Frieda’s father owes his mistress, Claudia, \$17,543.22 in blackmail money, and Maureen, Frieda’s father’s part-time girlfriend wants Frieda’s father to reimburse her \$6,342. 21 for flying Frieda to Disney World for her birthday. How much money will Frieda’s father have to embezzle from the bank he works at to pay everyone off? Round up to the nearest dollar.

a) A buck 20

b) Claudia

c) 3060 miles

D) Put the gun down Claudia

Frieda’s father has been in jail for 374 days while awaiting his embezzlement trial.  Frieda’s father’s attorney thinks Frieda’s father will be sentenced to 7 years in prison without a plea bargain and 3 years in prison with a plea bargain.  If the judge accepts Frieda’s father’s plea bargain deal, and subtracts the amount of time Frieda’s father has already served in jail so far, how many hours altogether will Frieda’s father have served when he is released from prison in 2017? Round up to the nearest year.

a) a buck 20

b) Claudia

c) 3060 miles

d) Somebody call an ambulance, Claudia just accidentally shot herself in the foot

And there you have it, Dear Readers!  The Math Lady sincerely hopes these story problems have been helpful to you mathematically.  Oh, and if you answered d to any of the above, please stay after class as the police would like to have a word with you.

Until next time . . . I love you

A Visit from the Math Lady

Hello Dear Readers!  After much  coaxing, congealing, and coagulating I am happy to report that I have finally managed to talk  The Math Lady into stopping by for a visit.

She has agreed to help us sharpen our math skills by presenting us with a few story problems.  The Math Lady would like us to pick up our pencils now and answer the following problems to the best of our abilities:

Wendy, Jennifer and their friends Enrique, Adonis and Fred are going camping for a week in the Grand Canyon. Enrique is bringing along his pet pig, Howard, who is Enrique’s best friend but who doesn’t care much for Wendy, Jennifer or Adonis.   Adonis is bringing his goat, Peppy, and his chicken, Victoria.  Peppy and Victoria are best friends with Fred, Adonis, and Wendy, but Jennifer and Howard think they are annoying. (By the way has anybody seen Enrique?)  Fred is bringing his duck, George, who isn’t anybody’s best friend due to a rough childhood.  How many friends are going camping for a week in the Grand Canyon?

A)  Chocolate Pudding

B) One million trillion billion

C) Yes

D) Hey wait!  Has anybody seen Enrique?

Wendy, Jennifer and their friends with benefits Adonis and Fred have been camping for a week in the Grand Canyon.  Last night while they were all sitting around the campfire, they saw Enrique who weighs 172 pounds fall into the Grand Canyon at a velocity of 150 mph.  The backpack he was wearing weighed 28 pounds before he drank the 17 cans of beer contained inside.  Each can weighs 13 ounces when full but only 1 ounce when empty. If the wind velocity was 17 mph, how long did it take Enrique to reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

A) Chocolate pudding

B) One billion trillion million

C) Yes

D) Hey look, it’s Enrique!

Wendy and Jennifer are each pregnant with triplets.  Their doctor says they can only gain 40 pounds each.  If Jennifer and Wendy eat one pig named Howard, one goat named Peppy, one chicken named Victoria and one duck named George for a combined calorie intake of 150,328 calories.  How many pounds will Wendy and Jennifer weigh when they arrive at the delivery room at 3:52 p.m. Eastern Standard Time?

A) Chocolate pudding

B) One trillion billion million

C) Yes

D) Hey wait.  Has anybody seen Fred and Adonis?

And there you have it, Dear Readers!  The Math Lady sincerely hopes these story problems have been helpful to you mathematically.  Oh, and if you answered A, B C or D to any of the above, please stay after class as The Math Lady would like to have a word with you. Good luck!

Until Next time . . . I love you

Fish it from the Archives Friday: The Lighter Side of The 2012 Apocalypse

Hello Dear Readers! Here’s a little something I fished from the archives for you that I hope you will enjoy, because sometimes — in order to appreciate the weekend a little more — it’s good to remember, “Yay! We’re not dead yet!”

The Lighter Side of the 2012 Apocalypse

Getting Through 2012

I’m planning to live at least until age 90, and I better not be disappointed or there’s going to be trouble.  (What kind of trouble and with whom is yet to be determined.) Since I’m going to be 60 soon, I figure I’ve got the last third of my life still to go.  Assuming, of course, we get through 2012 okay.

Were the Mayan’s Just Nervous Nellies?

I’m banking on the fact that the Mayans – who got us all worried about 2012 in the first place – were simply Nervous Nellie types who were an easily embarrassed, socially-awkward group of people.  Perhaps what THEY would consider an apocalyptic nightmare, WE would consider nothing more than an awkward situation.

“Does this hat and scarf combo look like an apocalyptic nightmare? Be honest now”

Crunching My Own Numbers

I suppose this is as good a time as any to confess that when it comes to theories about time, space and things of that ilk; I prefer to crunch all my own numbers. I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way.  And my numbers don’t mind being crunched either.  They can stay flat for days and spring right back into their original shapes the minute I remove the rock.

The Number Zero

Take the number zero, for instance.  Any third-grade mathematician will tell you that if you multiply any number by zero you will get zero.

Just for Argument’s Sake

So let us say, for argument’s sake, that you have seven oranges.  Let’s also say, for argument’s sake, that oranges give you a rash so you won’t be eating any during this demonstration.

Let’s also say, as well, that you live in an alternate universe so as not to complicate things with the pesky laws of physics and other overly fussy things like that.

Let’s also say, for argument’s sake that oranges are dangerous.  (Sorry to be doing all these things for argument’s sake, but argument tends to pitch a fit when things aren’t done for its sake.)

Dangerous Oranges

Why are we making the oranges dangerous?  Because, Dear Reader, we’re going to need some motivation for making them disappear.

That’s right, I said disappear! So let’s lay all our oranges out on the table.  Just in a straight line.  Nothing fancy.  Don’t let any of them roll off.  Now run and get a marking pen and next to the seven oranges write neatly: 7 x 0 = 0.  HA!!   Now, mathematically, you have zero oranges!

So where did all the oranges go?

I’ll bet you my entire life savings that some crazy, socially-awkward Mayan in an alternate universe  ate them.

But before you take that bet, be forewarned! I crunch all my own numbers.

Until next time . . . I love you

Fish it from the Archives Friday: The Gravity Situation

Hello Dear Readers! And welcome to FRIDAY, the laziest day of the week here at the blog.  As I see it we have  two choices: 1) string random words together in an effort to fill up space or 2) copy and paste words that have been randomly strung together at a previous date. Let’s go with the latter,  the former  the copy and paste! Here’s something called:

The Gravity Situation

When it comes to our feet meeting the ground, there’s more than meets the eye.

That’s because, frankly, I don’t think they’ve got the law of gravity completely right.

You always hear scientists talking about tears in the ripple of time, somehow making it possible to suddenly travel backwards or forwards in the timeline.

But what if there was a way to put a tear in the ripple of gravity, somehow making it possible for every single thing in the universe to suddenly drop those last ten pounds.

Now that’s what I call a natural law with some legs!

Allow me to get a tad theoretical here, if you will be so kind.

Let’s suppose I weigh 500 pounds.  Or better yet let’s suppose YOU weight 500 pounds . . . alright!  Now we’re getting somewhere.

Question Number One:

What we want to know is how can a person, such as yourself, who weighs a whopping 500 pounds coerce gravity in such a way that it would allow you to instantaneously go from a 500-pound Tub-of-Lard to a 115-pound Tub-of-Vegetable-Oil in a matter of nano-seconds?

The Answer to Question Number One:

The Answer is:  fool around with some equations until you find a frayed edge in the ripple of gravity, give it a good yank and hello skinny jeans!

Question Number Two:

Oh, rest assured, I can hear your little voice in my head asking, “How can an ordinary layperson, such as myself –someone who is still shaky on the multiplication tables – go from being a Mathematic Ne’er-do-well to a Mathematic Nerd-do-well with nothing to work with but  a dream, a hand-held calculator and a 500-pound friend-in-need, such as yourself?  Good question!  In fact, I am officially making it Question Number Three!

Question Number Three:

See above.

Let’s Talk Specifics

To figure out how to tear gravity using mathematics, the first order of the day is, of course, a large pepperoni pizza with olives.  Then settle down to some serious ciphering and re-ciphering  by deciphering the numbers and letters previously scribbled on a blackboard during a deep sleep.  This is a challenge if ever there was one.

But keep at it until you are able to find a loose thread either in the ripple of gravity, or failing that, in the cable- knit sweater you’re wearing.  Then pull the thread gingerly at first, then saltly and pepperly after that.

Before you know it, you’ll have a tear in the ripple of gravity as big as the great outdoors!

After that,  it’s just a matter of finding a sale on skinny jeans.  And to that noble end, I heartily wish you the best of luck!

Until next time . . . I love you

Fished From the Archives Friday: “5″ The Perfect Answer to All Your Problems

Last night I dreamed my kids were little again,and  I was driving them to school.  Naturally, I was driving backwards, and when I tried to stop to drop the kids off, my brakes wouldn’t work and we just kept on going right past the school backwards.

You’d think panic would have been in order.  But no, instead, I thought, gee, our house is a lot closer to the school when you drive backwards.  It’s much farther when you drive frontwards (if a word).  How much farther?  My brain, Peanuts, didn’t specify.  You see, my brain, Peanuts, is not very good with numbers and either am I.

Oh, I know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide just fine unless you’re one of those perfectionists who expect the right answer every time — exactly.  I say what’s wrong with eventually?

It’s not that I don’t like numbers.  Individually they’re fine.  In first grade, I remember enjoying the process of learning how to write numbers.  My teacher said when you write a 5, you make the bottom part first and then add the flag on top.

So number 5 had a flag, eh?   I rubbed my first grade hands together; finally, we were getting a glimpse into the personal lives of numbers!

On a scale of 1 to 10, the number 5 quickly became my number 1 number.  And the confusion didn’t end there.

“I have a life!”

Soon we were having numbers interact, but not in a fun way.  Maybe because you can never please numbers.  They are very set in their ways.  Everything has to be just so.  It was all just a little too cut and dried for my tastes.

Later, they tried to trick us into liking numbers by making up story problems.

Megan’s school is 4 blocks away.  Megan’s Mother is driving Megan to school backwards.  Her brakes are out.  How long will it take Megan to eat the 5 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in her lunch box and how much will she weigh when  her mother comes to pick her up driving  frontwards (god willing) when school is out at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Anyway, by the time I got to ninth grade algebra at Fisher Junior High School, I was officially the dumbest student in the class.  Mr. Van Curen tried to teach me algebra, but I was a hopeless case.

He’d say A = 12 and I’d say why don’t you just leave out the A altogether and just say 12?  To which Mr. Van Curen would furrow his dandruff sprinkled brow and say again, Yes, but  A = 12.

I hate you Mr. Van Curen.

Until next time . . . I love you – unless you’re Mr. Van Curen

Explaining My Husband, 37

I just did the math.  I’ve been married to my husband now for 84 years.  Ok, I admit, I’ve never pretended to be very good at math, well, in all honesty, I have pretended; but it never did me any good.

Now where was I?  Ah yes, my husband of 84 years.

Actually now that I recalculate I find that we have only been married 37 years. (Which is why I always call him 37. It just saves time.).  Anyway, in all those 37 years,  it occurs to me I’ve never really attempted to describe him (except that time to the police).

Here’s my beloved 37 explaining something.

I suppose the most dominant trait about my husband is that he is an engineer.

This means that if he is asked a simple question about, say, fractions, his eyes will light up like a super nova, and he will begin to answer your question by going back to the days of Pythagoras, and then work his way up the timeline of  history’s great moments in math one by one.

He’ll often get so involved  in his explanation that he will fail to notice that the person who posed the question (me) ducked out to go to the grocery store right after Sir Isaac Newton was elected Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1669 and popped back in just before Einstein figured out E = MC 2.

The only way you can tell when he’s done talking is when he says, “What was the question again?”

Sir Issac Newton

Engineers are trained to analyze the efficacy of systems as they pertain to the outcome desired.

This means they will give you a million reasons why something won’t work and none why something will.

That’s why, if I want something done around the house in this lifetime, I simply pretend that I am going to attempt the project on my own.

Believe me, if you want to get the attention of an engineer quickly, simply put a big role of duck tape under your arm and ask him if he’s seen the tape measure.  If that doesn’t get him away from his spreadsheet nothing will.

Another thing about engineers is that they are definitely not clothes horses (or even clothes goats).

“And there’s even a place for my pocket protector!”

That’s why, if you were to peek inside an engineer’s closet it would not be unusual to see his 1967-issued, navy uniform (engineers never clean out their closets) right next to his work shirts — all four of them — two of which he considers brand new because he thinks he bought them four years ago when it was really seven.

And the only difference between his good pair of  jeans and his bad pair of jeans is that the bad ones have holes that show and the good ones have holes that don’t.

But I would have to admit that being married to my husband, the engineer, has had its advantages.

First of all, if I need an accurate measurement, I know my husband will come through with flying colors.

Secondly, I’ve learned that pretty much everything that exists in the universe, real or imagined, has a scientific explanation.

And finally, and most importantly, not only can I count on my husband through thick and thin; but also, I can count on him to calculate just exactly how thick and just exactly how thin right down to the nearest millimeter.

Until next time. . . I love  you

The Gravity Situation

When it comes to our feet meeting the ground, there’s more than meets the eye.

That’s because, frankly, I don’t think they’ve got the law of gravity completely right.

When it comes to the natural laws of the universe, there seems to be a lot of perforated lines.

You always hear scientists talking about tears in the ripple of time, somehow making it possible to suddenly travel backwards or forwards in the timeline.

But what, pray tell, if there was a way to put a tear in the ripple of gravity, somehow making it possible for every single thing in the universe to suddenly drop those last ten pounds.

Now that’s what I call a natural law with some legs!

Allow me to get a tad theoretical here, if you will be so kind.

Let’s suppose I weigh 500 pounds.  Or better yet let’s suppose YOU weight 500 pounds . . . alright!  Now we’re getting somewhere.

Question Number One:

What we want to know is how can a person, such as yourself, who weighs a whopping 500 pounds coerce gravity in such a way that it would allow you to instantaneously go from a 500-pound Tub-of-Lard to a 115-pound Tub-of-Vegetable-Oil in a matter of nano-seconds?

The Answer to Question Number One:

The Answer is:  fool around with some equations until you find a frayed edge in the ripple of gravity, give it a good yank and hello skinny jeans.

Question Number Two:

Oh, rest assured, I can hear your little voice in my head asking, “How can an ordinary layperson, such as myself –someone who is still shaky on the multiplication tables – go from being a Mathematic Ne’er-do-well to a Mathematic Nerd-do-well with nothing to work with but  a dream, a hand-held calculator and a 500-pound friend-in-need, such as yourself?  Good question!  In fact, I am officially making it Question Number Three!

See above.

Let’s Talk Specifics

To figure out how to tear gravity using mathematics, the first order of the day is, of course, a large pepperoni pizza with olives.  Then settle down to some serious ciphering and re-ciphering  by deciphering the numbers and letters previously scribbled on a blackboard during a deep sleep.  This is a challenge if ever there was one.

But keep at it until you are able to find a loose thread either in the ripple of gravity, or failing that, in the cable- knit sweater you’re wearing.  Then pull the thread gingerly at first, then saltly and pepperly after that.

Before you know it, you’ll have a tear in the ripple of gravity as big as the great outdoors!

After that,  it’s just a matter of finding a sale on skinny jeans.  And to that noble end, I heartily wish you the best of luck!

Until next time . . . I love you

The Lighter Side of the 2012 Apocalyptic Nightmare

Getting Through 2012

I’m planning to live at least until age 90, and I better not be disappointed or there’s going to be trouble.  (What kind of trouble and with whom is yet to be determined.) Since I’m going to be 60 soon, I figure I’ve got the last third of my life still to go.  Assuming, of course, we get through 2012 OK.

Were the Mayan’s Just Nervous Nellies?

I’m banking on the fact that the Mayans – who got us all worried about 2012 in the first place – were simply Nervous Nellie types who were an easily-embarrassed, socially-awkward group of people.  Perhaps what THEY would consider an apocalyptic nightmare, WE would consider nothing more than an awkward situation.

“Does this hat and scarf combo look like an apocalyptic nightmare? Be honest!”

Crunching My Own Numbers

I suppose this is as good a time as any to confess that when it comes to theories about time, space and things of that ilk; I prefer to crunch all my own numbers. I guess I’m just old-fashioned that way.  And my numbers don’t mind being crunched either.  They can stay flat for days and spring right back into their original shapes the minute I remove the rock.

My Trusty Fingers

I guess you could say that I like to look at numbers from a different perspective.  One in which there are no hard and fast rules.  I prefer my number rules to be easy and slow.  Which is why, no matter how many mathematicians I’m with at any given moment, I still prefer to perform all my own number crunching using nothing more than my brain, a sharpened pencil and my trusty fingers.

The Number Zero

Take the number zero, for instance.  Any third-grade mathematician will tell you that if you multiply any number by zero you will get zero.

Just for Argument’s Sake

So let us say, for argument’s sake,  that you have seven oranges.  Let’s also say, for argument’s sake, that oranges give you a rash so you won’t be eating any during this demonstration.  Let’s also say, as well, that you live in an alternate universe so as not to complicate things with the pesky laws of physics and other overly-fussy things like that. Let’s also say, for argument’s sake that oranges are dangerous.  (Sorry to be doing all these things for argument’s sake, but argument tends to pitch a fit when things aren’t done for its sake.)

Dangerous Oranges

Why are we making the oranges dangerous?  Because, Dearest Reader, we’re going to need some motivation for making them disappear.

That’s right, I said disappear! So let’s lay all our oranges out on the table.  Just in a straight line.  Nothing fancy.  Don’t let any of them roll off.  Now run and get a marking pen and next to the seven oranges write neatly: 7 x 0 = 0.  HA!!   Now, mathematically, you have zero oranges!

So where did all the oranges go?

I’ll bet you my entire life savings that some crazy, socially-awkward Mayan in an alternate universe  ate them.

But before you take that bet, be forewarned! I crunch all my own numbers.

Until next time . . . I love you