1050: "Forgot Algebra"
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Wow, this comic sure had fed a lot of discussion!
I don't think that Randall was saying that people should not disagree with the way math is taught or the alleged necessity to learn it.
I think this comic is about people who didn't learn (or sometimes didn't care for) some particular subject, and are happy to say that they didn't need it in order to live their lives. Instead, they don't know what they are missing, and dismiss it as superfluous.
For example, I don't like to drink beer and I don't care to know about car models, and people around think that I am missing a great deal of the world around me. But they also don't know what they are missing because they can't understand english, including XKCD comics, and still, they are happy with their lives...
This is the beauty in the human being, we can live our lives with just a minimum of knowledge in any field. Of course, the world would be better if this minimum was set higher...
I don't think that Randall was saying that people should not disagree with the way math is taught or the alleged necessity to learn it.
I think this comic is about people who didn't learn (or sometimes didn't care for) some particular subject, and are happy to say that they didn't need it in order to live their lives. Instead, they don't know what they are missing, and dismiss it as superfluous.
For example, I don't like to drink beer and I don't care to know about car models, and people around think that I am missing a great deal of the world around me. But they also don't know what they are missing because they can't understand english, including XKCD comics, and still, they are happy with their lives...
This is the beauty in the human being, we can live our lives with just a minimum of knowledge in any field. Of course, the world would be better if this minimum was set higher...
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Seems like Miss Lenhart's children have had a hard time at school too: http://xkcd.com/416/
I agree, the "fun part" (e.g. fractals) starts after what you learn in school.
HungryHobo wrote:that "math" has no beauty, that math has no real complexitry. it's just join the dots drudgery.
I agree, the "fun part" (e.g. fractals) starts after what you learn in school.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Endless_Nameless wrote:This is the beauty in the human being, we can live our lives with just a minimum of knowledge in any field. Of course, the world would be better if this minimum was set higher...
That, that right there is the problem. The assumption that if only everyone knew more about what you love then surely they'd love it too.
if only they knew the tase of a good cider, if only they knew about the sort of art I love, if only they knew the beauty of fractals, if only they'd read my favorite book. if only they knew the wonder of ...... etc
the problem is that isn't the case. the fact that so few understand this is a testament to the stunning self absorbtion of the sort of people who set these requirements.
as *Kat* illustrated so eloquently their lives aren't improved when you set the minimum higher. their lives are made worse. you don't add joy and understanding, you add stress and noise.
the world would be worse because for the vast majority all you add is suffering, not joy, wonder or understanding.
the price is paid in teenagers cracking from the stress, having breakdowns, cutting themselves, bursting into tears, committing suicide, just burning out or utterly hating a subject they could have vaguely liked or merely not cared about.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
tlmorgen wrote:One thing I felt hasn't been made clear so far is the difference between "arithmetic" and "algebra".
Elementary algebra, what it seems the character is referring to, should not be confused with arithmetic. Just because the two share the same operations on numbers does not make their spirit the same.
Absolutely.
Finding a bargain while shopping does not require symbolic math, such as algebra; arithmetic will suffice. On the other hand, proving that the growth in price of your favorite chips is exponential versus linear would benefit greatly from some algebra.
Absolutely not. Arithmetic works purely with numbers; it has no concept of variables/unknowns. When you ask a question like "how many pounds of potatoes can I purchase for $1 if they're 39 cents per pound?" you're introducing an unknown and solving for it. That's algebra. You know those word problems you learned between arithmetic and algebra? They're actually elementary algebra.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
HungryHobo wrote:That, that right there is the problem. The assumption that if only everyone knew more about what you love then surely they'd love it too.
Yeah, true. Also a bit of a dilemma, I think: you still want subjects to be taught (and curricula written) by enthusiastic people who like their subject and try to draw people along with it.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
HungryHobo wrote:the price is paid in teenagers cracking from the stress, having breakdowns, cutting themselves, bursting into tears, committing suicide, just burning out or utterly hating a subject they could have vaguely liked or merely not cared about.
I was with you 'til the last sentence. While the stress of being forced to take subjects they aren't good at, don't like and won't use nodoubt doesn't help, I think the problem is that teenagers are so completely, systematically isolated from the real world by the artificial "honey I warehoused the kids!" school environment.
The bizarre curriculum effects we see are a consequence of that deeper cultural malaise (though I agree with you: they don't help.)
Randall's comic, if it hasn't been pointed out already, is making the same argument made recently by a math teacher (somewhere online, which I can't find...) We teach any number of "useless" subjects and kids rarely complain that they "have" to take band or something similar, because they don't. Music, art, even bits of history and literature and foreign languages various sciences are optional. Math isn't, and that's a tragedy. The question is, how come?
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I'm surprised at the amount of controversy this comic has brought: I thought there would be a lot more yessaying, since the comic defends one of its biggest nevertobetouched paragons of perfection that is maths. I think there are definitely very relevant questions raised by the comic, but it's the air of condescension that turns the message so bitter and hard to digest. It's not whether maths are being badly taught, or the fact that not everyone has to love maths, or the fact that maths definitely are hard to learn or teach: the message here is that, apparently, people who dismiss maths are wrong, and that, apparently, albegra is every bit as essential and trivial as... cooking? No shit?
One thing that I think is missed out here: yes, we do use "algebra" when we're doing the most simple of calculations in our heads, but do we do it the same way we're taught at school? I was taught a very mechanical, systematic way of doing algebra, but in my head, I use far more intuitive "short cuts" when solving that kind of problem (I don't bother visualising an "x", for example). The maths that people do use are not necessarily the same maths that people are forced to learn. There are way too many subtleties in this case to reduce it to such a petty strawman argument such as this comic. And that's unfortunate, because I agree with Randall in several levels here.
One thing that I think is missed out here: yes, we do use "algebra" when we're doing the most simple of calculations in our heads, but do we do it the same way we're taught at school? I was taught a very mechanical, systematic way of doing algebra, but in my head, I use far more intuitive "short cuts" when solving that kind of problem (I don't bother visualising an "x", for example). The maths that people do use are not necessarily the same maths that people are forced to learn. There are way too many subtleties in this case to reduce it to such a petty strawman argument such as this comic. And that's unfortunate, because I agree with Randall in several levels here.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
All other arguments aside, when you HAVE kids you will become reacquainted with algebra.
The sheer amount of homework my kids bring home these days practically guarantees parental participation so you'll want to keep that slide rule handy.
The sheer amount of homework my kids bring home these days practically guarantees parental participation so you'll want to keep that slide rule handy.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Endless_Nameless wrote:Wow, this comic sure had fed a lot of discussion!
Compared to the one from two days ago, not especially.
Given that the highest rate of feedback is expected within the first 12 hours after the original post ...
Comparing times of first post per page to get an approximate rate of return for ALGEBRA to calculate math with ...
1049:
1 Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:10 pm UTC
2 Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:27 am UTC
3 Mon Apr 30, 2012 5:40 am UTC
4 Mon Apr 30, 2012 9:38 am UTC
5 Mon Apr 30, 2012 3:07 pm UTC
6 Mon Apr 30, 2012 7:24 pm UTC
7 Tue May 01, 2012 2:28 am UTC
8 Tue May 01, 2012 7:24 am UTC
9 Tue May 01, 2012 9:06 am UTC
10 Tue May 01, 2012 1:49 pm UTC
11 Tue May 01, 2012 4:51 pm UTC
12 Wed May 02, 2012 4:57 am UTC
1050:
1 Tue May 01, 2012 11:14 pm UTC
2 Wed May 02, 2012 2:56 am UTC
3 Wed May 02, 2012 6:44 am UTC < Which is your post, oddly enough. See what I did there ...
WingDings follow ... normalized at zero=First!, epoch rates abbreviated to first post per page. Lower slope grade equivalent to faster posting rate.
i.e. this comic is less worthy of your comment than the previous comic, which didn't receive your comment.
Last edited by JimsMaher on Wed May 02, 2012 12:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
herbys wrote:If you haven't solved for X at any point in the last few years, you most likely achieved suboptimal solutions to almost every single problem you faced. I hope you are proud of your suboptimal life.
Life isn't about getting everything correct. You can't be correct. You can only be close.
If every parameter in a given "formula" is a random variable (with an advertised expected value and an unadvertised variance), then your result is also a random variable. But since you probably didn't treat your parameters like random variables, your result isn't even the expected value of the random variable representing the result. And even if you did, your result is still a random variable.
e.g. Your fuel gauge is guessing. Your speedometer is guessing. So any calculated distance that you think you can travel is only a guess.
And the average human has had a few years to get pretty damn good at guessing.
Last edited by ImSpartacus on Wed May 02, 2012 12:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I'm an Engineer...I solve for X daily
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Invertin wrote:Hey, Math Teachers don't always get to choose what they teach. Maybe it's different in America but my teachers have openly acknowledged several times that they are teaching us what will get us grades so that we can actually get good jobs rather than what's important to know in general or interesting because there simply isn't enough time for both.
And that's pretty fucked up, don't you think?
javahead wrote:All other arguments aside, when you HAVE kids you will become reacquainted with algebra.
That's IF you have kids, and it's a circular argument anyway.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
martin878 wrote:AFAIK in the UK 'filing taxes' is something that a small proportion of the population have to do. It just comes out automatically. Is the process more manual in US? So manual that you're taught how to do it at school
The process is way more manual in the U.S. The government does withhold a certain amount of money from your paycheck, but this is almost never exactly the right amount. Therefore, every year, you have to file a form in which you calculate how much your tax liability really was.
As a general rule, the more complicated your financial situation is, the more complicated it is to file your taxes. There's a very simple onepage form for people who have no dependents and don't wish to take any itemized deductions, which most people could fill in 15 minutes. On the other end of the spectrum, some people have very complicated tax paperwork which can take hours to fill out.
One thing that complicates our tax code is that there are a number of "itemized deductions" that you can take to lower what the government considers your income to be. For example, if you pay interest on a mortgage, then some of that is deductible. You also have the option of forgoing all "itemized deductions" and taking the standard deduction, which is just a set amount. Many people, however, choose to calculate both of these and determine which reduces their tax liability the most.
Because filling out these forms can be challenging, most people with even mildly complicated taxes get some sort of help. One option is to buy a computer program (TurboTax is the most popular, I believe) every year that fills out the form for them. (You have to buy a new version every year, since the tax law changes every year.) But using these programs still take some time, since the program has to ask you all kinds of questions about your financial situation.
Another option, especially for people with very complicated taxes, is to hire a tax preparer to fill out these forms for you. Over half of taxpayers go this route.
And, oh yeah, to answer your question: I remember a day in 7th grade prealgebra when we filled out fictional 1040s.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Steve K wrote:Absolutely not. Arithmetic works purely with numbers; it has no concept of variables/unknowns. When you ask a question like "how many pounds of potatoes can I purchase for $1 if they're 39 cents per pound?" you're introducing an unknown and solving for it. That's algebra. You know those word problems you learned between arithmetic and algebra? They're actually elementary algebra.
Sure, I know the word problems, and I have spent bit of time learning to enjoy them and create new ones to help people learn math. A question I was hoping to inspire was "does the average person know these 'problems', or should they?" Moreover, by your logic, all arithmetic is actually algebra because the result of the operations is an "unknown". For example, $1 / $0.39 = X (pounds of potatoes in this case). This is, at least in my estimation, still arithmetic and still operates at a level of education that it seems we all agree on. Being able to understand what the four basic operations are and how they work doesn't appear to be part of the debate, and rightly so. Did algebra render that arithmetic example? I would concede that argument, but an analogy for that case is that I must learn scales to enjoy music (currently enjoying the previously posted Lockhart piece). I my feelings are, currently, that many people would be completely capable of employing certain maths without having been taught their "deeper philosophy". Maybe I only feel that way since I am already privileged with an overabundance of math...
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Relevant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbX44YSsQ2I
I am saddened that I've never had to use calculus since school. I feel like engineering reduces most such things to algebraic shortcuts?
I am saddened that I've never had to use calculus since school. I feel like engineering reduces most such things to algebraic shortcuts?
Last edited by endolith on Wed May 02, 2012 1:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Because I don’t think any technical job would even be possible without “solving for x”.
Agreed!
The fries machine operates for Z seconds, the burgers need to be flipped every Y seconds, for X duration, and the meal takes T seconds to combine and bag. What's the optimal order to operate and still manage to create the desired amount of each of these goods? I know it's a bit cynical, but a good burger tech has already worked this out and is one hell of a lot better than someone who does not think on those things.
The time and seasons go on, but all the rhymes and reasons are wrong
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.
I know I'll discover after its all said and done I should've been a nun.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
What if you are asked to solve for X in a foreign language?
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I'm a Latin teacher, and I struggle with this every day. Not only for my own language, but for the entire FL department, and other subjects mentioned here. Students don't understand the concepts like critical thinking, let alone why they might be valuable. So it falls to every teacher to justify not just their own subject, but everything taught in the school.
And yet, in my teacher training program, most of the elementary education majors would say the exact same things as my students! The people who are supposed to instill a love of learning in young children are clearly and plainly telling them that they hate math too, and it's boring or useless! That upsets me. If you don't have at least an appreciation for a wellrounded education, don't teach. At least don't teach elementary school, where we should be showing students how they learn, how they can enjoy school, and how good it feels to accomplish learning by your own effort.
Edit:
Also,
XII = X*IX
I think there's a problem?
And yet, in my teacher training program, most of the elementary education majors would say the exact same things as my students! The people who are supposed to instill a love of learning in young children are clearly and plainly telling them that they hate math too, and it's boring or useless! That upsets me. If you don't have at least an appreciation for a wellrounded education, don't teach. At least don't teach elementary school, where we should be showing students how they learn, how they can enjoy school, and how good it feels to accomplish learning by your own effort.
Edit:
Also,
Fire Brns wrote:What if you are asked to solve for X in a foreign language?
XII = X*IX
I think there's a problem?
Last edited by Carlomagno on Wed May 02, 2012 1:48 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Your.Master wrote:This is one of those comics that makes me wonder if I'm living in an alternate universe.
I have heard the same arguments against music, speaking a foreign language, etc.. i kind of think math got it relatively light compared to some other subjects.
As for cooking, I have to assume the comic means something else. Because I really don't think the same argument applies to cooking at all. Virtually everybody cooks at some time or another. Maybe not skillfully, but they do it.
More to the point, cooking IS math.
Disagree? You're cooking for yourself, and the best recipe you can find for what you're hungry for/what you have ingredients for serves three.
Y is the desired serving, X is the ingredient quanity listed on the recipe
So for each ingredient, y=3X Solve for y. And unless your recipe is in metric, you'll have to convert between imperial units of measurement for added fun.
Incidentally, this person who lives right on the Canadian border has never had much difficulty finding a few places to apply his one year of rudimentary college French. I imagine if I lived anywhere in the South, my semester of college Spanish would have come in equally handy. And I do play the recorder in a basic sort of way and have found a musical ear and a good ability to carry a tune invaluable at times, especially since I go to church in a small congregation. There's been more than a few times when my recorder was the only "pitch pipe" in the room.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Problem is, that if you live in a country (Greece in my case) that's literally swamped with illegal immigrants from the Middle East and Africa that work for a dish of lentils (and live on the street), you 've got to learn algebra in order to squeeze yourself in some university and be able to earn a living that allows you to afford a home and heating. All menial jobs in such countries are occupied by said immigrants, so even if you do want to do menial jobs, you can't find one that pays the bills. So Algebra, in a sense, is necessary to stay alive here.
Last edited by kurkosdr on Wed May 02, 2012 1:53 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
As a Land Surveyor, trigonometry is my life.
Geometry, calculus, leastsquares network regression, differential linear equations, these are a few of my favourite things!
music is not one of my strong suits.
Geometry, calculus, leastsquares network regression, differential linear equations, these are a few of my favourite things!
music is not one of my strong suits.
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
The comic may seem like a cheap shot, but a lot of trolling happens the other way round. And it hurts.
Applying rigorous methods to loose problems was a great part of what drew me to economics.
Coursework was full of questions that were solveable by creative application of high school maths. Naturally, we were expected to use the unsuited, overcomplicated and occasionally imprecise method that relied on having calculators or computers at the ready. An no, we weren't explicitly told to use a particular method.
Taking the "shortcut" was rarely accepted, cue second guessing whenever something seemed too easy...
And this isn't restricted to education. So many investment/pension plans are laughable to anyone who applies the tools they should have had since been 13 years old or so. The same may apply to public acceptance of government policies (not quite as egregious as there's usually a dimension to them that's not easily accessible to a mathematical approach).
Applying rigorous methods to loose problems was a great part of what drew me to economics.
Coursework was full of questions that were solveable by creative application of high school maths. Naturally, we were expected to use the unsuited, overcomplicated and occasionally imprecise method that relied on having calculators or computers at the ready. An no, we weren't explicitly told to use a particular method.
Taking the "shortcut" was rarely accepted, cue second guessing whenever something seemed too easy...
And this isn't restricted to education. So many investment/pension plans are laughable to anyone who applies the tools they should have had since been 13 years old or so. The same may apply to public acceptance of government policies (not quite as egregious as there's usually a dimension to them that's not easily accessible to a mathematical approach).
LEGO won't be ready for the average user until it comes preassembled, in a single unified theme, and glued together so it doesn't come apart.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
skpkzk2 wrote:I spent years and years being told how learning Latin would improve my English vocabulary. However, I used my english vocabulary to figure out the latin vocabulary. I'm not going to argue that learning the language was a bad idea, it probably improved my critical thinking skills and definitely gave me a better understanding of languages in general, but I absolutely despise that my teachers justified it the way they did.
As for math, I'm an engineer and I can safely say that, while I use higher math almost nonstop, its the arithmetic that is pointless. I spent all of 3rd and 4th grades learning multiplication tables and long division, neither of which I have found to be useful whatsoever. I feel like if elementary schools taught mathematical logic rather than drilling 6 X 7 = 42 into kids heads then a lot more people would enjoy math.
As an ordinary plebe, I've found knowing the multiplication tables as the single most valuable thing I learned in math class. It's a danged easy thing to take for granted, but not having to lean on a calculator every time a simple multiplication or division problem came up has helped me a great deal in the long run.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Carlomagno wrote:Fire Brns wrote:What if you are asked to solve for X in a foreign language?
XII = X*IX
I think there's a problem?
XIIX = X*IX or XVIII = X*IX
Cognito?
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
eran_rathan wrote:music is not one of my strong suits.
Probably just means you never took the trouble to really understand it.
I've found that music and logic go hand in hand a lot better than most mathohpiles are prepared to understand. There's some modern "musical" artists that give it a bad name, but as a field, it's extremely logical and symmetrical
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I opened this thread purely because I didn't see how people could possibly misconstrue it as something horrible and evil, but I knew someone must have managed it and I wanted to see. I was not disappointed.
Equis es cuatro.
Fire Brns wrote:What if you are asked to solve for X in a foreign language?
Equis es cuatro.
Not named Dennis Miller.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Dr_Revels wrote:I accompanied my fiance to a meet up with some high school friends she hadn't seen in 17 years, and this exact sentiment arose in the course of their reminiscing. She turned to me and said, "can you think of any time you have had to use algebra since high school?", but wasn't amused when I answered back, "yes, daily".
If context matters at all, my fiancee is a pediatrician and the other members of the table were a baker, a psychologist and a university administrator. I am a medical student.
If your fiancee does not use math daily, she's not much of an MD. Any doc who blindly trusts the poundstokg, then adjust for age, and calculate correct dosage in mg/mL sequence is headed for trouble.
And, yes, IAMTAP (married to a pediatrician)
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
cellocgw wrote:Dr_Revels wrote:I accompanied my fiance to a meet up with some high school friends she hadn't seen in 17 years, and this exact sentiment arose in the course of their reminiscing. She turned to me and said, "can you think of any time you have had to use algebra since high school?", but wasn't amused when I answered back, "yes, daily".
If context matters at all, my fiancee is a pediatrician and the other members of the table were a baker, a psychologist and a university administrator. I am a medical student.
If your fiancee does not use math daily, she's not much of an MD. Any doc who blindly trusts the poundstokg, then adjust for age, and calculate correct dosage in mg/mL sequence is headed for trouble.
And, yes, IAMTAP (married to a pediatrician)
Unless of course this person lived in, say, anywhere but the United States, in which case the conversion from imperial to metric is likely unnecessary.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Nobody yet posted a link to the famous exam problem "Find x" (I think), so here's one of many places to see the answer.
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_li ... ind_x.html
Now see how much fun math could have been, if only you were paying attention!
http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/law_li ... ind_x.html
Now see how much fun math could have been, if only you were paying attention!
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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Magnanimous wrote:This is why many mathematicians want reform of math education... the useful things are being buried under calculations. It is much more important for people to understand concepts:
As someone who took "gifted math" throughout school, and is good with concepts but can't calculate a tip without counting imaginary dots on each numeral, I somewhat disagree with that. Memorizing a lot of tables is actually useful.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I failed algebra twice in High School. The third, successful try was entirely a reflection of the gentle, selfdeprecating wit, countryfried humor and openhearted intelligence of Mr. Vep Hill. I still struggle with arithmetic, and can't remember what day it is, but I now work as a programmer and frolic in logicland every day.
My experience has been that much of the hatred that is directed toward maths is directly traceable to the asocial, cackhanded, bitter "smart guys" who end up teaching them. But then I'm a little butterfly who majored in English and only drifted into programming after that dirty dogooder Guido VanRossum sullied the world with Python. </chortle>
My experience has been that much of the hatred that is directed toward maths is directly traceable to the asocial, cackhanded, bitter "smart guys" who end up teaching them. But then I'm a little butterfly who majored in English and only drifted into programming after that dirty dogooder Guido VanRossum sullied the world with Python. </chortle>
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Well, in fairness it's not just algebra. Perhaps they should switch to teaching python. At least that way the math has an obvious and immediate application.
Was there a single book you read in school that you wouldn't have be more likely to appreciate ten years later, once you'd gathered enough experience to understand the context of the narrative?
Few people use even elementary level spelling and grammar. Computers do most of that work now —when spelling and grammar aren't intentionally being ignored. Nearly no one actually writes anything aside from their own signature in cursive. Many won't even touch a pen for any other purpose then signing a check.
All the world maps I studied in school left out half the world. They had giant red swaths labeled "USSR" but very little data aside from major cities in that region. I don't remember even China being separately delineated.
High school chemistry won't get you to the level of "meth cook". Physics didn't teach you how to not electrocute yourself when working on your car (assuming you own one old enough to work on its electrical system without the equipment needed to interact with its computer).
The only part of sexed (for those of us that got it) worth remembering was "use a condom".
And most people forget that faster then algebra.
Was there a single book you read in school that you wouldn't have be more likely to appreciate ten years later, once you'd gathered enough experience to understand the context of the narrative?
Few people use even elementary level spelling and grammar. Computers do most of that work now —when spelling and grammar aren't intentionally being ignored. Nearly no one actually writes anything aside from their own signature in cursive. Many won't even touch a pen for any other purpose then signing a check.
All the world maps I studied in school left out half the world. They had giant red swaths labeled "USSR" but very little data aside from major cities in that region. I don't remember even China being separately delineated.
High school chemistry won't get you to the level of "meth cook". Physics didn't teach you how to not electrocute yourself when working on your car (assuming you own one old enough to work on its electrical system without the equipment needed to interact with its computer).
The only part of sexed (for those of us that got it) worth remembering was "use a condom".
And most people forget that faster then algebra.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
pbnjstowell wrote:I feel like I'm storing most of my brain outside of my body, and the part in my head is just the index.
This. I don't use my brain to store facts anymore, I just use it to store a list of Google keywords.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
As with a lot of commenters here, I feel like I must misunderstand the point this comic is trying to make. The way I read it, he's saying that being forcefed difficult concepts through pointless repetition, which results in no lasting positive effect is the same as learning how to prepare your own food, or communicate with people who happen to be born in another country?
It sounds like the kind of argument made by managers who always want to hire any College grad, when a degree isn't applicable or required, because it shows "they know how to learn and commit to something". Even though all it shows is that your parents had money, and you had 46 years to put real life on hold for an epic saga of sequels to your Senior year of High School. Which is how I ended up training an overall useless manchild Criminology major for 2 years  at a corporate IT helpdesk.
I can get behind ridicule for a lot of "learned ignorance", such as office workers who use a workstation all day, yet proudly claim they don't know how to use a computer. Or people who will shuttle their kids around all day, then tell you they're a bad driver. But railing someone because they proudly proclaim that they haven't seen a SIN, COS, or TAN since they threw away their calculator on the last day of Grade 12 isn't even in the same galaxy.
It sounds like the kind of argument made by managers who always want to hire any College grad, when a degree isn't applicable or required, because it shows "they know how to learn and commit to something". Even though all it shows is that your parents had money, and you had 46 years to put real life on hold for an epic saga of sequels to your Senior year of High School. Which is how I ended up training an overall useless manchild Criminology major for 2 years  at a corporate IT helpdesk.
I can get behind ridicule for a lot of "learned ignorance", such as office workers who use a workstation all day, yet proudly claim they don't know how to use a computer. Or people who will shuttle their kids around all day, then tell you they're a bad driver. But railing someone because they proudly proclaim that they haven't seen a SIN, COS, or TAN since they threw away their calculator on the last day of Grade 12 isn't even in the same galaxy.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
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.
I saw this argument in a book about advertising. The best teacher response was:
"You don't lift dumbbells in the gym so you can lift dumbbells in real life"
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
LET'S ALL LAUGH AT PEOPLE WHO DON'T ENJOY SCHOOL  THEY ARE DUMB LOL
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
MichaelRpdx wrote:Well I've never had to climb a rope or lie on my back pushing a weighted metal bar up since school either.
In your face gym teacher!
Isn't gym class ultimately just preparation for Basic Training?
someahole wrote:how to not electrocute yourself when working on your car
Is that even possible?
Last edited by endolith on Wed May 02, 2012 3:08 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
Dojji wrote:
Disagree? You're cooking for yourself, and the best recipe you can find for what you're hungry for/what you have ingredients for serves three.
yes.
disagree. people keep coming up with these inane applications of "algebra".
it's DIVISION not algebra.
5/3 is fractions
not y=5/3 solve for y
or y=a/b
it's just division.
you don't need an ounce of algebra to tell how many bags of potatos you can buy if you have a dollar and they're 39 cent each. you just need division. that's basic arithmetic.
not algebra
If you want to make a cake one third the size nobody sane starts by thinking "you know what will help with this, an algebraic equation"
they just use basic arithmetic without any unknown variables. they divide one number by another, no x's no y's nothing like that.
the recepie says 300 grams and I want to do a cake a third the size? well I divide 300 by 3.No algebra.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
grobus wrote:LET'S ALL LAUGH AT PEOPLE WHODON'T ENJOY SCHOOLARE SMUG ABOUT THEIR OWN IGNORANCE  THEY ARE DUMB LOL
FTFY
I burn the cheese. It does not burn me.
Re: 1050: "Forgot Algebra"
I think the usefulness of math is just harder to grasp for ignorant people, because it's so basic, and seems so abstract.
In my experience, the "proud not to know shit about x" phenomenon is mostly a selfdefense reaction against bad teachers. For example, I was proud I never read a single book from the reading list of my last years of school. Today I got a Ph.D. in literature. The trick was stop telling me what I should read, and what I should like.
In my experience, the "proud not to know shit about x" phenomenon is mostly a selfdefense reaction against bad teachers. For example, I was proud I never read a single book from the reading list of my last years of school. Today I got a Ph.D. in literature. The trick was stop telling me what I should read, and what I should like.
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