Thursday, April 21, 2011


I think the reason I hate math so much is that the numbers never feel real to me. I know what they are, but being a person of words, I’m more interested in the situations in which they occur and the things they apply to. That’s why I enjoy story problems, like “A man walked into a southbound train going 50 miles an hour to sell Timmy 3 walnuts at a rate of 100 rubles per walnut. Triangulate the position of Timmy’s pet lion.”

It doesn’t matter if they’re by themselves or in equations. I’m only really interested in what they relate to.

Consider today’s gas prices, for instance. “3.99 per gallon” certainly looks very upsetting on the sign, but only because of the words the numbers are attached to, words like “I wish I could eat this week, but I’ve got to fill up my car,” or other words that are less appropriate for this blog.

Stupid lion.

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The Institute for Circular Reasoning by Peter Semple is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.