• Recent Comments

    Eats Wombats on Mr Bomdastic, Maths is fa…
    j on Number Crunching
    A. of A Changing Lif… on Number Crunching
    A. of A Changing Lif… on Number Crunching
    j on Number Crunching
  • Categories

  • Archives

  • January 2019
    M T W T F S S
    « Sep    
  • Blog Stats

    • 505 hits
  • Advertisements

Mr Bomdastic, Maths is fantastic

Just a quickie in reponse to the comments, for which I am extremely grateful, from A and Eats Wombats on the previous post.  I love opportunities to learn new things.

Question : Was the bomdas/bodmas rule developped because of computing?

Please see here.

A quick and extremely unscientific poll revealed that 13/15 poeple met over the past few days give the answer to 7+4×5 as 55. Of the two people who gave 27 as a definite answer, one was a French Maths teacher and the other a computer programmer.  For the other 13, most of whom I’d class as reasonably well educated, the answer 27 only came up when shown the calculation 4×5+7.  And yes, all 15 now think I’m a bit ‘touched’ for accosting them with slips of paper with sums on!


P.S. On a flippant note, to what extent have spreadsheets contributed to the current financial crisis by giving answers not expected by us ‘back of the envelope’  calculators?


Number Crunching

Other than the birth of my children, the achievement of which I am most proud is having obtained an A at Maths GCSE. I’m pleased to say that my Maths teacher almost needed smelling salts when the results were pinned to the board, having told me I was a hopeless case for several years. (I have a stubborn streak, and schadenfreude is one of my many sins).

In a lot of ways she was right – my brain just doesn’t seem to be wired to understand abstract concepts. Addition, substraction, multiplication & division are no problem – can do the numbers game on Countdown/les chiffres et les lettres, better than the Grouch, who did not one, but three maths A-levels. Spatial awareness is fine -as illustrated by my having to show the removal men how to get my now defunct and crushed fridge into the house via a doorway, rather than horizontally through the window, and have lost count of the number of passengers holding their breath and adopting the brace position whilst I manoever my somewhat wider than standard car through narrow medieval alleyways.

But try and explain calculus/differentiation or triangles to me and a glazed expression of utter confusion will beset my features.

The reason for the above confession is that my daughter’s homework has me stumped. Luckily, once I’d translated it from French to English the Grouch was able to explain how to work out the area of a small square inside a larger one, given only that the large square was 7cm wider (& taller, I’m not that THAT thick) than the smaller and that the area of the large square minus that of the small square is 189cm2.

Anyway, the point of the post is not that I am NOT a  ‘mathos’, but that I had blithely assumed that the answer would be the same both here and in UK, maths & science being the universal language, so here’s the question :


Given that there were no brackets present I blithely assumed the answer to be 55.

Apparently not.  In France multiplication takes precedence over the order in which the calculation is written, making the answer 27.

Go figure!

PS Answers plus methodology welcome in comments!


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,

We will remember them.


Given current climate, feels odd to be saying that about, among very many others, merchant bankers, but….

I have no doubt whatsoever that many US blogs will be focused on this today, but just wanted to mark it in some small way.

P.S. Without in any way wanting to sound trite, was relieved when Wednesday’s news contained no great atrocities, the date being 9/9/9, especially given elections, plus the usual associated shenanigans in Afghanistan.

We are living in a digital world

Just a quickie

There are 10 sorts of people in this world :-

those who get binary,

and those who don’t.



P.S. Please post the number you read first time in the comments, after all, there was a clue in the title.

Ashes to Ashes

I’m not very good at current affairs, so this and this aren’t exactly hot off the press.  But the pictures of thousands of fridges stacked up awaiting disposal stuck in my mind.  Apparently also in other people’s.

We have a great service where the council come round once a month for any outsize ‘rubbish’, so at 6 am this morning I dutifully dragged  an old cooker, a microwave and a beautiful but sadly defunct ‘american’ fridge over the road to the collection point. Also the carcass of a metal framed awning/pergola that fell victim to the last big storm.

Well they’ve been, and I am left shaking my head, somewhat perplexed. You see I was expecting a flat-bed truck, or a removals van, especially as I’d had to furnish a list of what was being discarded to the Mairie, so as they could plan their route. But no, it was a standard bin-van on streroids, i.e. bigger and more powerful than our standard refuse collection.  And everything was devoured on the spot – chairs, beds, mattresses, cooker, TVs, computers, scrap metal and fridge, though the van tried to spit the latter back out – it was very big – that’s why we bought it.

Am really no expert when it comes to how such things work (not tagged as technonumpty for nothing) and the fridge was already empty of the gas that goes through the compressor – the spotty Herbert we called out when it broke down saw to that (another story which shall probably appear in a different post) – and it was a self-defrosting airflow fridge-freezer. Does that mean all the noxious gasses have been removed? I hope so, because getting crushed and taken straight to landfill wasn’t quite what I thought would happen.  Ditto for the aluminium pergola.

So in future, my house and yard will have to look the municipal recyclying facility until we borrow a trailer, (and a car with a tow-hook) and take things to the depot ourselves. I only hope that when we dutifully separate metals, glass and plastic at the main tip, that they do get recycled.  At least we’ll be doing our bit to keep house prices stable – the neighbour who likes us calls us the English Gypsies, so heaven only knows what the other lot say.

no, it isn’t october yet.

A quick google/bing tells me that Black History Month is in February in the States & Canada. (Date chosen because of Abe Lincoln & Frederick Douglass).  In the UK it’s October. Why there is a difference I don’t (yet) know.  This post over at A Changing Life jogged the memory banks and reminded me of this fella. More here.

As a kid I had was strongly encouraged to put at least half my pocket money into a globe-shaped money box for the Methodist Missionary Society, which, as another quick search reveals,  is still up & running, though it’s aims have changed somewhat over the years. This may have something to do with The Poisonwood Bible being one of my all time favourite books. There are other reasons too, but that will be a password protected post once I’ve learned how to do it.

Unison’s offering from October 2006 is a good lightweight starting point for anyone interested in the subject.

It’s something I find fascinating. History at school consisted of lists of dates, usually of battles, with very little emphasis on analysing trends, though thankfully I missed out on having to recite the dates of the monarchy by rote. I have a mug for that! (picture to follow once i’ve worked out how to do that, too. Technonumpty strikes agaon!)

What piques my interest are the human stories, of people breaking the mould and starting off trends that they could never imagine in their life-time, that change the way we look at ourselves, and perceive others.



I seem to have stopped blogging, before even having gotten started  –  just personal stuffage, nothing major, but enough to keep me fully occupied.  Besides I don’t have anything original to say at the moment,  although if I ever did in the first place may well be a moot point. Nevertheless, saw this and HAD to share. I have no idea where it originally came from so could be aeons old and y’all have seen it already, so double apology, (sounds like a coffee order), firstly for plagiarism/theft and secondly for potential repetition.

Subject: Letter in support of job application

Letter in support of job application

1 Trevor Adams, my assistant programmer, can always be found

2 hard at work in his cubicle. Trevor works independently, without

3 wasting company time talking to colleagues. Trevor never

4 thinks twice about assisting fellow employees, and he always

5 finishes given assignments on time. Often he takes extended

6 measures to complete his work, sometimes skipping coffee

7 breaks. Trevor is a dedicated individual who has absolutely no

8 vanity in spite of his high accomplishments and profound

9 knowledge in his field. I firmly believe that Trevor can be

10 classed as a high-calibre employee, the type that cannot be

11 dispensed with. Consequently, I truly recommend that Trevor be

12 promoted to executive management, and a proposal will be

13 executed as soon as possible.

The idiot was standing over my shoulder while I wrote this report.
Kindly re-read only the odd numbered lines.