
Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

9:51 am  141% more!

pne

I saw an advert for a printer today that used the slogan “Was kostet 141% mehr Format?” (a bit difficult to translate, since that use of “Format” is not idiomatic for me even in German, but literally “What does 141% more format cost?”).
I only saw it from afar (enough to see the slogan and two pictures of printers), but I presume they were referring to printers that could print on A3 rather than A4 paper.
As you may know, the “A” series of paper sizes (defined in ISO 216 and commonly used in Europe, for example) have side ratios of 1:√2, which means that if you put two sheets next to each other along their long sides, they’ll be the same as the next bigger size of paper. So successive sizes have twice the surface area, and each side is √2 longer than the preceding size.
So “141% more format” is doubly wrong: even though it’s nonsensical to me at face value (I suppose, in printing there might be a jargon use of “format” that I don’t know…), the most obvious interpretation to me is area: but an A3 sheet of paper doesn’t have 141% more area than an A4 sheet: it has twice the area, or 100% more.
And even if they refer to side length: A3 isn’t 141% longer on each side, it’s 41% longer. Alternatively, it’s 141% of the length, but the ad referred to “141% more”.
I’m guessing the confusion arose from the fact that photocopiers in Europe often have predefined zoom values of 141%, 100%, and 71%, where 141% is useful for enlarging A5 to A4 or A4 to A3 (and 71% for the reverse)—so some poor innumerate person took the “141%” number relating A3 to A4 and made a slogan talking about “141% more”.
Which makes as much sense as telling someone who got a 2% pay raise that they are now earning “102% more money than before”.
Feh.
current mood: annoyed


 Thursday, March 19th, 2009

9:22 pm  More percentage madness

rabid_chemist

Delaware governor Markell is proposing an 8% pay cut for all state employees.
In the comments, there's this gem from Moonrise:
"What about treating married vs single fairly. His plan does not do that. He wants to combine the two pays to say they are rich if their combined pay is $60, 000. That a $30, 000 a year job each. Two singles living together making the same about are considered under under paid. HUH. Another slap to married couples. A family of two state workers married are going to take a double hit on pay deduction, and lose their double share on healt benefit. Shouldn't it be double share it is two workers? Under Mackell this family is losing in the cost of medical plus takes a 16% pay cut. FAIR?"


 Friday, December 12th, 2008

5:45 am  Oh my

 Thursday, August 21st, 2008

7:37 pm  Apparently 9583 somehow equals 8

 Thursday, March 6th, 2008

5:36 pm  Counting to two

 Sunday, November 25th, 2007

9:33 pm  not knowing math leads to making people scared

womenarepretty

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20071125/sc_afp/britainweatherclimate
In this article on global warming, the writer makes the claim:
"The number of people affected by extreme natural disasters, meanwhile, has surged by almost 70 percent, from 174 million a year between 1985 to 1994, to 254 million people a year between 1995 to 2004, Oxfam said."
An increase of 70% from a base of 174 million should be 295.8 million. The writer did 174/254 to come up 70% (after a round off). It's actually a 42.6% increase, which is also pretty scary, but they are overstating the problem. However, in a few more years, we're prolly about that screwed.


 Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

10:25 am  Adults in the UK don't understand negative numbers

 Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

3:22 am  ancestry

cheeser1

So this happened some time ago, but I'm new to the community and I thought I should share.
After discussing my lineage with someone, an acquaintance, he commented that he too was part Irish. 1/8th Irish. He then commented that he was 1/3 Jewish.
I spent a great deal of time trying, as much as I could, to explain that this was impossible. He insisted (somehow) that he was in fact, exactly* 1/3 Jewish. I decided that whatever the case was, he was 0/3 good at math.
*added for clarity.
Further clarity:
I just reread the community info, and it says maybe to provide explanation (I don't know if this counts as "college level"). So if anybody is wondering, no matter what part of your ancestry something is, it must be representable in least terms as k/2^n (for nonnegative integers k,n). The reason is this: at some level of your ancestry, presumably, there is a set of ancestors that are all "100%" something. There must be 2^n of them.* So you count up k of them to be something (eg Jewish), and that means you are k/2^n parts Jewish, by simply summing.
For example, if your father is 100% Italian and your mother is half Italian, half Chinese (with a 100% Italian parent, say her mother), then you skip up to that generation:
father's father: 100% Italian father's mother: 100% Italian mother's father: 100% Chinese mother's mother: 100% Italian
There are 3 fullItalians, and 4 total. You are 3/4 Italian.
*regardless of if some are repeated  eg your grandfather is your mother's father and your father's father, he will essentially function as two distinct grandfathers in the summation, and will contribute two terms of 1/4.
You could also argue this inductively. Assume someone's parents are all k/2^n of anything (for various values of k,n). The child is simply the average of the two. So if the father is k/2^n of X, and the mother is p/2^q, then the child must be:
k/2^n + p/2^q = (k 2^q + p 2^n) / 2^(q+n)
While that is not in least terms, you can at best cancel out more twos. Note that this also accounts for cloning, in the sense that if the child is cloned, the inductive step involves no averaging and becomes trivial.


 Monday, July 23rd, 2007

3:55 pm

korean_guy_01

VH1 has these celebrity specials on TV all of the time. This one was from Rags to Riches talking about Naomi Watts and Nicole Kidman.
Text comes up showing Naomi Watts gets $5 million per picture.
The guy doing the voices informs us that Nicole Kidman gets "almost twice that" and text with $17.5 million comes up.



2:07 am

 Saturday, July 14th, 2007

1:42 pm  Bizarre CurveFitting

rebeccapaul

There are a lot of problems with this article about tax policy from an economic standpoint. (carnap describes them nicely.) But the worst use of math is the curve in the graph. What the heck is it???
(I saw this in stat_geeks first.)
current mood: confused


 Thursday, June 14th, 2007

8:35 am  Good heavens

 Sunday, June 10th, 2007

8:42 am  Wow.

 Saturday, February 10th, 2007

11:31 am

womenarepretty

I have been had having my students calculate the percentage of correct answers on their homework, first as a fraction, then as a percent. one girl got three out of four right and argued with me that her score should be 90 percent because it was only one less than the total possible. so she could convert between fraction and % when the denominator with 10, but not with any other number.
this was surprising coming from a high school junior, but at least there was some attempt at reasoning.


 Sunday, December 24th, 2006

7:31 pm  Good going, Captain D's.

sushimustwrite

I went out to eat tonight, and I ordered cheese sticks with my meal.
"Half order or whole order?" the woman at the register asked. I asked how many cheese sticks came with each order.
"Oh, you get four with a half order and eight with a whole order," she replied.
The kicker? A half order costs $.99, and a whole order costs $2.29. I should have ordered two half orders just for the reaction.
current mood: aggravated


 Saturday, December 9th, 2006

8:46 am

 Wednesday, November 29th, 2006

10:52 am  Find the next term

 Sunday, August 13th, 2006

9:33 pm  John Paulos

pinksprinkels

hey guys,
this is my first time posting, i'm a junior at temple taking a BS in mathematics. Unfortunately, I don't have any fun innumeracy jokes now, but I do have an amazing prof. who actually wrote a book entitled "Innumeracy" his name is John Allen Paulos.
http://www.math.temple.edu/~paulos/ and he is bascially amazing.
take care


 Wednesday, June 21st, 2006

11:01 pm  Oodles of math stupid...

 Tuesday, June 20th, 2006

1:54 pm  chem test

paper_crystals

The test had about 30 questions. At the top the test said 100 points total 25 points each.





