Thursday, December 07, 2006

Connective Insanity

Here we go again with the math.

Now, first and foremost, GramTuna and I are both good at math. Or, we used to be. I think we used to be good at "old" math, which is really like old-OLD math, because it's older than "new math" which is now older than "newest math" which is now called "connective math" which is code for "ridiculous numerical gobbledegook designed to torture children and their parents."

Old-OLD math was awesome. Old-OLD math was gimme a formula, a bunch of numbers to toss in and a big mathematical crank. I could do these all day long. Monkey math rocks. It doesn't matter if it applies to life. If you can solve for X, you're good to go. Hand me a banana.

Old math -- which once upon a time was "New" math -- employed much of the same practices of Old-OLD math, except it was no longer important to actually get the right answer. You just needed to understand the principles of how one MIGHT get the right answer, if one could correctly multiply eight and seven without enlisting the fingers and toes of several of your closest friends.

New math -- which is now NEWEST math, also known as CONNECTIVE MATH -- thinks all math should be applicable to math you encounter every day of your life. In theory this sounds awesome. Afterall, it's not often when I have to call upon the powers of the quadratic equation to figure out where I'm going to get enough money to pay my electric bill. But the problem with Connective Math is that it doesn't know when practicality stops and ridiculousness takes over.

For example, TinyTuna had two related math problems. The first? Totally practical. It was something along the lines of "Twelve movie tickets cost $90. If each ticket costs the same amount of money, how much does each ticket cost?"

Fine and dandy: $7.50. Moving on.

But then connective math turns around and asks, "How much of a ticket would you get for $1?" In connective mathland, the correct answer is some ridiculous fraction of a ticket. In the real world, there is one obvious answer: Not enough to get through the door.

And I didn't even need the quadratic equation for that one.

1 comment:

Bozoette said...

As the old Tom Lehrer song goes:
Hurray for New Math! New-ew-ew Math! It won't do you a bit of good to review math. It's so simple, so very simple, that only a child can do it!