I have a physics degree. My definition of “bad at math” is struggling with the derivative of a function of a function. Or let’s put it more bluntly – as an undergrad I never used a calculator in exams. It was all letters – mostly Greek but in some cases Hebrew. But apparently I am unusual. 49% of UK apparently adults can’t do sums. I wouldn’t even call it mathematics. Sums is not math. This is maths. Adding-up is not. Hell! When I was 16 I got a summer job in a sweet shop and people looked at me funny because I was quicker than the till. Still am and they still look at me funny and now I know why.
I mean for fuck’s sake! What sort of arseholes are we? The nation of Newton and Wren can’t hack this:
Hasran has planned a new TV cupboard. A TV is 40cm wide and will sit in the middle of a shelf that is 900mm wide. How wide is the gap on each side of the TV?
A: 10cm; B. 25cm; C. 43cm; D. 50cm
God fuck us all! Although what I’d like to know is why Hasran has built a 900mm TV cupboard for a 400mm TV? Why has he built a cupboard in the first anyway? My TV hangs on the wall. It’s hardly a secret passion is it? I mean when the Sky man came to upgrade our box to HD and all it wasn’t like I asked him to park round the back like an illegal abortionist was it?
Now here’s the real rub. Can they see through the Monty Hall veridical paradox? Because it took me two seconds. There were pure maths post-docs in the pub that evening tearing apart beer-mats to scribble on but I clocked it in the noggin in a witch-space second. A mere astrophysics student. And keen amateur poker player. BTW if you want a really good explanation of Monty Hall then this is the best I’ve read. Not a great book overall but that bit is gold. There is also a bit on bifurcation chaos theory and period-doubling which I can’t make my mind up about. It is either a brilliant portrayal of the longs and shorts of Asperger’s Syndrome or it is utterly wrong. And if the latter then it is possibly a satire. I have considered a post about it. Paul Marks would like what I had to say.
Anyway, I guess I just wrote the last paragraph because I wear my mathematical ability with pride. Apparently a lot of my country-folk are proud of their lack in that respect. Well, various people are proud of that. Lots apparently. I do not, as various researchers do, feel for the general economy. No! I just think they have missed out on the ravishing exceptional beauty of the very Queen of Science herself. As someone who has poked under her petticoats I can tell you they are missing a right treat. Now of course you could do “Modern Studies” at the “University” of Wolverhampton. You could do that but you could also rip the Universe apart and see how it ticks. I did. Your choice.
PS. I’m not sure Wolverhampton still does “Modern Studies” but a quick Google reveals it no longer does modern European languages. That is piss-poor.