Fwd: Math from 1950 to 2007 -- from Mary

Tresy sent us this one. Reading it, I have to wonder if the girl at Burger King was really brought to tears by the sight of a crotchety, condescending, lonely right-winger barking at her.

Said Tresy, "Don't know if you have this one yet or not. Har dee fucking har har."

Begin forwarded message:

Math 1950-2006

Last week I purchased a burger at Burger King for $1.58. The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and 3 pennies, while looking at the screen on her register. I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?
Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:
1. Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of productio n is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares no thing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of$20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers )
6. Teaching Math In 2006

Un hachero vende una carretada de madera por $100. El costo de la pr oducciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho?


Beleaguered Daughter said...

so in 2006 the question is in Spanish, but the math returns to being as difficult as it allegedly was in 1960. what are they complaining about??

Potato Head said...

I suppose it should come as no surprise that "humor" this unfunny should also be an example of the ignorance that it purports to deplore, but in the 1990s, when in wingnutland the environmentalists and self-esteem gurus were supposedly in charge of teh curriculum, US schoolbooks had actual math problems cum corporate advertorials like these (NYT, 3/10/1999):

"For example, the 1995 edition, still in use in many places, introduces a decimal division problem as follows: ''Will is saving his allowance to buy a pair of Nike shoes that cost $68.25. If Will earns $3.25 per week, how many weeks will Will need to save?'' To the right of the text is a full-color picture of a pair of Nikes.

"Another word problem, this one in the 1999 edition, gives a plug to Oreos, made by Nabisco: ''The best-selling packaged cookie in the world is the Oreo cookie,'' it begins. ''The diameter of an Oreo cookie is 1.75 inches. Express the diameter of an Oreo cookie as a fraction in simplest form.''

"A section on surface area in the same edition asks students to calculate the surface area of a box of Cocoa Frosted Flakes, adding some gratuitous information about when the cereal was introduced. Another page, titled ''School to Career,'' highlights Lands' End, the mail-order apparel company. ''Consumers can purchase unique clothing and accessories, and products for the home,'' the section reads."

Ignorance is of course universal, but it takes real talent to be 180-degrees wrong on just about everything, which seems to be the wingnuts' special gift.

Gag Halfrunt said...

"The counter girl took my $2 and I was digging for my change when I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her."

And the "counter girl" probably keyed in $2.00 as the total amount paid, put the $2 in the cash drawer and took the two cents change out while the customer was still digging for his/her change.

Anonymous said...

In my experience, the practice the asshole here describes is pretty far from universal. Several friends of mine, being former register jockeys, found it kind of condescending, like saying 'OK, clearly you can't work with decimals - otherwise you wouldn't be the one back here - so lemme make this easy for you.'

I don't think that's 100% accurate as an assessment of it, but faced with this kind of story you're kind of tempted. My best take on it is that, after ten years of being slapped around by Texans, Chuck Norris, and other people who deplored Brokeback Mountain for destroying their ability to feign naivite - well, the people who only beat off to Northerns want in on God's Own Party too.

I mean, Christ, I don't know what this might have looked like if the person who wrote this was as unselfconscious as some of the others. A lumberjack conquers feeble, womanly nature with his virile, upthrust chainsaw. The grabbing Jew that pays his wage tells him that his load of lumber has sold for 4/5 the price to produce it, and gives him $20. Is this creature guilty of fraud - or only of killing Christ???

Anonymous said...

Oh, boy. I do the exact-change thing some, but mostly because I don't want a wallet full of ones and a pocket full of coins if I can at all help it. I do it more often around Christmas because I know they're usually running short one smaller bills and on coins and why hold up the line while they try to find someone to get them more for the register?

No condescension intended, really.

AltWorlder said...

This is a lame mutation of the progression of math education joke, anyways. It ignores the introduction of New Math.

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