Tag Archives: mathematics

2522. Smarty Pants

Dear Parents and Caregivers

What a successful fundraising event our Gala Day was! We raised over three thousand dollars for gymnasium equipment.

I wish to announce the winner of the “Guess-the-number-of-Smarties-in-the-Jar” (aka “Guess-the-number-of-M&Ms-in-the-Jar”) competition. As you probably know the prize for the right guess is twenty-five dollars. It was a very popular fund-raiser and over five hundred (mainly children) entered the guessing game. There were very few entries sharing the same number.

I am told the official number was 1,561 Smarties in the jar. What nonsense! That was perhaps the case with the old mathematics. In these more enlightened times every child is correct. All numbers are right depending upon how mathematics is done. Nor should we be keen to put a child down. It would be humiliating. All entries are winners.

I have instructed the organizers to give each entry twenty-five dollars. The accountant says that would come to over twelve and a half thousand dollars which is more than the money raised. Again, what nonsense! That may have been the case under the old mathematics but these days we are more liberated. With the new mathematics there is something for each winner and enough left over to purchase a good amount of gymnasium equipment.

On a lighter note, not knowing what to do with the jar of Smarties, my wife and I decided to enjoy them ourselves – all 1,561 of them.

Leonardo Goldsworthy

1918. Some things count

Bart was in love. He’d spend the time between interminably long phone calls mooching around and texting, as those in love sometimes do. He would wait, and then… The phone was never answered before with such speed lightning.

Donna was her name. They were both studying Mathematics at university. They shared the same mathematical problems on the phone. They shared the same solutions. Mathematics was never so superficial.

It was like life; they invented problems so they could solve them together. Things went swimmingly until Donna suggested:

f(x)=a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞▒(a_n cos⁡〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin⁡〖nπx/L〗 )

In response, last Thursday, Bart came up with:

cos⁡α+cos⁡β=2 cos⁡〖1/2 (α+β)〗 cos⁡〖1/2 (α-β)〗

Quite frankly Donna had had enough. She was fed up to the eyeballs. She called the whole thing off.

1747. A running leap!

Professor Peter Plummer thought the idea of leap years was massively odd; if a year is divisible by four it is a leap year, unless, if it’s divisible by 100 then it is a leap year only if it is also divisible by 400. He was Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University and found the whole leap year thing a little too much to manage.

Professor Peter came up with an alternative. It became so popular that it was adopted by the United Nations and by all countries in the world (except for Slovakia).

Every year is given an extra six hours, added on January 1st. That meant that six in the morning became twelve in the morning. A year later twelve in the morning would be again six on the clock. It was nothing to remember that every second year the clocks were simply six hours ahead. Adoption of this methodology had surprising repercussions. People became so confused as to what time it was that they start getting up at daybreak and going to bed at nightfall. They would eat salads and cold meats in summer and hot stews in winter. They lived according to the light; according to the season; according to the temperature.

After a while the world (except for Slovakia) discarded the calendar altogether. Who needs such an artificial contrivance when all that is needed to live a good life is to look at the sky and say things such as “I think it’s going to rain” or “My word, the days seem to be drawing out”? Who needs to know that it is August the 11th or March the 24th? And after a year or two, people would begin to say I know it’s my birthday because on my birthday the sun rises exactly over that little knob on that nearby hill.

With Professor Peter Plummer’s method, every year would be a leap year (unless you live in Slovakia).

Happy Leap Day everyone!