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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Howlers!

Another benefit to late night blogging -- you just may get a laugh out of it. ;-)

"Howlers" are mathematical flubs, errors or evidence of innumeracy in the the popular media; "mismaths" if you will. The following two quotes were taken from actual newspapers, magazines or other public media from around the world. Sometimes it takes a minute or two to think about what's wrong with their math, but if you think about it you'll figure it out and maybe even get a good laugh out of it.

Here's Howler number 1:

Flight 427 had banked sharply to the left, rolled more than 180 degrees - past the point at which it's wings were perpendicular to the ground - and dropped 6000 feet in 23 seconds.

Imagine that plane's flight. What would it look like falling?

Here's another Howler tangentially related to what we're studying:

You may remember that pi is something to do with calculating dimensions of a circle and derives from dividing 22 by 7, a sum that can be continued indefinitely. Most folks are happy to leave the solution at 3.14 but last week Yasumasa Kanada, a professor at Tokyo University, announced he had calculated it to a billion decimal places on a supercomputer.

There are a couple of things wrong with that one. Think about it...and enjoy a good chuckle. ;-)

If you find a really good Howler in the press Blog it. If we get a good laugh out of it you can count it as your "one mark blog".

5 Comments:

At 2/09/2005 11:53 p.m., Blogger blogster_gherard™ said...

Hwow! That Yasumasa Kanada dude is one heck of a professor! I know that Tokyo has a very advanced technology nowadays but when he announced that he had calculated it to a billion decimal places on a supercomputer, that was something else. whew... how i wish i had an IQ like his.. or should I say a courage like his.. to do something like that! (^_^)

 
At 2/09/2005 11:57 p.m., Blogger Mr. Kuropatwa said...

Wow! Gerard your really are a blogster! BTW, I love the tm. ;-)

 
At 2/10/2005 12:00 a.m., Blogger karen said...

Hmm that pi thing sure is interesting.The way that Mr.K explained it actually made sense and i was like "whoa dude it makes perfect sense". I knew what pi was but yeah I didn't care much for it's reasoning,but I get it know.Another thing seriously who calcalulates to a billion decimal places? He must of been really not happy with the 3.14 solution... =\

 
At 2/10/2005 12:10 a.m., Blogger blogster_gherard™ said...

Wait a sec! Dr. Math said that pi is approximately 3.14159265358979323846 and so on.. and no repeating pattern for pi has been discovered - in fact, in 1768 Johann Lambert proved that there cannot be any such repeating pattern! I have tried to divide 22 by 7 (just like what the Howler said)and i get a whopping 3.142857142857142857142857 and so on! I thought that pi has no repeating pattern? I guess i need some sleep.... BTW thanks Mr.K!

 
At 11/27/2011 8:58 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

22 divided by 7 is an approximation of pi!

 

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