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(London Evening Standard)   Shocking study finds 20 percent of elementary students graduate without knowing how to do basic math. That's like, more than half   (standard.co.uk) divider line 49
    More: Dumbass, graduates, elementary schools, Olds College, Ofsted, half, maths, London Evening Standard, students  
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783 clicks; posted to Geek » on 12 Dec 2013 at 9:08 AM (17 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-12 09:13:53 AM
I'm more concerned with the reading. Most elementary math could probably be done on a computer or calculator. I guess computers can read to you as well, but it's a little more complicated in every day life to fake reading than to fake knowing math.
 
2013-12-12 09:14:56 AM
Of course! Those are the ones constantly getting suspended for bringing plastic knives in their lunchboxes, or pointing their finger like a gun, or kissing a girl.
 
2013-12-12 09:15:17 AM
It's naught like Jethro was going to be a brain surgeon anyway.
 
2013-12-12 09:31:25 AM

pkellmey: I'm more concerned with the reading. Most elementary math could probably be done on a computer or calculator. I guess computers can read to you as well, but it's a little more complicated in every day life to fake reading than to fake knowing math.


For more info read the short story "The Feeling of Power" by Isaac Asimov 1958
 
2013-12-12 09:31:31 AM

mutterfark: It's naught like Jethro was going to be a brain Rocket surgeon anyway.


FTFY
 
2013-12-12 09:36:47 AM

pkellmey: I'm more concerned with the reading. Most elementary math could probably be done on a computer or calculator. I guess computers can read to you as well, but it's a little more complicated in every day life to fake reading than to fake knowing math.


Not knowing basic math is very similar to being illiterate, in that it renders you much less capable of functioning in society. It might not be quite AS crippling, but it's still a huge problem. Even with calculators, someone who doesn't know basic math isn't going to know what to do beyond just punching in numbers. And there is more to it than that, such as actually knowing what numbers to put in.

Numbers are everywhere, and not knowing how to deal with them mentally means you miss a lot. You can get by, but like being illiterate it means you can't function as a fully capable adult.
 
2013-12-12 09:41:23 AM

Mnemia: pkellmey: I'm more concerned with the reading. Most elementary math could probably be done on a computer or calculator. I guess computers can read to you as well, but it's a little more complicated in every day life to fake reading than to fake knowing math.

Not knowing basic math is very similar to being illiterate, in that it renders you much less capable of functioning in society. It might not be quite AS crippling, but it's still a huge problem. Even with calculators, someone who doesn't know basic math isn't going to know what to do beyond just punching in numbers. And there is more to it than that, such as actually knowing what numbers to put in.

Numbers are everywhere, and not knowing how to deal with them mentally means you miss a lot. You can get by, but like being illiterate it means you can't function as a fully capable adult.


Oh, I completely agree. I have been in the grocery store when they ring up the bill and the shopper literally just throws bills at the cashier until they say, "You have enough here." It's shocking to see in the modern age. However, simple job applications for Walmart may require reading, but usually not math skills. It's sad no matter which sort of illiteracy.
 
2013-12-12 09:43:17 AM

Mnemia: pkellmey: I'm more concerned with the reading. Most elementary math could probably be done on a computer or calculator. I guess computers can read to you as well, but it's a little more complicated in every day life to fake reading than to fake knowing math.

Not knowing basic math is very similar to being illiterate, in that it renders you much less capable of functioning in society. It might not be quite AS crippling, but it's still a huge problem. Even with calculators, someone who doesn't know basic math isn't going to know what to do beyond just punching in numbers. And there is more to it than that, such as actually knowing what numbers to put in.

Numbers are everywhere, and not knowing how to deal with them mentally means you miss a lot. You can get by, but like being illiterate it means you can't function as a fully capable adult.


Not to mention that it literally puts you at the mercy of every farking person who can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.   And not all of those people are willing to cut you some slack.

In fact, I would say that even more than the ability (or lack thereof) to read, math illiteracy is what keeps people in poverty.  Money is math, period, and if you can't do the simple arithmetic necessary to pay your bills and plan for future expenses, you are going to remain in poverty because you're going to piss away your money.

If you can't read, but you have a good grasp of numbers and basic arithmetic, then you can husband the meager resources you have.  You might not get the good jobs, but you can keep track of the money you earn and the money you spend, and plan accordingly.

If you can read, but don't really understand numbers and how they are used, you'll waste what money you do have, making you just as bad off, or worse (for example, by going into deep debt) as if the first case pertained.
 
2013-12-12 09:52:30 AM
pkellmey:
Oh, I completely agree. I have been in the grocery store when they ring up the bill and the shopper literally just throws bills at the cashier until they say, "You have enough here." It's shocking to see in the modern age. However, simple job applications for Walmart may require reading, but usually not math skills. It's sad no matter which sort of illiteracy.

I bet those people get ripped off from time to time. I also bet that Walmart might have fewer pricing errors, etc, if they required some basic arithmetic skills. But maybe they just want employees who will blindly follow instructions, and are willing to accept some rate of resulting errors not getting caught if they can pay people low, low wages.

I always wonder how people get by without being able to quickly compare prices per unit of different sizes of an item. It used to be that the bigger sizes were almost always cheaper per unit, but I've noticed that that is often not the case now. So retailers are probable noticing the innumeracy trend and taking advantage of it (others print the price per unit on the shelves, probably in recognition of the same trend).
 
2013-12-12 09:55:16 AM
As long as the kids are properly prepped to do well on standardized tests and the administrators get their bonuses, the kids will be adequately prepared for how real life will treat them.
 
2013-12-12 10:03:15 AM
dittybopper:
Not to mention that it literally puts you at the mercy of every farking person who can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.   And not all of those people are willing to cut you some slack.

I think that debt is a great example of how this screws people. The APR is just a number on a page if you don't grasp how it affects you. And yet we are asking people who can't understand how to add and multiply to understand complex ARMs and balloon mortgages. I'm not surprised that many of those people were surprised by how much their home payments increased, because they don't know anything about numbers beyond what someone else tells them. And in that case, the people telling them have an interest in them not understanding it. Same goes for payday loans, credit cards, and so on.
 
2013-12-12 10:13:21 AM

Mnemia: dittybopper:
Not to mention that it literally puts you at the mercy of every farking person who can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.   And not all of those people are willing to cut you some slack.

I think that debt is a great example of how this screws people. The APR is just a number on a page if you don't grasp how it affects you. And yet we are asking people who can't understand how to add and multiply to understand complex ARMs and balloon mortgages. I'm not surprised that many of those people were surprised by how much their home payments increased, because they don't know anything about numbers beyond what someone else tells them. And in that case, the people telling them have an interest in them not understanding it. Same goes for payday loans, credit cards, and so on.


Precisely.

My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

Next time, I'm thinking about using a slide rule instead.  I just have to get a financial rule like a Pickett 510 to use instead of my "everyday" carry Pickett 200-T Pocket Trig slide rule.
 
2013-12-12 10:21:22 AM

Mnemia: dittybopper:
Not to mention that it literally puts you at the mercy of every farking person who can add, subtract, multiply, and divide.   And not all of those people are willing to cut you some slack.

I think that debt is a great example of how this screws people. The APR is just a number on a page if you don't grasp how it affects you. And yet we are asking people who can't understand how to add and multiply to understand complex ARMs and balloon mortgages. I'm not surprised that many of those people were surprised by how much their home payments increased, because they don't know anything about numbers beyond what someone else tells them. And in that case, the people telling them have an interest in them not understanding it. Same goes for payday loans, credit cards, and so on.


I believe there is math illiteracy and then there is math laziness. I know some very educated people who could figure out that the APR on a particular loan is ridiculous, but just out of laziness choose not to worry about the details. In the back of their mind they have to know it makes a difference, but they have already decided not to worry about the details and just pay what they consider an acceptable monthly amount for the product. That is the only thing that makes sense considering some of the financial nonsense I've seen educated people put themselves into.
 
2013-12-12 10:34:14 AM

pkellmey: I believe there is math illiteracy and then there is math laziness. I know some very educated people who could figure out that the APR on a particular loan is ridiculous, but just out of laziness choose not to worry about the details. In the back of their mind they have to know it makes a difference, but they have already decided not to worry about the details and just pay what they consider an acceptable monthly amount for the product. That is the only thing that makes sense considering some of the financial nonsense I've seen educated people put themselves into.


Actually, I think it's more along the lines of they don't realize that the math has a practical application, or that they should use it.  It just doesn't occur to them.

My favorite example of this was a very well educated and intelligent co-worker who asked me a few years back about what I thought of hybrid cars, because she was thinking of buying one because of the high price of gas at the time, and she was nearly done paying for her current car, a Toyota Camry with about 40,000 miles on it.

I had to show her that it was cheaper to keep the Camry after she was done paying for it, because there was no way she was going to make up the $300 in savings by not having a car payment in gas savings.

It just didn't occur to her that the decision could be boiled down to a simple word problem like you got in grade school, and this was a person with a masters degree working in a technical field at a college.  She wasn't being lazy, she just didn't make the simple connections necessary to define the problem properly.

She ended up keeping the Camry for a few more years, squirreling away a third of what she was paying for that in a car payment, and used those savings to put a large down payment on a Prius when she was ready to replace the Camry, saving her a bunch more money in interest.
 
2013-12-12 10:45:01 AM
My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?
 
2013-12-12 10:52:21 AM

Stile4aly: My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?


Mostly because the rate of math phobia is so high it is considered acceptable. I fought with it all through high school and college, so I see the tendency when every teacher I had said, "Math phobia is not unusual. It really is the norm with the students I've worked with."
 
2013-12-12 10:57:21 AM

dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

Next time, I'm thinking about using a slide rule instead.  I just have to get a financial rule like a Pickett 510 to use instead of my "everyday" carry Pickett 200-T Pocket Trig slide rule.


How exactly do you need a calculator (or a log-stick for that matter)?  You can fit the proof for that one on a post-it note even if you've got big handwriting.

Also, lowered monthly payment is a good deal because it lowers the chance of default (and repossession) usually, I don't know that I've ever had anyone try to sell it on the pretext that it would lower total cost.
 
2013-12-12 11:16:09 AM

dittybopper: Actually, I think it's more along the lines of they don't realize that the math has a practical application, or that they should use it.  It just doesn't occur to them.


Agreed.  In my experience, way too many of my math classes have been too dryly academic and not "practical" enough.  It's impressive to watch the professor go through a proof to explain why a given formula or theorem is true, but it's also completely pointless.  I say this as a guy who's actually studying (or "studying" since I'm on Fark) for a grad-level math final this afternoon, and dealing with that problem.  I can learn to do the math necessary to pass the class, but there's not nearly enough connection of how to apply that math to the real world.  We get some examples of how the  concepts are applied, but not the actual math unfortunately.
 
2013-12-12 11:27:31 AM

Jim_Callahan: dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

Next time, I'm thinking about using a slide rule instead.  I just have to get a financial rule like a Pickett 510 to use instead of my "everyday" carry Pickett 200-T Pocket Trig slide rule.

How exactly do you need a calculator (or a log-stick for that matter)?  You can fit the proof for that one on a post-it note even if you've got big handwriting.


I've actually had it happen where a car salesman came back to us with a "lower payment" *WITHOUT* explicitly saying that instead of a 4 year loan it was for a 5 year one.  He just said "I got you a better deal", and because I'm suspicious, I ran it through the calculator and figured out that it was impossible for that payment to adequately cover the cost of the car to the dealer, given the prior interest and term.  But when I kept them the same and lengthened the term, it came out exactly to the penny.

Also, lowered monthly payment is a good deal because it lowers the chance of default (and repossession) usually, I don't know that I've ever had anyone try to sell it on the pretext that it would lower total cost.

So buy a cheaper car.  Problem solved.

And the pretext wasn't "it would lower the total cost", because car salesmen avoid talking about that like the farkin' plague, right up until they are forced to disclose it on the paperwork.  The pretext is always "lower monthly payments" or "better car, roughly same monthly payment".

I've found that every single one I dickered with wanted to talk payments while I was talking purchase price.  Arguing payments is a fools game that costs you more money in the long run, and that's what they want because that's how they make money:  Giving you the appearance of saving money while not reducing the actual purchase price one whit.  Your car payment "goes down" from $360 to $320, "saving" you $40 a month, but in reality you're spending about $19,000 on a $15,000 car instead of the roughly $17,000 you would have spent for 48 months at a lower interest rate.

That's money directly out of your pocket.
 
2013-12-12 11:29:40 AM

HMS_Blinkin: dittybopper: Actually, I think it's more along the lines of they don't realize that the math has a practical application, or that they should use it.  It just doesn't occur to them.

Agreed.  In my experience, way too many of my math classes have been too dryly academic and not "practical" enough.  It's impressive to watch the professor go through a proof to explain why a given formula or theorem is true, but it's also completely pointless.  I say this as a guy who's actually studying (or "studying" since I'm on Fark) for a grad-level math final this afternoon, and dealing with that problem.  I can learn to do the math necessary to pass the class, but there's not nearly enough connection of how to apply that math to the real world.  We get some examples of how the  concepts are applied, but not the actual math unfortunately.


That's the problem.  You can know math out the yin-yang and still be functionally innumerate.
 
2013-12-12 11:43:21 AM

Stile4aly: My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?


Maths, computers (and certain other types of technology), science, there are quite a few subjects where the bulk of people seem to think it is an endearing feature not to make even the most basic effort to understand them.

The odd thing is how selective it is: you can have people that are fine running the hundreds of different functions on their mobile phone, but claim to be too technologically illiterate to learn how to set the clock on the microwave, or how to record a program on a vcr/pvr, or how to change settings on an air conditioner, etc.
 
2013-12-12 11:48:02 AM

xria: Stile4aly: My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?

Maths, computers (and certain other types of technology), science, there are quite a few subjects where the bulk of people seem to think it is an endearing feature not to make even the most basic effort to understand them.

The odd thing is how selective it is: you can have people that are fine running the hundreds of different functions on their mobile phone, but claim to be too technologically illiterate to learn how to set the clock on the microwave, or how to record a program on a vcr/pvr, or how to change settings on an air conditioner, etc.


Heh.  The distaffbopper can't be bothered to do a whole bunch of technological stuff, but she knows Facebook inside and out.
 
2013-12-12 11:49:00 AM

xria: Stile4aly: My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?

Maths, computers (and certain other types of technology), science, there are quite a few subjects where the bulk of people seem to think it is an endearing feature not to make even the most basic effort to understand them.

The odd thing is how selective it is: you can have people that are fine running the hundreds of different functions on their mobile phone, but claim to be too technologically illiterate to learn how to set the clock on the microwave, or how to record a program on a vcr/pvr, or how to change settings on an air conditioner, etc.


Which is why I go back to the laziness idea. I believe that math and science definitely fall into the "I learned it in school. Don't make me pretend to apply it here. It takes effort," and people allow it (or even assume it in many cases). We don't usually allow the same laziness in reading, especially with all of the "I agree" contract clicks we make on computers. There is definitely a difference in which you can get away with more easily.
 
2013-12-12 11:51:19 AM

pkellmey: Stile4aly: My biggest frustration is that we accept it when people say "I'm just not very good at math."  I hear this from time to time in my office, and I work for a bank!  We would never accept someone saying "I just don't read very well" so why is it ok for math?

Mostly because the rate of math phobia is so high it is considered acceptable. I fought with it all through high school and college, so I see the tendency when every teacher I had said, "Math phobia is not unusual. It really is the norm with the students I've worked with."


I would not mind the math illiterate and their phobia if there was not the extreme chance that these people are also grammer and or spelling nazis.
 
2013-12-12 11:56:35 AM
Maybe the kids would do better if the schools took the less confusing approach of only teaching them one math at a time.
 
2013-12-12 11:57:39 AM

dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.


I had one actually try to tell me I was wrong when I did that.  I looked right at him and said, "I'm sorry, I know how to do math, unlike some people you may be used to dealing with."  I really don't think he liked it when I walked out right in front of a couple of other people waiting to meet with him after describing to him just how bad the deal was that he was trying to push.
 
2013-12-12 12:20:58 PM

StrangeQ: dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

I had one actually try to tell me I was wrong when I did that.  I looked right at him and said, "I'm sorry, I know how to do math, unlike some people you may be used to dealing with."  I really don't think he liked it when I walked out right in front of a couple of other people waiting to meet with him after describing to him just how bad the deal was that he was trying to push.


I think your both missing the point of auto-loans.  Nobody gets one because it is a good investment (unless you've got some special 0% interest going on) - people get car loans because they can't afford the car they want *now*....but are willing to keep paying for it.

So yeah - there is a trade-off between how much you pay now, each month, and over the life of the loan.  And, yes, paying less each month means you pay more over the life-time of the loan - but it's wrong to assume it's inherently worse.  After all, if you had the money, you wouldn't need the loan.  It's up to the individual to decide what they care about.  And most people want to pay as little as they can now, and get the car that they want.  They don't care that, in five years, they'll have paid more in total.  And really, given the whole time-value crap, inflation and fluctuating interest rates; it's really anybody's guess as to which is the better financial investment.  Look at something like a typical coupon bond.  You pay $x and after five years you get back $x and each year you get 5%.  The value of that bond will constantly fluctuate....5% might be a great ROI in 2 years, but maybe interest rates skyrocket and nobody wants a stupid 5% ROI.  And maybe the dollar tanks and gas is now $12 per gallon and inflation is at record highs....suddenly $x isn't worth crap.

I'm not saying the car salesman is right; but I'd hardly be offended when they offer loans that most people are interested in.  If all you car about is the total amount paid; don't get a loan.  Any loan will be a rip-off compared to that.
 
2013-12-12 12:22:33 PM
i.imgur.com
 
2013-12-12 12:37:21 PM

Fark_Guy_Rob: Look at something like a typical coupon bond.  You pay $x and after five years you get back $x and each year you get 5%.  The value of that bond will constantly fluctuate....5% might be a great ROI in 2 years, but maybe interest rates skyrocket and nobody wants a stupid 5% ROI.  And maybe the dollar tanks and gas is now $12 per gallon and inflation is at record highs....suddenly $x isn't worth crap.


That's true, but $x-$y is worth even less.
 
2013-12-12 12:38:00 PM

dittybopper: Fark_Guy_Rob: Look at something like a typical coupon bond.  You pay $x and after five years you get back $x and each year you get 5%.  The value of that bond will constantly fluctuate....5% might be a great ROI in 2 years, but maybe interest rates skyrocket and nobody wants a stupid 5% ROI.  And maybe the dollar tanks and gas is now $12 per gallon and inflation is at record highs....suddenly $x isn't worth crap.

That's true, but $x-$y is worth even less.


Where $y > 0, of course.
 
2013-12-12 12:38:08 PM
It's not that we're graduating more kids than ever, it's that we've lowered the standards to include everyone.
 
2013-12-12 12:42:48 PM

dittybopper: It just didn't occur to her that the decision could be boiled down to a simple word problem like you got in grade school, and this was a person with a masters degree working in a technical field at a college. She wasn't being lazy, she just didn't make the simple connections necessary to define the problem properly.


As someone who went to "smart" school and still considers herself effectively dumber than her husband, this is the crux of the issue. This is purportedly what "critical thinking" should cover; how to extrapolate, both data and formulae.

Unfortunately, again due to experience, I think only SOME of it is teachable. I'm not a stupid person, but at least once a week I'll do something "the hard way" because I simply didn't think.
 
2013-12-12 12:46:40 PM
This is what happens when parent groups and politicians tell the schools they aren't allowed make kids repeat grades and only use graduation rates as a marker for a schools success.
 
2013-12-12 12:49:45 PM

Mnemia: pkellmey:

I always wonder how people get by without being able to quickly compare prices per unit of different sizes of an item. It used to be that the bigger sizes were almost always cheaper per unit, but I've noticed that that is often not the case now. So retailers are probable noticing the innumeracy trend and taking advantage of it (others print the price per unit on the shelves, probably in recognition of the same trend).


I notice this too, but don't think it is due to ripping people off, probably more with inventory and wanting to move it.  I like that stores make the price per unit available to the shopper, but sometimes they don't help.  I can't remember the product, but I was comparing a name brand with a store brand a few weeks ago.  The brand name was telling me price per oz.  while the other was price per package or serving, basically they didn't have the same units for comparison.

Another thing I have to do (since division is a bit tougher than multiplication) is find Least Common Multiple.  Example. shredded cheese is on sale in 8 oz packages and 12 oz packages, but the price per unit isn't listed.  so take the price of the 8 oz bag and multiply by 3 and multiply the price of the 12 oz bag by two (now you are comparing 24 oz to 24 oz)...turns out the 8 oz package was the better deal.

If I were not able to do math, I would have probably bought the 12 oz bag.

The other problem shoppers run into is perishable goods.  Yes, the 128 oz jar of mayo is cheaper per unit than the 16 oz jar, but if you end up throwing away half of the 128 oz jar, did you really save any money?

critical thinking is hard and not easy to teach at the same time.
 
2013-12-12 12:59:51 PM

HMS_Blinkin: dittybopper: Actually, I think it's more along the lines of they don't realize that the math has a practical application, or that they should use it.  It just doesn't occur to them.

Agreed.  In my experience, way too many of my math classes have been too dryly academic and not "practical" enough.  It's impressive to watch the professor go through a proof to explain why a given formula or theorem is true, but it's also completely pointless.  I say this as a guy who's actually studying (or "studying" since I'm on Fark) for a grad-level math final this afternoon, and dealing with that problem.  I can learn to do the math necessary to pass the class, but there's not nearly enough connection of how to apply that math to the real world.  We get some examples of how the  concepts are applied, but not the actual math unfortunately.


are you in a pure math program/class or an applied math program/class?  (Pure) Math studies math for maths sake, it is more about the proof and techniques of the proof then what the theorem can be used for.  Applied math focuses more on the applications.  It really depends on what you want to do or the end game.  I have known mathematicians who can tell you wondrous things about derivatives, but can't actually take the derivative of a specific function.  They know all about forests, but can't spot a tree if they ran into it.
 
2013-12-12 01:05:50 PM

Hyjamon: Mnemia: pkellmey:

I always wonder how people get by without being able to quickly compare prices per unit of different sizes of an item. It used to be that the bigger sizes were almost always cheaper per unit, but I've noticed that that is often not the case now. So retailers are probable noticing the innumeracy trend and taking advantage of it (others print the price per unit on the shelves, probably in recognition of the same trend).

I notice this too, but don't think it is due to ripping people off, probably more with inventory and wanting to move it.  I like that stores make the price per unit available to the shopper, but sometimes they don't help.  I can't remember the product, but I was comparing a name brand with a store brand a few weeks ago.  The brand name was telling me price per oz.  while the other was price per package or serving, basically they didn't have the same units for comparison.

Another thing I have to do (since division is a bit tougher than multiplication) is find Least Common Multiple.  Example. shredded cheese is on sale in 8 oz packages and 12 oz packages, but the price per unit isn't listed.  so take the price of the 8 oz bag and multiply by 3 and multiply the price of the 12 oz bag by two (now you are comparing 24 oz to 24 oz)...turns out the 8 oz package was the better deal.

If I were not able to do math, I would have probably bought the 12 oz bag.

The other problem shoppers run into is perishable goods.  Yes, the 128 oz jar of mayo is cheaper per unit than the 16 oz jar, but if you end up throwing away half of the 128 oz jar, did you really save any money?

critical thinking is hard and not easy to teach at the same time.


Actually, I don't think it's necessarily hard, nor hard to teach, it's just that the majority of people don't bother.

First, for a parent or teacher that is authoritarian by nature, teaching critical thinking skills to a child is just "asking for trouble".  Now, I teach the littlebopper to question things, because while I and the distaffbopper have rules that we enforce, we're also willing to go farther than "Because I *SAID*SO*, that's why!" and explain why the rules are the rules if he asks, and it's reasonable to do so given the situation.

So if he wants to know why he can't stay up late on a school night, we'll tell him why it's important to get a good night's sleep so you can concentrate the next day.  But if it's an immediate safety issue*, we do what we need to do first and explain why later.

I can see where someone more concerned about maintaining their authority in the face of a questioning child would be averse to teaching critical thinking skills, if they even had them themselves, which seems unlikely.  I was that sort of child, questioning the why of things if I couldn't see a good reason for them, and sometimes even when I could.  That made a lot of adults uncomfortable, I know, but I think I'm the better for it, and I like to think it's because my parents (well, my father, mostly) encouraged me to think for myself instead of just relying on other people.

*Like the time he shot an arrow at a target while I was downrange.  I took the bow and told him to go into the house and wait for me.  We had a long, serious talk about how a cavalier attitude with weapons can lead to very bad consequences.   That was probably at least 4 years ago, and he hasn't made that mistake since.  He even corrects adults when they fark up.
 
2013-12-12 01:12:44 PM

dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

Next time, I'm thinking about using a slide rule instead.  I just have to get a financial rule like a Pickett 510 to use instead of my "everyday" carry Pickett 200-T Pocket Trig slide rule.


I just walk in with my borg implant.  They give me a straight deal right away.

www.starwars-universe.com
 
2013-12-12 01:22:53 PM

Ambitwistor: dittybopper: My biggest pet peeve on this score:  Car salesmen.  I *LOVE* the looks on their faces when I haul out my TI programmable calculator and start pointing out to them the "deal" they just offered me that lowers my monthly payment is going to cost me thousands more in the long run, so try again.

Next time, I'm thinking about using a slide rule instead.  I just have to get a financial rule like a Pickett 510 to use instead of my "everyday" carry Pickett 200-T Pocket Trig slide rule.

I just walk in with my borg implant.  They give me a straight deal right away.

[www.starwars-universe.com image 464x420]


Everytime I see someone walking around with a Bluetooth headset in, my mind separates them into two categories based upon their gender.

If they are male, my nickname for them is "Lobot".

If they are female, "Lt. Uhura".
 
2013-12-12 01:42:26 PM

dittybopper: Actually, I don't think it's necessarily hard, nor hard to teach, it's just that the majority of people don't bother.

First, for a parent or teacher that is authoritarian by nature, teaching critical thinking skills to a child is just "asking for trouble". Now, I teach the littlebopper to question things, because while I and the distaffbopper have rules that we enforce, we're also willing to go farther than "Because I *SAID*SO*, that's why!" and explain why the rules are the rules if he asks, and it's reasonable to do so given the situation.


to elaborate, we are talking about two different scenarios...teaching critical thinking over a lifetime vs. a few weeks.

I agree with the way you are training your little one to think and then think critically...always ask questions and I would bet you give him riddles, problems, puzzles, etc to play with.  I would also bet you have had him make his own bow (learning how things are put together or taken apart).

I work in education and they want us to 'teach' critical thinking in our classes (mine is math in particular).  I really don't know how to do it in one lesson.  I often joke that we need proof the college students can think before we worry about them thinking critically.  hell, it is hard to find a definition of 'critical thinking' that everyone can agree on.

They also want the students to write out the critical thinking part or their reasoning. (they always force writing into math classes, but never math into English classes).  So i have students write out their reasoning on how to solve this problem:  "You have 7 coins.  They are identical in every way except for one is lighter than the others.  If given a balance, can you find the lighter coin using the balance only twice?"

Now how do you teach how to solve that problem without solving it for the students?

Only way I know how to develop critical thinking is to solve problems...thousands upon thousands of problems of all different varieties.  math problems, detective stories, assembling parts, making things.  eventually you will encounter new problems and your brain will notice it is similar to something you have done before only with a slight tweak.
 
2013-12-12 02:23:05 PM

dittybopper: I've found that every single one I dickered with wanted to talk payments while I was talking purchase price.  Arguing payments is a fools game that costs you more money in the long run, and that's what they want because that's how they make money:  Giving you the appearance of saving money while not reducing the actual purchase price one whit.  Your car payment "goes down" from $360 to $320, "saving" you $40 a month, but in reality you're spending about $19,000 on a $15,000 car instead of the roughly $17,000 you would have spent for 48 months at a lower interest rate.

That's money directly out of your pocket.


Firstly, no, out-of-pocket means paying the whole price of the vehicle up-front.  Which is by far the best deal both for you and them if you have the money.  But if you're going the payment over time route, the entire point of the plan is that you're  not paying out-of-pocket.

The point of a loan is that the car company is forgoing the financial security and benefit of being paid immediately in exchange for the risk of missed payments and default.  In exchange, you're giving them more money overall in the less-advantageous fashion.  The longer you want to take to pay it off, the more risk they're assuming, so you pay them more for something of benefit to you (the payments always being in your budget).

You are taking a fairly equitable financial tradeoff and taking it as some sort of personal affront instead of a simple transaction whose trade-offs are logical to both the buyer and seller.
 
2013-12-12 02:38:19 PM

Hyjamon: Only way I know how to develop critical thinking is to solve problems...thousands upon thousands of problems of all different varieties. math problems, detective stories, assembling parts, making things. eventually you will encounter new problems and your brain will notice it is similar to something you have done before only with a slight tweak.


I hear ya. I don't really know of a better way that isn't expressly tailored to precisely one person (except parenting, and even that's not great... :P). This is the only thing I can think of as well. Good, useful, diverse repetition - by which I don't mean the same damn question over and over again, but the same concept shot at from a hundred directions. And that's not easy even for an individual, let alone a classroom.
 
2013-12-12 02:45:32 PM

AngryDragon: [i.imgur.com image 510x352]



and how much money did you make tonight?....potato!
 
2013-12-12 04:13:20 PM

Jim_Callahan: You are taking a fairly equitable financial tradeoff and taking it as some sort of personal affront instead of a simple transaction whose trade-offs are logical to both the buyer and seller.


Incorrect.

I would agree with your point, except that in practice, complete terms aren't really discussed up-front.  Any salesman who fully informs you every step of the way is likely to lose sales to those who don't.  As I pointed out, that steps over the line from "informed decision" and starts flirting with the edge of dishonesty.

Still, I'd rather make the decision for myself.

And I don't have a problem with financing, per se:  I finance my cars because I know I couldn't come up with the cash to purchase them outright, and I'm fine with that.  I don't have a problem with interest, or the idea that I'm paying a premium over the actual negotiated price in order to purchase the car.

What I have a problem with is salesmen, and the little tricks they try to pull to make it seem like you're getting a good deal, when in fact you are getting a worse one.
 
2013-12-12 04:15:14 PM

dittybopper: What I have a problem with is salesmen, and the little tricks they try to pull to make it seem like you're getting a good deal, when in fact you are getting a worse one.


I should point out that I catch them at it, but many, perhaps even most customers, don't.  Because they are innumerate.
 
2013-12-12 04:53:52 PM
On the general topic of car loans, I have been known to take out longer loans at the same interest rate.  It's much easier on my end to say that  I have to make a $400 payment over the next 60 months, but there's no real difference between that and $500 over the next 40 months or so.  And that way, if something goes horribly, horribly wrong, I can pull back to paying $400/month, dump the extra $100 into emergency and then go right back to paying $500.  (As long as the interest rates are the same of course).

/New car.
//Only car on the lot I fit in to the point where I could drive and see stoplights.
 
2013-12-12 07:13:24 PM
Interesting how that 20% of elementary school being retards tracks to the uptick in the teabagger movement.  I wonder if there is a correlation between being stupid and becoming a teabagger.

/yes, I realize this isn't a politics thread, but this whole movement seems to related to some mental deficiency
 
2013-12-12 08:02:36 PM
That "more than half" meme is good, but I prefer the Star Trek IV version, "Is that a lot?"
 
2013-12-12 09:28:38 PM

rosebud_the_sled: Interesting how that 20% of elementary school being retards tracks to the uptick in the teabagger movement.  I wonder if there is a correlation between being stupid and becoming a teabagger.

/yes, I realize this isn't a politics thread, but this whole movement seems to related to some mental deficiency


I did not know the tea party was big in the UK. Learns me something every day
 
2013-12-12 10:16:16 PM
This is in London.  I am guessing the reason behind those numbers isn't too much different than the reason behind the low scores in SW Texas; large numbers of immigrants that struggle with the language.
 
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