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(BBC-US)   Toughest mathematical problem for general public to solve is 7 X 8. A shocking sixty percent of people come up with answers other than '42'   (bbc.com) divider line 256
    More: Dumbass, George Osborne, educational technology, UK economy, A-level  
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14504 clicks; posted to Geek » on 03 Jul 2014 at 11:20 AM (25 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-07-03 09:13:03 AM  
"This sort of thing wouldn't happen in other countries," he says. "It shows something about our attitude to maths. If you asked the same thing in France, it would be the equivalent to asking if a minister could read."

Britain is just trying to be more like its big brother America. But there's something missing about British ignorance; something they haven't quite managed to copy: the unabashed pride we take in not knowing shiat.
 
2014-07-03 09:39:25 AM  
It's just Republican maths that you do to make yourself feel better.
 
2014-07-03 09:52:31 AM  
rumpelstiltskin:  the unabashed pride we take in not knowing shiat.

It truly is a time honored American tradition.
 
2014-07-03 10:03:15 AM  
My mind immediately spat out "56".
 
2014-07-03 10:09:57 AM  

make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".


Me too, but I am amazed every day at how few people can do basic calculations in their head. "That moulding is $.99 a foot." "Well, how much will 100 feet cost me?" *facepalm*
 
2014-07-03 10:37:24 AM  

make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".


Having never mastered my times tables, I had to do a quick "eight time eight minus eight" to arrive at 56; I got there, nonetheless.
 
2014-07-03 10:41:58 AM  
6 X 9. Can never remember that one. 7 X 8 is instant.
 
2014-07-03 10:48:06 AM  

cryinoutloud: 6 X 9. Can never remember that one. 7 X 8 is instant.


I get the two confused in my head.  I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.
 
2014-07-03 10:50:59 AM  

Gecko Gingrich: make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".

Having never mastered my times tables, I had to do a quick "eight time eight minus eight" to arrive at 56; I got there, nonetheless.


That's what I do. I have every # times itself in my head up to 20, so on ones that are close I just add or subtract the difference.
 
2014-07-03 10:52:56 AM  

make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".


I went to Catholic elementary school, and was taught my multiplication tables by actual nuns.

Not only did I immediately think "56", it took me a second to catch the joke in the headline.
 
2014-07-03 10:55:47 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: I get the two confused in my head. I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.


if it helps, with multiples of 9, if you keep adding the digits of the product the sum of the digits always equals 9.

6 x 9 = 54
5 + 4 (the digits in 54) = 9

9 x 5674 = 50823
5 + 0 + 8 + 2 + 3 = 18
1 + 8 = 9
 
2014-07-03 10:58:13 AM  

Gecko Gingrich: Benevolent Misanthrope: I get the two confused in my head. I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.

if it helps, with multiples of 9, if you keep adding the digits of the product the sum of the digits always equals 9.

6 x 9 = 54
5 + 4 (the digits in 54) = 9

9 x 5674 = 50823
5 + 0 + 8 + 2 + 3 = 18
1 + 8 = 9


Except 9 x 5674 has to end in a 6. Your math is wrong.
 
2014-07-03 11:00:04 AM  

bdub77: Except 9 x 5674 has to end in a 6. Your math is wrong.


Stupid dyslexia. Change "5674" to "5647".

/Sorry.
//It still works with 9 x 5674.
 
2014-07-03 11:00:37 AM  

Gecko Gingrich: make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".

Having never mastered my times tables, I had to do a quick "eight time eight minus eight" to arrive at 56; I got there, nonetheless.


Funny - I did (7 x 7) + 7 to get the answer, but I can add quicker in my head then subtract...

As for most people not being able to do 'simple' math in their heads, it doesn't surprise me and has not for a long time.
20+ years when I was working at Six Flags, at the end of the day we had to tally up the number of riders from hourly data collected throughout the day. it was a twelve to fourteen item column of three to four digit numbers. I would sit down and add it up in my head while nearly everybody else had to take turns waiting for the calculator. And I was usually faster than typing the numbers into the calculator as well.
Even 20 years ago a bunch of high school and college aged kids had trouble adding, so completely not surprised it is getting worse.
/csb
 
2014-07-03 11:02:36 AM  

Gecko Gingrich: bdub77: Except 9 x 5674 has to end in a 6. Your math is wrong.

Stupid dyslexia. Change "5674" to "5647".

/Sorry.
//It still works with 9 x 5674.


Gotcha, easy mistake to make. But yes verifying with adding up the digits is nice. Works well with 3s too.
 
2014-07-03 11:03:11 AM  

Slives: Funny - I did (7 x 7) + 7 to get the answer, but I can add quicker in my head then subtract...


Whatever works. :)

I'm better with even numbers than odd.
 
2014-07-03 11:03:16 AM  
I was told there would be no maths.
 
2014-07-03 11:08:19 AM  

bdub77: Works well with 3s too.


Yup. If the sum of the digits can be reduced to 3, 6 or 9, it is divisible by 3. If it reduces to 9, then it's divisible by 9. In truth, you can stop adding the digits when you get to a sum that is divisible by one of those numbers. I.e., if you get to an 18, you can stop and be confident that the original number is divisible by both 9 and 3, as 18 is divisible by both.
 
2014-07-03 11:09:37 AM  

shanrick: I was told there would be no maths.


We're only doing arithmetic. So, we're not doing "maths", limey. :P
 
2014-07-03 11:10:12 AM  
It's fifteen. I counted on my fingers and 7+8 is fifteen not 42 as your headline states.
 
2014-07-03 11:19:05 AM  

Gonz: make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".

I went to Catholic elementary school, and was taught my multiplication tables by actual nuns.

Not only did I immediately think "56", it took me a second to catch the joke in the headline.


Knowing how Catholic nuns work, you probably also winced as you did the calculation.
 
2014-07-03 11:22:11 AM  
60%?  That's almost half!
 
2014-07-03 11:22:37 AM  
when in doubt, i always answer "12"
 
2014-07-03 11:22:51 AM  

Gecko Gingrich: Benevolent Misanthrope: I get the two confused in my head. I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.
if it helps, with multiples of 9, if you keep adding the digits of the product the sum of the digits always equals 9.
6 x 9 = 54
5 + 4 (the digits in 54) = 9
9 x 5674 = 50823
5 + 0 + 8 + 2 + 3 = 18
1 + 8 = 9


I was told there would be no--never mind, wrong thread.
 
2014-07-03 11:24:10 AM  

make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".


Me too, but my brain didn't show any work, so I only gave it half credit.
 
2014-07-03 11:24:49 AM  
yeah yeah.   7 X 8 = potato

What do i win?
 
2014-07-03 11:24:56 AM  
Its 15. duh.
 
2014-07-03 11:25:18 AM  

Langston: Knowing how Catholic nuns work, you probably also winced as you did the calculation.


I don't want to talk about it.
 
2014-07-03 11:26:15 AM  
Potatoe!
 
2014-07-03 11:26:17 AM  
Am I the only one bothered by the fact that TFA calls the answer to 7*8 a sum and not a product?
 
2014-07-03 11:26:32 AM  
I'm mad that they didn't accept my answer of "Life, The Universe, and Everything "
 
2014-07-03 11:26:54 AM  
Don't all these people use calculators?
 
2014-07-03 11:27:25 AM  
I knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the universe.
 
2014-07-03 11:27:26 AM  
What the hell is a "multiplication sum"? Do they not use the word "Product" across the pond?
 
2014-07-03 11:28:10 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: cryinoutloud: 6 X 9. Can never remember that one. 7 X 8 is instant.

I get the two confused in my head.  I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.


Same here, always have to go to "54, 5 + 4 = 9 so 9 X 6 is 54."
 
2014-07-03 11:28:12 AM  
I wonder how common core would teach this rather than just spitting out an answer.
 
2014-07-03 11:28:40 AM  

BlueFalconPunch: Am I the only one bothered by the fact that TFA calls the answer to 7*8 a sum and not a product?


Came here to complain about this.
 
2014-07-03 11:28:49 AM  

packman_jon: I'm mad that they didn't accept my answer of "Life, The Universe, and Everything "


Cry into your towel.
 
2014-07-03 11:29:56 AM  
s2.quickmeme.com
 
2014-07-03 11:30:54 AM  

swaniefrmreddeer: make me some tea: My mind immediately spat out "56".

Me too, but I am amazed every day at how few people can do basic calculations in their head. "That moulding is $.99 a foot." "Well, how much will 100 feet cost me?" *facepalm*


An arm and a leg.
 
2014-07-03 11:31:46 AM  
I was going to say Purple Drank, with that multiplication crap being so hard.

/Not easy like state vectors or linear operators.
 
2014-07-03 11:33:04 AM  
The chart in TFA seems to suggest that 6*8 is the one that most people get wrong, for some reason. 7*8 though does seem odd in that people appear to get 7*8 wrong more often than they get 8*7 wrong. Same thing with 12*11 instead of 11*12.
 
2014-07-03 11:33:21 AM  

rumpelstiltskin: "This sort of thing wouldn't happen in other countries," he says. "It shows something about our attitude to maths. If you asked the same thing in France, it would be the equivalent to asking if a minister could read."

Britain is just trying to be more like its big brother America. But there's something missing about British ignorance; something they haven't quite managed to copy: the unabashed pride we take in not knowing shiat.


This.
 
2014-07-03 11:33:32 AM  
1. It may be th hardest basic arithmetic problem, but certainly not the hardest mathematical problem.

2. 8 x 6 is a "sum"?  Dumbass Brits.

3. I'll bet if you compared that graph showing how hard various products are to one for American kids, we would do a lot better with the 7s.  Because football.
 
2014-07-03 11:33:44 AM  
There are 10 kinds of people in this world: those that understand jokes in other number bases, and those that do not.
 
2014-07-03 11:34:01 AM  

Msol: What the hell is a "multiplication sum"? Do they not use the word "Product" across the pond?


Don't ask. Please for the love of god don't ask.

CSB time.... So a tutored kids a couple years ago and they where using the "ladder method" for multiplication.  Being a decent guy in math (I used Calc. 3 as an elective in college) I said sure I'll help you with you're math homework little Johnny.  It was what I would have called times tables (4x3=? and 6x5=?)... easy stuff.  So, he starts drawing ladders and all this crazy stuff "to show his work."  Never have I felt so stupid while also instantly knowing the answer.  I found another tutor who's mother was a elementary school teacher and went and help little Susie with the English homework.

/to this day I still don't understand what the fark the ladder system is
 
2014-07-03 11:34:27 AM  

DrSansabeltNoShiatSlacks: I was going to say Purple Drank, with that multiplication crap being so hard.

/Not easy like state vectors or linear operators.


I've heard from the EEs I knew that Discrete Math was pretty brutal. Personally, I like my math like how I my women, smooth and curvy.
 
2014-07-03 11:34:57 AM  
One morning as I was taking my cranky sprogs to daycare we stopped at a Burger King because I'm a masochist and I knew it would shut the little buggers up.

Their computers were down so they were conducting the transactions manually on paper and couldn't take cards.

A kid took my order and scurried off before I could hand him the money. A guy about five years older than me came up and handled the transaction. I watched and this kept happening. He was the only one who could add - quickly anyway.

But my absolute favorite anecdote is the time a grocery cashier whipped out her iThing to calculate the change when I handed her a $10 bill and she accidentally entered $20 in the register.

/it was the end of her shift and she looked like she had a migraine, but still
 
2014-07-03 11:36:16 AM  
Goodbye, and thanks for all the fish.
 
2014-07-03 11:36:42 AM  

Benevolent Misanthrope: cryinoutloud: 6 X 9. Can never remember that one. 7 X 8 is instant.

I get the two confused in my head.  I've always had to think about which one is 54 and which is 56.


It got easier once I realized the 7 x 8 is 56 cause then it's 5678. Plus, a 4 just seems to go with a 9 better. :P
 
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