As a Doctor of Math, I often have to deal with a lot of the

misinformation that floats around about math. Whenever I hear a child

(or even an adult) make a claim like "Math is boring" or

"It's pointless to learn math" I just have to cringe. I then also have

to take the time out of my busy schedule to set the misinformed wretch

straight, which I also do not appreciate. But what else am I to do? Am

I to allow the good name of mathematics to be casually shat upon

without lifting a finger? Certainly not.

So, to set the record straight once and for all, I

recently invited members of the public to send me any pressing

questions or concerns they had about math. This way I could publish the

most common questions (along with my answers), and in doing so ensure

that the absolute beauty (and usefulness!) of mathematics could be

revealed to as many people as possible.

So, without further ado: Math!

## QUESTION 1

Learning math in school is all well and good, but when am I going to

use math in real life?

- Jason R.

You'll always use math! Math is the most useful skill a human being can

have, along

with self-locomotion and the ability to digest dairy products. But just

for a moment, let's close our eyes and imagine what your life would be

like in a world without math....

### Friendship

Your friend Ted asks you to "please hand him one of those

oranges" but

you, being unable to count in a world without math, attempt to pick up

all twelve oranges from the bowl at the same time. You drop most of

them, and a few roll under the brake pedal of the car. Ted is unable to

stop and the next intersection and the ensuing wreck mangles both of your bodies beyond comprehension.

### Shopping

The sign on those potato chips said now 5% more free, and you, having

no knowledge of how percentages function in a world without math,

blindly purchased them. They may have been a good deal, but then again

they may not have. It doesn't matter in any case, because you did not

care for their flavor and were forced to discard them.

### Cooking

Without math, there was nothing to stop you from pouring slightly more

red phosphorus than you needed into your methamphetamine mix, causing

your meth to come out somewhat chalky. Your customers may be meth

fiends, but they are not savages. You are forced to listen to them

complaining about the consistency of the meth.

### Balancing Your Checkbook

You needed to balance your check book. Unfortunately since math did not

exist, you could not. Therefore you accidentally wrote a check for $12

for some ice pops when you actually only had $5 in your account. Your

credit union automatically transferred $7 from your savings account

into checking at no additional charge or inconvenience to you. If math

had existed for you, this never would've happened!

So as you can probably see, to be ignorant of math is a gamble you

can't afford to take!

## QUESTION 2

The Pythagorean Theorem seems worthless. What a bunch of crap.

- Megan

That isn't really a question Megan, but I'm certainly not going to let

that stop me from showing you how utterly foolish and ignorant you

really are. Here are five situations where knowing the Pythagorean

Theorem means the difference between **LIFE** and **DEATH**:

### 1. Building a Bridge

Engineers, carpenters, builders, and architects all use the Pythagorean

theorem every hour of every day. Without it, it's impossible to create

a right-angled triangular shape, and we all know right-angled triangles

are the basic building blocks of all life on earth! Why, just take a

look at a window frame, a college campus parking lot, or the stem of a

crack-cocaine pipe. These are all wonderful examples of

naturally occurring Right Triangles we would have a hard time living

without!

Needless to say, I won't be crossing any bridges built by a carpenter

who doesn't know his math! (It would collapse immediately because of

the builder's failure to utilize right triangles due to his lack of

knowledge about Pythagoras's Theorem!)

### 2. Purchasing a Television Set

How else would a shopper calculate the size of the base of a television

to see if it would fit in his entertainment center? In case you didn't

know, the screen size of TVs is measured diagonally, not horizontally.

Good luck figuring the horizontal measurement out without using the

Pythagorean theorem, loser!

### 3. Buying a New Car

When sizing up an automobile for purchase, the first thing any good

shopper looks at is structural integrity. If the auto isn't

structurally sound, it won't do you much good in a crash (or even basic

cornering for that matter). Yes, the first thing any savvy car-shopper

looks for is how well the angles of the structural beams of the car

conform to--you guessed it--the Pythagorean theorem. The rule of thumb

is: The more right triangles, the safer the car. It's simple.

For a good laugh, try imagining a car comprised entirely

non-Pythagorean-conforming triangles. Talk about wacky!

### 4. Playing a Game of Soccer

A soccer player utilizes Pythagoras's work each time he runs

diagonally. Without knowledge of this theorem, he would be relegated to

turning at 90 degree angles, and wouldn't that be a sight to behold!

No, without good old Pythagoras, little Pepe won't be scoring too many

"soccer points" for his team, I'm afraid.

### 5. Piloting a Commercial Aircraft

Airline pilots need to learn the Pythagorean Theorem due to their

reliance on angles (take-off, landing, distance of approach as related

to the sun, etc), so if you ever meet a pilot who claims not to know

it, run the other way!

If you're still not convinced, imagine this situation: A pilot is

flying a group of diseased war veterans and award-winning girl scouts

from New York to San Antonio. Suddenly, lightning strikes the plane,

causing the power to go out. All the pilot knows is the precise speed

of the plane, the distance to the ground, and the exact distance

remaining to the nearest airport. Unfortunately, this particular pilot

didn't bother to learn his math, and therefor cannot utilize

Pythagoras's Theorem.

The plane plummets to the ground so fast that it catches on fire upon

entering earth's atmosphere, searing every passenger alive before it

smashes into a million pieces into the newly rebuilt world trade

centers.

Still think math is useless?

## QUESTION 3

Can you Find the points of intersection of the curves with polar

equations $r=6\cos\theta$ and $r=2+2\cos\theta$?

-Martin

I certainly can, but at the present moment in time I have far more pressing

matters to attend to, such as defending the good name of Lady Math from

those who would orally violate her.

But...seeing as you are one of the faithful, I suppose I won't let you

leave empty-handed. Here's a small hint to get you started:

If Ï€n(X) = [Sn, X] = [S, X]n is the smash product of an

n-dimensional sphere, then carry the substrate of the regular

parametric representation ratio to the extension from affine schemes

which are diametrically charged in opposition to the manifest destiny

spheroid variation.

Hope that helps!

## QUESTION 4

My dad works as a carpenter and he says he only uses basic math. I want

to be a carpenter too, so why do I have to take classes like

Pre-Calculus in school? It seems like a waste of time which could be

better spent learning a useful foreign language like Spanish or

something.

-Nancy

A waste of time?! Math is **NEVER** a waste of time! Knowledge is

knowledge, and you just never know when you might need to use a skill

like calculus! For example, what if at age 42 you are suddenly unable

to perform your duties as a carpenter (due to something like early

onset Alzheimer's or a crippling dismemberment) and the only job

available to you was Aerospace Engineer? You can bet you'll be darn

glad you spent all that time on Calculus in high school, won't you?!

And as for other "real-world" classes like Spanish being a better use

of time than advanced math? You must be joking! Let me tell you, if

you're looking to break into the lucrative field of "possessing the

ability to communicate on a meaningful level with a Mexican", then go

right ahead and waste your time taking Spanish IV.

While you're "learning" about your "Casa Pequitos" and your "Mucho

Libros", I'll be a Best Buy, purchasing a $146 graphing calculator I'll

probably only use twice. And that's really the concept behind advanced

math in a nutshell: Expensive and time-consuming planning for events

which are highly unlikely to ever take place. Some folks call it

wasteful. Some folks call it ridiculous.

But Me? I call it beauty.

*Math Rules.*