Sunday, August 01, 2010

The Sqare of the Hypotenuse

A few years ago I met R's workmate's now son in law. He was twenty and pretty as a picture and very effeminate. Some three or more years later, he has shown no signs of being gay. There aren't rules. You can be effeminate and straight. I have known a few in the past.

The lad started an air conditioning/plumber type apprenticeship but has chucked it in. He is now angling for the police force, but evidently the police force entry requirements consist of needing good mathematical skills. He is getting some remedial help from R's workmate's husband.

What maths skills does a policeman need? Trigonometry could be useful for measuring car accident or crime scenes. Aside from that, I would have thought basic arithmetic would be enough?

Maths was a compulsory subject when I was at school. It was the biggest waste of my time and a most uninteresting subject. Lordy, at different times I studied Pure Maths, Applied Maths, Calculus, Trigonometry, Algebra. I fudged my way with most of it until it became so complex that I could no longer work it out with mental or my own written calculations. Algerbraic formulas became the only way to get to an answer and I just could not do it. It was above me and I didn't care as I knew it was pointless. I was left behind.

Then there were logarithms (are they like algorithms?), slide rules, booklets of tables. I haven't a clue why your bloke on the street needed to know them. Our simple electronic calculators that are now part of our mobile phones do a much better job.

With the exception perhaps of trigonometry, none of the above have been any use to me in my subsequent years.

I consider Maths a complete waste of my school time. We had one American teacher who called it Math, rather than Maths. That was weird and we used to mock him.

By the end of primary school at eleven years old, seven years of school, I knew arithmetic. That is all I have ever needed.

I hope the kiddies of today are not wasting time on Maths. Far better to spend time on history, geography, social science, environment. Sport even, but don't make them do sport if they don't want to.


  1. Clearly mathematics haven't proved necessary for our careers, Andrew but no doubt it is for others.

    A few weeks ago a friend, going through old papers, discovered the mathematics paper we both sat for our Leaving Certificate in 1965. Re-reading it I was stunned to realise I didn't understand a single question let alone know how to answer them. Yet I must have known these things at that time as I passed the examination.

  2. The geek kid conquered algebra and all that the year before last and now cannot bear to look at his maths books.
    But Maths Online is all the go lol.

  3. Anonymous1:27 pm

    To this day my dreams are haunted by the dreaded Quadratic equation!! V.

  4. 'The Qware of the hypotenuse'less indeed.
    I did house-sitting for a cop. he did a 'police check' on me first, to make sure he wasnt giving a crim the run of his property. He was on his second marriage, and that has now ended and he is on his 3rd. He left the cops and he is a math teacher now. Do The Math - 3 wives. FFS.
    There ought to be 'Husband Checks' for silly women.
    Speaking of which, I had a husband once who was very very 'in touch' with his feminine side. I had to fight off RMIT Architecture lecturers to get him. he minced, he preened, in his tight pink trousers with his floppy hair. But he was very hetero underneath it all.

    Advise your guy to avoid the cops - he would have to mix with crims, or drunks who spew on everything. It's dangerous and his neighbours won't like him. Podiatry is the growth industry of the future - just check out womens shoe fashions. A big glut of cripples coming soon that he could cash in on.

  5. Maths is important if you intend to be an engineer, or an architect, or a scientist etc. It's sports lessons they should drop from the syllabus, I reckon. As far as I can work out, they're only on there to give thick kids something worth attending school for.

  6. Like you Victor, I remember very little of it.

    Just how I feel Jayne. I don't wish to dredge up bad memories.

    Gee Vik, I remember quad equations but I have no idea what they were now. Btw, the lad trying for the police force is K & S's son is law.

    Good chuckle Ann. I agree with you about podiatry. I am thinking of attending one soon.

    No doubt maths has been useful to you Brian, but is it really for many?

  7. They lost me when they started teaching tangents and cosines and all of that...I missed a few weeks when my dad was killed - and they were crucial to the above - I never did get the hang of what i missed and in those days nobody ever gave "catch up" lessons - my dad went to 6th class only and could add up ling lists of numbers such as Pounds shillings and pence and all in his head - he was never wrong. We have lost something along the lines to do with memory i think

  8. Oh cosines MC. Nightmares. No remedial teaching then.

  9. Maths? What is that? One of the main reasons for not studying psychology was the fact that they did so many stats and I HATE MATHS.

  10. Fen, and I thought I was alone with my inability and dislike of maths.