Friday’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. (Click to view the original along with the bonus content.)

So which are you?

12 tables, 24 chairs, and plenty of chalk

We luv us some failblog (regular or decaf), particularly on a Friday. Lately they’ve had a bunch of math fails, where “lately” means “since the last time we posted from there” and “bunch” is closer in number to “I bought a bunch of bananas” than “I have a bunch of papers to grade”. So without further ado, here are some favorites.

There’s trouble with dates:

and trouble with money:

and lots of trouble with percents:

Apparently, as Barbie once said, math is hard.

It was a crazy January (with an inadvertently extended sabbatical, thanks to the ice storm down south at the time of the Joint Math Meetings!) and now February is coming in like, well, February. Rochester is in the middle of a winter storm, and though it doesn’t quite seem to be the **WINTER STORM **that the forecasters predicted, there’s still a respectable amount of snow and ice. Leading to conversations like these:

**Last night, looking at the closings online:**

**Person 1 : ** Wow, they’ve even closed all the Curves gyms in the area, except for one that’s on a delay. They list them all separately — that’s weird.

**Person 2: **Isn’t that a complicated what of describing it? If they just made one announcement it would be Simple Closed Curves.

*************************

**And then this morning…**

**Person 1: ** Can you take the kids to school tomorrow? I’m giving an exam and want to allow plenty of time to drive slowly if the roads are still icy.

**Person 2: ** Is that a Margin of Terror?

This Brian Regan video isn’t new, but I saw it recently for the first time and found it hilarious (Thanks for the link Michael!). And timely, given the holiday season.

Enjoy!

Maybe that should read “in a song”. In response to What’s a seven letter word for “seven letter word”?, Kurt gives us the following centiliteral:

I hope…I mean, I *know* my students aren’t doing anything like this during class. Right?

Finals ended today — woo hoo! [This is the earliest they’ve ever finished, and I can’t say I’m upset.] In that spirit, here’s one of the latest from Fail Blog (similar to others I’ve seen, but this appears to be more recent).

see more Epic Fails

I’m not sure if the drawings help, but they certainly don’t hurt.

Because comics are fun! And Brown Sharpie by Courtney Gibbons has been amusing for several years now.

From last week:

From last month:

And from three years ago:

*All images are copyrighted under a Creative Commons License [described at the bottom of the Brown Sharpie page].
*

We recently discovered a series of math comics because first a commenter and then Mike himself linked to us on Spiked Math. Yay — more math comics! So as the weekend approaches, you can treat yourself to:

or

or

or this one which is, of course, near and dear to my heart:

*All of these are copyrighted, but available for non-commercial use.*

Recently, Batman mentioned a comic he’d seen about A4 paper and the golden ratio Lichtenberg Ratio (see the comments below). Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we were able to track down the comic, which makes me laugh every time I read it. We were also able to find the author, who graciously gave us permission to post the panels here. If you click on them you’ll be directed to the Flickr site, where you can read them in a larger size.

Without further ado:

*Copyright by The Valrus. Used with permission.*

Michael over at God Plays Dice had a post in August that referenced the site You Suck at Craigslist, a blog with daily posts that feature real Craigslist ads that are too funny not to mock. And it has turned into a fabulous time waster, not just for us but for all our students who are now addicted to the site (Thanks Michael!)

But here’s the best part: it features math on a regular basis. For example:

**Addition**in 2+2=5 and One, two, three, …ummmm….**Area**in Not.A.Lion**Probability and Statistics**in It’s a Crock, all right.**Proof Techniques**on The dishwasher hates children, though.

But wait, there’s more!

**Perl**on Glinder? I hardly know ‘er!**String Theory**on Whatever you do, don’t cross the …drawers.

So reading this is almost…almost…like studying.

Almost.

*As it happens, the author, drmk, has a day job as a university professor Somewhere. *

(There’s got to be a chemistry joke in there somewhere about humours and aluminium.)

So I’m cleaning my office, and I’m cleaning out my Inbox too (I was briefly down to under 200 messages — woo hoo! Then the summer ended.), and I ran across a couple of pieces that a couple of our alumni had sent me over the past year.

Here’s the first:

Proof that Dating is Evil:First we state that dating requires time and money.

And we all know “time is money”.

Therefore:

And because “money is the root of all evil”:

Therefore:

And we are forced to conclude that:

.

The second piece is a link to a page with a lot of comics and quotes, which seems to be updated at least periodically (since there is one piece from the Monthly in 2009). For lots of distractions and ways to avoid ever getting that Inbox cleaned out, check out this site.

*Thanks Lacey and Sarah! And while I’m at it, the original piece was a proof that Girls are Evil, sent by a female alumna to me, a female professor of hers, but after going back and forth a bit I decided to change it to be gender-neutral.*

Given that there are no Sonic restaurants withing a 150-mile radius of my home, I spend a surprising amount of time talking about them, or at least their commercials (which they show on local TV stations for…no reason?). I recently showed a friend the Food Math commerical, and he responded by showing me something several orders of magnitude better (you’ll have to watch it on YouTube):

So. Good.

There are many diets in the world, but most of them** fail** for the simple reason that they use the **wrong **kind of mathematics. Simple logic suggests that food choices based only the arithmetic of

Pounds Lost = (Calories Used – Calories Eaten)/3200

are insufficient for good health. The math is just too elementary! If you want an **Advanced Diet**, you need to use **Advanced Mathematics**! Now with the power of **Theorems**.

**The Harmonic Diet**

If you’re a person who starts off strong but has trouble sticking to a plan, this is the diet for you! On the first day, lose 1 pound. Tough, but possible with that initial surge of motivation. On the second day, lose 1/2 pound. On the third day, lose 1/3 pound. On the fourth day, lose 1/4 pound, etc. As your motivation wanes, so will your weight loss; however, thanks to the power of **Calculus **you are guaranteed to *eventually *reach your goal weight. One of the amazing features of this diet is that it will still work even if you don’t start with the 1-pound loss: you can just as easily jump in on Day 3 or whichever day suits your fancy.

**The Zeno Diet**

Endorsed by **Ancient Greek Philosophers **everywhere, this plan is perfect for the daytime snacker! Start by choosing a total number of calories that you’d like to consume in a day: say, 1000 calories. Your first meal should be 500 calories; after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and skimping is unwise. Your second meal can be **whatever **you want, **whenever **you want: just be sure to limit it to 250 calories. Want another snack? No problem! Treat yourself to any 125 calorie food. Your next tidbit can be 62.5 calories, the next 31.2 [no rounding up!] and so on. With this diet plan you can snack as many times as you want, and you’ll never exceed (or even reach!) your total allotted calories.

**The Banach-Tarski Diet**

This diet uses the power of Set Theoretic Geometry to help those people who want larger portion sizes. Start with small amounts of your favorite foods. Roll each item into a ball and grab a sharp knife. Then cut each ball into 5 pieces and reassemble into two balls OF THE SAME SIZE! Repeat as desired.

**The Fibonacci Diet**

Is your focus more on healthy eating than actual calories? The Fibonacci Sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, … is more than just a fancy way to convert between miles and kilometers: you can arrange your entire plan around these special numbers. Break your eating into **3** meals with **2** snacks. Make sure each meal is made up of** 1/2** carbohydrates,**1/3** protein, and**1/5** fat.

It’s OK that the amounts add up to more than 1, because THIS diet was based on a** Bestselling Novel** and is featured both in Women’s World Magazine in 2006 and in the book The Diet Code: Revolutionary Weight Loss Secrets from Da Vinci and the Golden Ratio by Stephen Lanzalotta, which you can buy for as little as 13¢. Now that’s value.

*In a fortunate coincidence, Walking Randomly makes all of this even easier by showing show to use Wolfram Alpha to compute calories. *

Happy May Day! And not only is it May Day, but it’s a Carnival Day! Math Teachers at Play #6 is up over at I Want to Teach Forever, the blog of high school teacher Mr. D in Boston. It’s a little shorter than previous ones, but no less valuable and a fine read on this Spring/Autumn day [depending on your hemisphere, of course].

On a completely unrelated note, recently I noticed people looking for the comic Nearing-Zero, which we posted on a year ago. I did some exploring, and the comic has now changed its domain and is living here.

Speaking of comics, do any of you read Dinosaur Comics? They have some math ones from time to time, so there’s a tangential relation to this blog, but this one last week, though not math-related, was one of my favorites. (Click on the comic for an easier-to-read version.)