Accordion Guy Advent Calendar, Day Seven: Bikini Calculus

Photo: Figurine of Santa playing the accordion.

Advent Calendar Day Seven: Even people who took some math in unversity

have a little trouble defining what “calculus” is in layperson’s

terminology. Ask a techie what calculus and s/he’ll probably tell you

something along the lines of “it’s the branch of mathematics that has

to do with derivatives and integrals”, an answer that is meaningless

unless you also cover the definition of derivative (rate of change of quantity in relation to the rate of change in another; for example, speed is a derivative of distance) and integral

(even tougher to define — “the inverse of a derivative” or “the study

of the accumulation of quantities” is the sort of answer that I fumble


Even less inituitive is calculus itself. I have spent a good chunk of

school solving problems like what the water level in a conical tank filling

at a quarter-litre a second is after 15 seconds, and let me tell you,

that’s one of the easy ones. Calculus is so mind-bending that in most

cases, it often becomes an exercise in attempting to turn hard-to-solve

integrals into

simpler ones by memorizing or looking up substitution rules like

this one:

Worse still, we sort of take it on faith that the above identity is

true. Give me a pen and paper and I can quickly whip up an

layperson-friendly illustration that shows why 3 times six equals

eighteen. With a little more paper, I can draw a couple of diagrams

that show why the sine of 30 degrees is .5. But a layperson-friendly

explanation of the identity above? I’d have to look inside my old

calculus text in order to work out just the standard math proof from

first principles, never mind a layperson-friendly explanation.

That’s the problem that all calculus teachers face: it’s a tough branch

of math. It also gets pretty dry, especially when you hit that part of

integral calculus where you have to learn all kinds of substitutions

like that identity shown above. How can you keep students motivated?

Bikini Calculus represents one attempt to solve this problem. The

premise is simple: have women in skimpy clothes teach calculus, padding

the lesson material with cleavage shots and sexual innuendo.

(Okay, it’s not going to get heterosexual girls into calculus, but

what’s wrong with a little hot girl-on-girl action in mathematics? What

are you, some kind of homophobe?)

Here are a couple of screen captures of the video in which the

exponential rule is covered. Here’s Paige explaining the derivative of ax with respect to x:

…and here’s Jamie Lynn explaining the corresponding integral form. You have to credit them for being thorough.

And there you have it: today’s Advent Calendar goodie, from Newton

and Leibniz to Paige and Jamie Lynn’s to Accordion Guy to you: the gift of calculus.

I present two videos:

If you’d like more, there’s a DVD featuring more titillating calculus lessons and a bonus “jacuzzi and pizza interview”.

Yes, it’s quite obvious that neither Paige nor Jamie Lynn would know a Riemann Sum

if it bit either of them on the ass (I’ll let you enjoy the mental

image for a moment) and yes, their cue card reading skills could use a

little work. But these women have taken time from their presumably busy

schedules of waiting tables, shopping at H&M

(my wife likes to call that store “Target for whores”) and possibly

lapdancing to improve the general population’s knowledge of

mathematics. Even Stephen Freaking Wolfram himself couldn’t do what these ladies do (and even if he could, you couldn’t pay me to watch him flash his man-cleavage).

(Note: There’s probably a good “right-hand rule” joke in here somewhere, but that’s linear algebra, not calculus. We have standards here at Accordion Guy, you know.)

One reply on “Accordion Guy Advent Calendar, Day Seven: Bikini Calculus”

Yes, it’s quite obvious that neither Paige nor Jamie Lynn would know a Riemann Sum if it bit either of them on the ass

Actually, if Paige’s bio is to be believed, she has a Master’s in nuclear engineering from MIT, and is going after an MD/PhD in radiology. (They don’t claim such grandiose backgrounds for their other models, so maybe it’s true.)

I’ll grant you that the production quality, direction, and acting are all pretty bad, though.


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