— Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) December 30, 2014
Back in July 2012, the New York Times published a terrible, ignorant, anti-intellectualism-spouted-by-a-so-called-intellectual opinion piece titled Is Algebra Necessary? It was penned by Andrew Hacker, an emeritus professor of political science (that should be your first warning) at Queens College, City University of New York. His thesis was that making math mandatory reduces our talent pool by discouraging “otherwise talented students who are impeded by algebra, to say nothing of calculus and trigonometry.” The horror!
To their credit, the Times published a couple of follow-up pieces soon afterward: In Defense of Algebra and N Ways to Apply Algebra to the New York Times. However, they only truly atoned for their math sins a couple of days ago in a piece about how much money the movie The Interview made:
While Sony didn’t say how much of the $15 million made came from rentals and sales, anyone with eighth-grade algebra would realize that there’s enough information to figure it out. In these two paragraphs, you have two variables and two linear equations, which means you don’t need Sony to tell you how much of that $15 million came from sales and how much came from rentals.
To make your life easier, I’ve done the math for you:
So to answer the New York Times’ question, “Is algebra necessary?”, the answer is “Yes, and more often than you might think.”
Thanks to David Wolever for the find!
Ladies and gentlemen, meet my new favorite band: Mac Sabbath!
They’re a Black Sabbath parody band featuring evil mirror-universe versions of McDonald’s characters:
- “Ronald Osbourne” on vocals, as a gene-splice of Ronald McDonald and drugged-out Sabbath-era Ozzy Osbourne,
- a modified Mayor McCheese with tusks on guitar, taking Tony Iommi’s role,
- the Hamburglar on drums, filling in for legendary alcoholic rhythmatist Bill Ward, and
- my personal favourite, an evil version of Grimace, taking over for Geezer Butler on bass.
They don’t just dress up as McDonald’s characters; they also twist Sabbath’s tunes into odes to fast food. In their (presumably greasy) hands, Paranoid becomes Pair-a-Buns, and Iron Man becomes Frying Pan:
A sample of the lyrics:
Heavy longing for bed
Fry these cows until you’re fed
Throw out your raisin bran
Frying pan lives again
I’d love to hear their version of Supernaut — perhaps it’s called “Coffee’s hot”?
Enjoy your Saturday with Frying Pan…
And here’s Pair-a-Buns:
And yes, I brought my A-game while living there.