The following equation went viral on Twitter like the Yanni & Laurel sound Tweet. What answer do you get?

**The Equation that tried to stump the internet!** New York Times

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The following equation went viral on Twitter like the Yanni & Laurel sound Tweet. What answer do you get?

**The Equation that tried to stump the internet!** New York Times

“Eating even the moderate amounts of red and processed meat sanctioned by government guidelines increases the likelihood of developing bowel cancer” according to the above **article in The Guardian, UK**.

The sample size was 500,000. That’s good. It is a self-selecting sample. That’s not good. They could all be health fanatics. But here is the kicker:

“The researchers found those who ate the most and least red and processed meat tended to exaggerate their consumption or lack thereof.”

That’s a shock. People lie or exaggerate. Even the researchers then suggest – despite the screaming headline – that you don’t change your diet.

Although, looking at the plate above … I would!

According to this headline in **THE AUSTRALIAN 25th, March 2009 ** meat eaters are at risk of dying of cancer. The study published in * Archives of Internal Medicine* involved half a million people over 10 years. So far so good. That is a good sample size. The sample consisted of people aged 50 to 71 years at baseline or, obviously, after 10 years 60 to 81years!!!! So some deaths would be expected. Nevertheless, the article states:

“Men whose red meat intake put them in the top 20 percent consumption band were 22 percent more likely to die of cancer in the 10 years of the study, compared to men whose intake was in the lowest 20 percent. For women, there was a 20 percent increase in risk.”

Here is the problem. Firstly and I quote from the original study: “Meat intake was estimated^{ }from a food frequency questionnaire administered at baseline.’ So they asked people once what their eating habits were then assumed they continued for the next 10 YEARS??? How likely are your eating habits to change in 10 years???

Secondly, and this was mentioned in the article without explaining the maths, big meat eaters tend also to be big drinkers, smokers, obese and the rest. This study has tried to separate out meat eating from other unhealthy lifestyle choices using the Cox Regression. Mathematical wizardry has produced these numbers but they don’t mean much.

If the study used a control group of drinking, smoking, obese vegans then compared mortality rates over 10 years that would be interesting. But where do you find half a million of them????????

Finally, the study concluded ‘Red and processed meat intakes were associated^{ }with modest increases in total mortality, cancer mortality,^{ }and cardiovascular disease mortality.’ Not the stuff of headlines at all!!!!!!!

**We’ll start with the GOOD****Check out the graph**** here.**

**…. and the NOT SO GOOD.**

More information at **study.com**

**and the OMG-That’s-AMAZING!**

**Thanks to Slumfe on** **IMgur**

For students who think they have a BAD maths teacher, watch the first video **here.**

Hellooooo Sweeties,………………………………………………………………………

Some frightening maths this week. When researching DANGEROUS MATHS, Mathspig found one branch of maths is the most dangerous maths of all. Let’s call it GUESS-AMATICS. Today, maths is often taught via computer program packages. Some of these computer packages turn maths into a guessing game.

This exact and rather frightening scenario was described to me by the mother of a 5 year old. The mother decided it was time to turn the game off. When students play mathematical computer games too often they don’t have to think, they just guess the answer and try again. But be warned this ‘Oops! Try again’ maths can kill you’! Some maths you cannot ‘try again’. You HAVE to get it right the first time. Medication is one area where ‘Oops! Try again maths kills”

You need sufficient maths to understand medication doses or you might do yourself harm.…………………………………………………………………………………..

**And here is just one very frightening statistic:……………………………………..**

According to FDA data 1.3 million people in the USA are injured each year from medication errors.

Meanwhile, we need nurses, caregivers, doctors, paramedics, First Aide volunteers, parents, grandparents, babysitters, teachers and all health care professionals to have sufficient maths to be able to calculate simple medication doses. Or we need them to simply READ the dose and make sure it is correct. Unfortunately, many of those who should be able to work out medication doses are either incapable or not paying attention. And your life could be in their hands:

**In the UK 1 in 20 hospital deaths is due to medical error. Nearly 12,000 patients die needlessly in hospital every year due to blunders by staff, researchers warn.** **Drugs or fluid mismanagement was identified as a problem in 21% of preventable deaths (NHS 2012) or, doing the maths, 21% of 12,000 is approx 2,500 deaths due to bad maths!**

**According to a new study just out from the prestigious Journal of Patient Safety, four times as many people die from preventable medical errors than we thought, as many as 440,000 a year.**

**Reports show between 9,000 and 24,000 hospital deaths due to medical error.**

**Official Australian government reports reveal that preventable medical error in hospitals is responsible for 11% of all deaths in Australia or 1 in 9 deaths.**

………………………………………………………….

Dangerous Maths 1:Young drunk dead

Dangerous Maths 2: Death by Snake, Spider, Quad bike, Kangaroo, Raccoon and Vomit

Dangerous Maths 3: Shark Attack

Take care and do the maths……………………………………………………

Hoo Roo………………………………………………………………………………

I use the quote above to explain to people that Averages don’t mean much. This is a typical response. Really! Wow! Australians have one breast and one testicle!

We live in a culture of Selective Stupidity. Most people can do the basic maths of: + – x % $$$$, but many don’t bother. We leave maths thinking to machines and their algorithms.

So you buy 4 choc bars at 50 cents each and, for fun, ask the shop assistant ‘how much?’ They work the answer out on the cash register. They have to record the purchase. Still, how hard would it be to say $2? We don’t even try.

Yet we need maths every day to buy stuff, read timetables, pay bills, cook, understand food labels, take medication and more. Maths is used in sport, driving, gaming, gambling, drinking (ie. alcohol levels) and banking; maths is used in the workplace, the law, politics, advertising, fitness, the travel industry, gardening, the music industry (Royalty payments are a big issue now), watching TV (Download speeds are crucial), Facebook (How many likes?) and more.

The UK maths-promoting charity National Numeracy quotes from research suggesting ‘weak maths skills are linked with an array of poor life outcomes such as prison, unemployment, exclusion from school, poverty and long-term illness’. (Judith Burns, Poor numeracy ‘blights the economy and ruins lives‘, BBC News, 5 March 2012)

Josie Gurney-Read in an article Damaging maths mindset holding pupils back,( The Telegraph, UK, 30 Oct 2014) claimed 17 million adults in the UK have poor maths skills and this is costing the economy £20 billion a year.

The previous article by Judith Burns, above, quoted research by KPMG auditors that put the annual costs of poor numeracy skills in the UK at £2.4bn.

Who’s doing the Maths HERE?

Who cares? We let these numbers just fly past without thinking about them. We choose to suffer from Selective Stupidity.

To challenge middle school students to think about the numbers they read here are a few tricky questions:

Look at the following questions and see if you can work out why the maths is totally dodgy.

Solar Plus claimed, after a survey of 60 customers, that 99.98% of customers would recommend their product.

What’s wrong with their Maths?

Answer here.

Financial advisers around the world wheeled out graphs like the one below to show that investing in the stock market is very secure and that down turns in the market in 2007 were minor. Oh Yeah!

What is wrong with this graph!

Answer here.

Look at the maths. How far would a Mazda 3 travelling at 60 kph (37.3 mph) travel in 0.9 seconds?

Ans here.

This is a Movie Cliché we see over and over. But is it possible?

A Fireball travels at 400 m/sec. That’s metres/sec. Now can you do the maths?

Answer here.

If the least drawn numbers are 41, 32, 10, 43, 35 and 20 will picking these numbers improve your chances of winning the lottery?

Answer here.

According to The Telegraph UK the formula for the funniest joke is:

Where

x = funniness of joke

f = funniness of punchline

l = the length of the build-up

n = the amount some falls over

o = the “Ouch” factor of physical pain or social embarrassment

p = power of the punchline

So, what’s wrong with this equation? Ask Weird Al Yankovic.

Ans here.

(Quick Ans: It’s all rubbish. Guess work x cow manure = bulldust. You cannot measure any of these variables. What’s the unit for measuring funniness?)

OK. You are not a crazy death-by-coconut research scientists. But have a guess. Are coconuts that dangerous?

Answer here.

Does this sound reasonable?

Answer here.

Quick Answer: There’s a lot of joke maths out there but some folk take it seriously.