Dumbest error ever - mm/dd/YYYY

Scientific notation is supposed to make it easier to deal with very large (and very small) numbers, not harder.
Lots of professions, like astronomy for example, could hardly function without it

I think the educational issues you are discussing are not confined to mathematics. Try teaching Shakespeare a bunch of 12 year olds and you will see what ‘lack of appreciation’ means. With drama, its all about experiencing something that is entertaining… with maths its about howto with numbers. Both these needs seem to be missing in young kids.
Physics doesnt have the same problem as maths. Sport doesnt have the same problem as drama. Why? There is just as much maths in physics as there is in maths, there is just as much entertainment in sport as there is in drama. So what is different. It is not the ‘content’, it is the abstract academic way in which it is taught.
Computing has its academics. I never did a computing course, so I dont know how it is taught, but I suspect it is practiclal. Tbe best computing assistant I ever had was a Physics graduate. The second best was a Microbiology Technician. So its not in the training.

It’s a relief to hear so many describing the same experience I had. Calculus made no sense to me, so I switched my major to English Lit, making my college experience a waste–although I did discover a wife and partner who has endured with me for 53 years. But give me a lathe and a micrometer, or a saw and a tape measure, and all of a sudden mathematics has meaning.



I was sorta / kinda a square peg in a round hole, I LOATHED sport… Detested it… Sometimes I’d go and hide in the shitters to avoid it…

My two younger brothers used to do the same for about 2 weeks, but eventually found they LOVED SPORT! My next younger brother almost did it for a profession (but not quite).

I think what I mostly hated about sport was the constant yelling and bossing… I LOATHED IT… I wasn’t particularly terrible at it… I can remember winning an endurance race in year 8, and a swimming race in year 10… I just hated the whole organisation of it, and the yelling… yelling by team mates, team captains and teachers… Was that really necessary?

I’d much rather have studied drama, or shakespeare, than sport. It kinda helped that my parents were BOTH thespians, my mum was (still is - but she hasn’t worked for ~10 years) an actress, and my dad a set and costume designer…

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I was lucky enough to have attended a technical high school , where all the practical,things like woodwork, metalwork, technical drawing, were taught alongside the academkc subjects. It did help to make sense of the maths. It did not help with any artistic appreciation

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Yes, I know what its like to be not enthused by sport in a high school absolutely dedicated to it.

Fascinating. I studied English Lit, but most of my spare time and interest was devoted to building sets and operating lights and sounds for the school’s theatre group. Plenty of practical math and science there!


Did a bit of that myself over a few years… Due to family connections to local theatre companies… Assisted the set building carpenters, did some scenic painting, pretty much on a casual “gig” basis… Then spent about a year working day (bump ins and outs [bumpout = remove old set, bumpin = reverse], and building props and scenic painting) and night, stagehand / mechanist / ASM / spotlight operator… But work was too sporadic and infrequent, ended up doing full time job as a courier (motorcycle)…

Designing sets and lighting plans is technically challenging and rewarding–partly to achieve the desired ‘look’ and partly to create the team dynamic to get all the stage folk pulling together. But the most fun was running a follow spot. Add to that the timing challenge of changing the carbon rods (yes, I’m so old I cut my teeth on a carbon-arc spotlight) quickly enough to not miss the next move on stage. Once, the crew missed the cue to ease in the background lighting so I could find the principal singer with the spotlight three decks up and 150 feet away. Muscle memory maybe, but looking at the black void was really scary. I cracked the iris to get a tiny dot, and there was her face. One of those indelible memories.

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