Dave Gorman, perfect numbers, and why he left university

I don’t know the British comedian Dave Gorman, but this bit on perfect numbers makes me like him. He explains what a “perfect number” is in the sketch, but you can also read about those weird numbers here. When you look at Euclid’s formula for generating even perfect numbers, which shows a one-to-one correspondence with primes, then you realize instantly that there is an infinite number of perfect numbers. But I digress. The skit:

Gorman studied math (or rather “maths,” a term that I find jarring) at Manchester University, where both Matthew Cobb and Brian Cox teach.

h/t: Chris

75 Comments

  1. Heather Hastie
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Cultural differences!

    You find “maths” jarring, I find “math” jarring. 🙂

    Great skit!

    • GrahamH
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

      Agree, it has always confused me. If mathematics is plural why would math be singular?

      • Taz
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

        I don’t believe “mathematics” is plural:

        “Mathematics is the queen of the sciences”
        – Gauss

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      I believe this is a question of how you abbreviate “mathematics” which has an ‘s’ just like “physics” “economics” etc.

      • Chewy
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Right. Do the Brits say “I’m reading Econs”? USAians would say, perhaps, “I’m studying Econ.” Econ 101 at Berkeley; Econs CI in Oxford?

        • Jonathan Wallace
          Posted September 12, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink

          I don’t think anyone in the UK uses ‘econ’ or ‘econs’ – we just say the whole word.

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      It’s just what I’m used to. I can’t get used to the British term “drinks party” for “cocktail party”, either. It’s the plural, “drinks”, that I find weird.

      • Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

        Yes — exactly.

        Imagine a “wines” party. Or a “whiskeys” party. Or a “barbecues” party, or “footballs” game, or “roads” trip.

        b&

        • GrahamH
          Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Would you go to a party where you were only offered one drink?

          • Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

            Only if the host was a math teacher who only taught students one number.

            “Oh, you wanted to lean about 4, did you? Well, sorry. This is a math class, not a maths class, so you’ll learn about 3, everything about 3, nothing but 3, and you’ll like it!”

            b&

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

            Haha I thought that this may be cultural too.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          You go in a car, but on a bus, train, plane, and no one worries about that. Except there are some in NZ who say, “on a car,” but I won’t go into that.

          There’s only one barbecue, and I personally have never appended “party” – I didn’t realize others did.

          We usually just say “drinks” rather than add “party.” We also just say “cocktails” quite often too.

          People do have a “few whiskies” or a “few beers” or a “few wines.” In that context, “a few” usually means “a lot.”

          And in NZ we don’t have road trips, we just travel by car.

          • Posted September 11, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

            You go in a car, but on a bus, train, plane, and no one worries about that. Except there are some in NZ who say, “on a car,” but I won’t go into that.

            In the states, the only ones to go on a car are the unfortunate canine companions of failed presidential candidates.

            There’s only one barbecue, and I personally have never appended “party” – I didn’t realize others did.

            We don’t….

            People do have a “few whiskies” or a “few beers” or a “few wines.” In that context, “a few” usually means “a lot.”

            Yes, here, too. But not at a [whatever-pluralized] party.

            And in NZ we don’t have road trips, we just travel by car.

            Ah…here in the States, the road trip is one of the more hallowed institutions. It’s the source of inspiration for much literature and many films, of all genres…and, for many, the heart of the yearly vacation.

            …with Jerry’s recent example being excellently iconic….

            b&

            • Walt Jones
              Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

              Yes – a car trip is with family; a road trip is with friends.

              • Graham Martin-Royle
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 4:19 am | Permalink

                I thought a road trip was where you tripped over and fell in the road. 🙂

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

              I guess the size of the country makes a bit of a difference too – you can travel the length of the country in 2-3 days, and it only takes that long because you have to get across the Cook Straight between the North and South islands.

              • Marella
                Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

                Well, Australians don’t do “road trips”, we just drive, even if it’s to Queensland, which will take at least 3 days from Melbourne, more likely a week. The “Grey Nomads” who retire and take off around the country for 6 months or forever, aren’t said to be on a road trip either, they’re just driving around the country.

              • Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

                A road trip is much different from just driving somewhere. If you’re just driving somewhere, you stick to the Interstates for as many hours per day as you can withstand until you’ve reached your destination.

                What Jerry did this summer was a road trip. You might or might not have a destination or itinerary, maybe or maybe not a schedule. But, even if you’re the insufferably anal type who plans everything out to the minute (a type not likely to do road trips, but it’s not unheard of), the journey is more important than the destination.

                You might still take the Interstates, especially across “flyover country,” but side roads well off the beaten track are often favored. You might put a lot of miles on the car in a single day, but you’re going to spend at least a day wherever it is you’re headed to. And it’s much more likely you’ll do a lazy day of driving, only 300 – 400 miles, 500 miles tops, stopping at whatever roadside attractions catch your eye whenever your bladder needs emptying or your stomach (or gas tank) filling. Maybe you’ll stay with friends or family, or at a motel, or a campground, or some combination thereof, depending on your preferences and the point of the trip. The big national parks are popular anchor points for the trip, as are touristy cities like Las Vegas or New Orleans. But it’s also not unusual to make a road trip out of a simple point-A-to-point-B excursion; you might, for example, move from one big city to another, hire a moving company to load all your stuff into a truck and drive it across the country…but you yourself drive your own car, and take your own sweet time doing so.

                And this is also different from the similar phenomenon you describe of retirees driving around in motorhomes for extended periods, although the two phenomena are recognized as being variations on the same theme.

                I imagine the closest European analogue might be hosteling, though I’m not as familiar with that.

                Sounds like you might not have anything similar in Australia.

                b&

              • Marella
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

                I know friends who do this sort of thing, but it’s much less popular, and thus without the defining name. Possibly it has to do with the lower population density here, which tends to mean there is a lot less to stop and visit than in the US or Europe. Aussies are much more urbanised than Americans and tend to go from one big city to another. I do have friends who recently flew to the US to do a road trip though!

              • Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

                If I’m eyeballing it right…each island is about 400 miles / 600 km from tip to tip. It’s not unusual for people here to do 800 miles in a single day. It’d be a bit beyond the legal limit for professional drivers, I think, and not necessarily the smartest thing to do…but it’s not that unusual. I’ve probably done about that in a single day, most of it in a large loop in northern Arizona. And I’ve been a passenger in an all-day drive between Denver and Phoenix, which is about 800 miles.

                As the saying goes, Americans don’t understand how old Europe is, and Europeans don’t understand how large America is.

                You might appreciate it…Australia and the Continental US are about the same size….

                b&

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

                Our roads aren’t like yours either – they’re much harder work to drive on. Tarseal is mostly made of volcanic rock, so it’s rougher, and they’re much more hilly and cornery (not a word, but you know what I mean!). You can’t drive 800 miles in one day here really.

                The saying I use is: the US thinks 100 years is a long time and Britain thinks 100 miles is a long way.

              • Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

                Yeah…our Interstates are notorious for being the sort of thing you’d think had been carved out of the landscape by a giant laser. I-5 in California…I don’t know what the actual numbers are, but there’s about 200 – 300 miles of literally straight line. There’re a couple imperceptible bends resulting in maybe a 2° deviation, and a bit of an arc at the northern end (radius measured in hundreds of miles). And the 99 parallels it and is almost as straight.

                And smooth, too. The highway patrol in California will nail your ass if they catch you doing 70 in a 65 MPH zone (which I think is as fast as California gets), but many parts of the country have 75 MPH zones, some 85 MPH zones, and there’re lots of places where the 80th percentile is moving at 80 – 90 MPH. Out in the middle of nowhere, of course; on the freeways in town, limits tend to stay around 65 MPH with traffic holding 75 – 80 MPH (except during rush hour, when you might be lucky to get into second gear).

                That Denver-to-Phoenix trip I mentioned? If I remember right, we did it in under 11 hours, including a stop for lunch.

                b&

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 12:21 am | Permalink

                Interesting. Those sort of roads just don’t exist here. Our top speed limit is 100 kmh (60 mph), and on most roads it would be dangerous to go faster anyway.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

                Your speed limits on those windy roada are too high! We would make them lower in Canada.

                And Ben – they also are allowed to pass on the curb with many doing this during a windy stretch.

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

                Wait — you mean passing on the [checks Wikipedia…” Drives on the: left”] left? That’s insane!

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

                Yep! I might do it when I’m in NZ next just to feel naughty.

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

                Except, for me, passing on the left would be the normal way to do it. Driving on the left is what would give me an heart attack.

                Must be all the blood gone to the head from living umop apisdn that messes them up so.

                b&

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:08 am | Permalink

                Canada and Australia are similar in that the population lives along the edge and there is a large part that is desert (for Canada it is the tundra).

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

                America, too. Nothing but a vast wasteland of Christian conservatism once you get more than an hundred miles from the coast….

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:33 am | Permalink

                @Diana

                Sorry Diana, our (NZ) speed limits are absolutely NOT too high. Once you get outside the main cities, there’s miles of secondary country roads that are straight for miles and have almost no traffic.

                And our country roads are really wide compared with those in Europe or the UK.

                You’re only allowed to pass on the left (I assume this s what Diana means by ‘on the curb’) where separate lanes are marked. This applies mostly on motorways, because (unlike European autoroutes) there is no requirement to keep to the slow lanes when not passing. Daft I know. So some drivers just sit in the right-hand (‘fast’) lane and won’t move over.

                cr

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

                I disagree. 80 on a windy road is too fast.

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

                You’re only allowed to pass on the left (I assume this s what Diana means by ‘on the curb’) where separate lanes are marked. This applies mostly on motorways, because (unlike European autoroutes) there is no requirement to keep to the slow lanes when not passing. Daft I know. So some drivers just sit in the right-hand (‘fast’) lane and won’t move over.

                In the States, the rule, not the exception, is multi-lane roads packed with cars in all lanes. When you’ve got ten lanes in either direction (twenty lanes total, sometimes with several more exit lanes at major junctions), the concept of “keep right except to pass” simply doesn’t apply. And then add in carpool lanes, lower speed limits for heavy vehicles…it becomes a complete mess.

                On four-lane (two in each direction) roads when traffic is light enough to maintain a single file, yes, the rule is to keep in the right (outside) lane except when passing. But those sorts of conditions apply very rarely. Doesn’t take much before you’ve got a truck doing 55 in the right lane, somebody doing 65 passing the truck, somebody wanting to do 75 stuck behind the person doing 65…and, right in front of the first truck is another doing 45, so soon the truck doing 55 has to move over to pass….

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

                @Ben

                Well, on autoroutes or autostrada in Europe (2 or 3 lanes) you keep right where possible. (I’m not talking about urban traffic jams here). If you sit in the fast lane at less than 130k’s (the speed limit) for too long you will soon end up with an Audi or a white van six inches behind your back bumper waiting for you to get out of the way. It helps that trucks are forbidden to use the fast lane on 3-lane autoroutes.

                @Diana
                The speed that is right for you is not necessarily right for everyone else. Drive at your speed and let faster traffic past at the first opportunity, it doesn’t take much.
                Specially on gravel roads.

                cr

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

                Oh, I see you take me for a slow driver. I’m not. I drive a Miata and I am usually the faster driver, especially around corners.

                There is, however what is considered safe speeds under certain conditions that is irrespective of how fast I would like to drive.

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

                Well, on autoroutes or autostrada in Europe (2 or 3 lanes) you keep right where possible. (I’m not talking about urban traffic jams here).

                Yes; the same principle holds here, oftentimes written into law.

                What I’m trying to communicate, but I think not necessarily very well…is that there’s so much traffic on so many of our long-distance roads that they wind up being functionally equivalent to urban traffic.

                It’s not like you can pass the slow car, get back in the right hand lane, and wait several minutes before you pass the next car.

                It’s more like both lanes filled with cars and at most a several-second separation between them, for miles on end.

                Not everywhere, of course. There’re still times and places where you’ve (mostly) got the road to yourself — especially as you get farther off the beaten path. But you can also drive an hundred miles between a couple cities and never be more than an hundred feet from another car.

                b&

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

                Hi Diana

                The point is, our country roads have fast bits and slow bits alternating. The speed limit should be (and usually is) set for the fast bits, drivers are supposed to slow down for corners.

                cr

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted September 12, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

                Hi Ben

                OK, point taken about the traffic density on some of your intercity routes.

                Here in NZ I avoid the motorways at rush hour (and peak holiday periods) for exactly the same reasons. I try to schedule any trips to avoid them.

                cr

      • Dominic
        Posted September 14, 2015 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        I have never heard either used here – it would be ‘party’. But then maybe I am just not invited… 😦

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

      Math always seems wrong to me too – just not what I grew up with.
      We used to abbreviate biology to bilg at school, solely because it pissed off the teachers.

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      Whenever these cultural differences are discussed on the internet the common pattern is that people seem to instinctively attempt to prove that the convention they grew up with is somehow superior. I have been guilty of this myself in the past, but now I try to avoid it. If only because it reminds me of the geographical distribution of religions – fanatical adherents who are that way only through an accident of birth. If such people were more self aware they’d realise they’d fallen into a trap.

      So, I am actually quite fond of the Americanism “math”. Especially as found in the phrase “you do the math” (Leonard’s mother: “Is that a rhetorical question or would you like to do the math?” Sheldon: “I’d like to do the math”).

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        I suppose we all like to think our own culture is better, because it’s so much a part of us. I don’t think of myself as superior in any way, and I hope that’s not how I come across. I think it’s interesting hearing about all our differences, even though our cultures are all pretty similar on the surface.

        • Posted September 11, 2015 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

          Don’t worry, I wasn’t criticising you or anyone else. Just making an observation. And as a fellow NZer, I definitely have a tendency to think NZ culture is better too 🙂 I do enjoy American idiom though, and personally I’ve adopted “Road Trip” for example. But then again I can’t help but feel sad the way the younger generation seem to be adopting American conventions en-masse. (I know I’m mixed up and confused). I had a conversation about Z Energy with a young colleague the other day. He said Zee every time. I said Zed every time. It made me feel old actually.

          It would be nice if this was more of a two way street. Americans seem absolutely wedded to their conventions and never show any tendency to vary as far as I can tell.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

            Cheers. 🙂

            I still say zed, and won’t be changing! I worry about US culture being adopted en masse here too. It’s not that I don’t like Americans (they’re mostly great), I just feel like we’re losing something. Not a good example for an atheist website, but when I was a kid, everyone said Father Christmas, now it’s Santa Claus. And we didn’t do trick or treat until fairly recently, and I hate it. When I was a kid, I thought “mom” in books was a spelling mistake.

            I think NZers recognize others’ conventions, idioms, cultural references etc, but no-one recognizes ours, espec the Maori ones, and that’s probably why I resent it a bit. We know all about Kennedy, Nixon, Thatcher, Churchill, Trudeau, de Clerc, Botha, de Gaulle, Howard, Hawke, Whitlam etc, but no-one knows about Muldoon, Lange, Kirk etc. Women here got the vote years before anyone else, and there’s the anti-nuclear stance – and no one knows.

            That was all a bit mixed up too! – but I’m sure you get the drift. 🙂

            • Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

              Yes exactly. It’s small nations syndrome. And because we speak English, we don’t even get to learn extra languages as a side effect of learning all the big countries’ cultural references whilst they’re ignoring ours. (Like the Dutch and Danes etc. do, for example).

            • JonLynnHarvey
              Posted September 12, 2015 at 2:07 am | Permalink

              I have recently determined that in England the American pop group ZZ Top is referred to as Zee Zee Top not Zed Zed Top.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted September 12, 2015 at 3:19 am | Permalink

              That’s only because they’re an American group so they’re called Zee Zee Top, even in England. If they were English it’d be Zed Zed Top.

              cr

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:18 am | Permalink

              Try living next to America 🙂 Canadians basically describe themselves by contrasting themselves to America. When Americans notice Canadians for anything, Canadians get all excited.

              I was at a conference this week with groups from around the English speaking world: UK, Australia, NZ, America & Canada (it was held in Canada). The one Canadian presenter looked at a fellow in the audience and said “And Ottawa is in Canada it’s Canada’s capital city.” You know they had a chat earlier and the American offended the Canadian by not knowing this so this was her funny way of pointing that out. That conversation would have happened with any of the other groups. It was good natured though and everyone laughed.

          • Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

            It would be nice if this was more of a two way street. Americans seem absolutely wedded to their conventions and never show any tendency to vary as far as I can tell.

            That would be because most of us can’t be arsed to make sense of what all y’all bloody poofters are whinging about all the fecking time, what with your pints of lager and petrol in the boot of the lorry as it circles the roundabout in the outback. Crickey! Can’t never find my way out of those blasted circle road thingies. At least we have the good sense to keep our roads straight and drive on the right (“correct” to y’all, though I’ve heard, “starboard,” too) side.

            b&

            • Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

              That sounds more like a demented Irishmen complaining about Australians more than an American complaining about NZers to be honest. I’ve never heard an American who can’t be arsed, or who says fecking rather than freaking when he means fornicating 🙂 Although not many Irishmen talk about y’all to be sure.

              • Posted September 12, 2015 at 12:07 am | Permalink

                Nonsense! I have it on unimpeccable authority that that was perfectly formed Unamerican English, as is spoken by all foreigners who aren’t from ’round these here parts.

                And, even if not, makes no difference. Y’all sound the same to us.

                b&

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 12, 2015 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      I’m with Heather, ‘math’ is jarring. To me.

      cr

  2. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    There’s a one-to-one correspondence between even perfect numbers and Mersenne primes (not ALL primes), and it is unknown if the set of Mersenne primes is finite or infinite, hence unknown if the set of even perfect numbers is infinite!!

    A Mersenne prime is any prime one less than an exact power of two, such as 31 which is one less than 2^5 = 32.

    At a minimum, the exponent of two must also be prime, but this is no guarentee. 11 is prime but 2^11-1 is not.
    However, since 15 is not prime, it is foregone that 2^15-1 is not prime. [ 2^5-1 and 2^3-1 are both factors of 2^15-1 ]

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      I stand corrected, thank you. I was speaking above my pay grade.
      p.s. Shouldn’t somebody be working on the problem about whether the set of Mersenne primes is infinite? That sounds something like Fermat’s Last Theorem.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

        Its certainly being worked on but while alleged proofs on number theory are easy to publicly verify or disconfirm, number theory has less fixed methodology than other math(s?).
        Virtually ALL defined subsets of primes have their finitudinal status undetermined. (I don’t know if that’s a real word or not.)
        While most such sets (Sophie Germain primes, twin primes etc.) apparently stretch on indefinitely, there are only 5 known Fermat primes, but no proof that no further ones exist.

      • Mobius
        Posted September 11, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, I was going to mention that, but checked to see if someone else had posted first.

        As far as I know, no one has yet found an odd perfect number. On the other hand, no one has proved one can not exist.

  3. Ian Clark
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Funny routine!

  4. John Crisp
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s because Americans have trouble pronouncing a voiceless dental fricative (th) with a sibilant (s) So they elide the latter. Or maybe it’s just because s is close to $, and time is money, and not be wasted…

    • Chewy
      Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Speak of “crisps”, Mr. Crisp! How does one say that without spitting or gagging? So too with “Smith’s” grocery stores in the Southwest US, pronounced “Smiss”.

  5. Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Now, imagine if every math…ematics teacher was this engaging!

    b&

  6. Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on peakmemory and commented:
    This is wonderful!

  7. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Ha! I enjoyed that, especially since I once studied a large amount of math. (Though I’ve never understood the obsession with odd… er, perfect numbers. I’m more of a dynamics person, diff eqs, distributions, measure theory (for probabilities), …)

  8. rwilsker
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    JonLynnHarvey beat me to it: We do *not* known whether there are an infinite number of perfect numbers.

    The Wikipedia article (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perfect_number) is a good reference.

  9. Posted September 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Perfect numbers are discussed in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

  10. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Dave Gorman did a nice couple of documentaries called “America Unchained”, documenting a road trip he took across America to see if it was possible to do it spending money only in independent businesses (gas stations, motels, restaurants etc) rather than chains (Texaco, Holiday Inn, MacDonalds etc). He did it, but it was touch and go a few times whether he would make the next gas station before running out.

  11. Jonathan Dore
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and his first show of course was “Are you Dave Gorman?”, in which he aimed to find and meet 54 other people who shared his name. In the end five people volunteered to legally change their name to “Dave Gorman” (including two women) so he could meet his target.

  12. Prof.Pedant
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    I believe it is at the beginning of this performance that Dave Gorman tells the audience the ridiculous/near-monstrous description of what his performance during the show would consist of and makes some jokes about how ridiculous and monstrous it would be if that was his show. Then he proceeds to do a variety of routines. Then he reminds the audience of what he said at the very beginning and proceeds to hit the highlights of the routines he has just done…. Extremely funny.

  13. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Math or maths it’s all awful. The word itself is from the Greek,μαθημα, which just means knowledge. It soon turned evil though when numbers and letters were mixed.

    • Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you mean that it turned 3v!1?

      b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 12, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Yes and it turned l33t

  14. JoeBussen
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    In London recently, turned on the telly. The family sit-com characters were going on and on about the “potty”. Finally figured out that they were talking about a “potty” with noisemakers and funny hats.

    • David Harper
      Posted September 12, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

      I was similarly baffled by the lyrics of “Heatwave” by Wiley, as sung by Ms D.

      What I heard was “On my potty, On my potty, Put your hands upon my potty.”

      My first thought was: she’s a grown woman, why is she still using a potty? And why does she want me to engage in such unsanitary behaviour?

  15. David Harper
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 1:23 am | Permalink

    I’m a mathematician, and English. I’m married to an American mathematician. We’ve been living the math/maths thing for twenty years 🙂

    Also, it’s aluminium. You know, like sodium and potassium :-p

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted September 12, 2015 at 2:14 am | Permalink

      and sulphur!

  16. Posted September 12, 2015 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    I’ve gotten used to calling it math, but I still find it just as difficult to accept as I did in first grade that the “dux of the school” is a person, and aren’t ducks.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Perfect numbers? Thanks to that lecherous old polymath Hef and Playboy, a couple generations of obtuse American men came to think those were 36-24-36.

    It IS true, FWIW, that those numbers reflect the golden ratio.


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