Shortly after the 2008 election, I complained that “actual knowledge of mathematical concepts is inimical to political success.” If one assumes that we get the government we deserve, it’s no trick to conclude that the Great Unwashed are utterly immune to arithmetic.
There are people who actually don’t understand that math is everywhere. The old recipe book says that I require 10 32 ounce cans for a bunch of lasagna I’m making. But they don’t make 32-ounce cans anymore, they only make 28 ounce cans. How many cans will I need?
Ah, the ever-popular Grocery Shrink Ray, which is used on things other than groceries; in 2007 I bought a replacement for my 30-gallon water heater, which holds, um, 28 gallons despite being almost exactly the same size.
And Roger needs twelve cans, though he’ll use less than half of the last one. After a brief flirtation with online operations, I do my tax returns by hand, though I suspect I may be one of a dying breed.