Quote of the day–Robert Heinlein

Anyone who cannot cope with mathematics is not fully human.  At best he is a tolerable subhuman who has learned to wear shoes, bathe, and not make messes in the house.

Lazarus Long
A character in Time Enough for Love by Robert Heinlein
[When I started my QOTD thing my intention was to never repeat a quote. I’m making an exception this time because of this. It’s called Verizon Bad Math, but it’s not even math. It’s 4th grade arithmetic. Background is here. I didn’t read it all. It’s way, way too painful for me.

What’s your call?

  • It is the public school system
  • Verizon hires only arithmetically challenged people
  • People in general are just mind boggling stupid
  • Some people should not be allowed to breed
  • Abortions should be available on a retroactive basis

Listen sometime when excess adrenaline won’t be a problem and you have your blood pressure meds handy.

Thanks (I think, I may not be able to sleep tonight) to Taqi for the pointer.–Joe]

2 thoughts on “Quote of the day–Robert Heinlein

  1. We’ve hired two (nearby University) accounting graduates over the years. Neither could take a figure and back out the state sales tax to find the principal amount. If you start with 105 dollars, and the tax rate is 5%, you know right off that the principal amount is 100 dollars. What if the total is 243.67? Exactly how much is going to principal and how much to tax?

    Could not do it. One guy filled a whole sheet of paper doodling for the answer, getting closer and closer, but no dice. That’s a four-year Accounting degree.

    I’ve used this test ever since as a measure of basic math skills, and I’d say less than one in four people that I’ve asked could do it. Try it on your programmer firends. If half of them can do it right off, I’ll be impressed. Electronic calculators are allowed. If they can all do it righ off without hesitation, it will renew my hope for Mankind.

    I blame the schools for sure, and the parents who went to the same schools and therefore know nothing about what their kids are missing. And whoever it was that created the public school concept in the first place– I blame them most of all. Since I went to public school, however, I don’t know any of their names or how they did it.

  2. Fortunately I married a human who does Math good. I have trouble with the shoes and not making a mess thing, let alone math. I blame my 8th Grade Algebra teacher with the paint-peeling halitosis, man you just did NOT ever want to raise your hand and ask a question, or he’d come down the row and direct you himself.
    Or it could have been 5th grade when I sat near the back row and couldn’t hardly see past two rows in front of me, I was blind and in need of glasses, undiagnosed until the end of term – so much for Boarding School…

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