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Mind Calculating - August 19, 2011
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Spiked Math Comic - Mind Calculating

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That's great!

i know you've been known for some tongue-in-cheek stuff... but this seems pretty decent.

oh, and i've been 'mind calculating' for a long time, since i started math in school. i went to a montessori school from pre-school to graduation, and we heavily promoted mind calculating. it's quite easy given some practice, and i'm usually faster than typing the numbers in and fumbling with parentheses.

wait... hold on a second. a google search turns up nothing... wtf is this?

It's not actually a fad, though most math teachers wish it were!

Children in Asian countries have been doing this forever. It's hardly new.

Lolwtf Casio?
anyways, there's an awesome dude Dr. Arthur Benjamin who goes around doing this under the stage name "The Mathemagician" and he's a bawss.

Now watch as I make this remainder... DISAPPEAR!

"Lolwtf Casio?" My very first thought when I saw this comic

Hi, My name is Stratis, and I'm a mind calculator.

Have you read Isaac Asimov's short story called The Feeling of Power?

My thoughts exactly.

That's exactly what I thought of as I read this :)

Where I went to school (UK) we had mental maths tests up until about 11.

Geez... kids these days. Next thing you know, they'll be hand writing!

None of my mathematics classes in high school allowed calculators on regular tests. We had separate tests to prove mastery of our TI84+s. AP calculus even went as far as to give 2 midterms and finals. Classes that require math (read: Physics, Chemistry) allowed calculators all the time. In University (I go for Actuarial Science)I barely touch a calculator outside of my financial math and modeling classes. Even then it is only a financial calculator for amortization and annuities. I guess I can use it for statistics and the like but I just find it really isn't that necessary.


Hipster Math major was doing this before it was mainstream.

There is a short story from Asimov on that. I can't remember the title.

Pan up 6 comments (not counting sub-comments).

Another lost skill is estimating--when using a slide rule (does that date me too badly?) you needed to figure out the exponent of the result, so you usually did the calculation, but simplified.

For example, what’s the area of a circle of radius 2.75? πr^2 (or τr^2/2 for the fanat- . . . err, the enlightened)?

The answer is about 3x3x3=27, so when the slide rule says 2375, you know it’s really 23.75. With practice, and nuances (like taking alternately high and low estimates), you can get pretty good at a rough calculation.

Benefit: it also helps with "standard" conversions, like English to metric measurements. A meter is about 40 inches, less a bit, or 1.1 yards, or 3.3 feet, so that 10 feet is 3 m. Similarly, take half the pounds and subtract 1/10 to get kg.

I actually went out and bought a Sliderule for just the purpose of helping my estimations last year. Thank God Thinkgeek.com still sells new ones, cause my dad's old model was missing the slidy cursor, and paper print outs just don't cut it.


useless talent, calculating is for calculators

True. Computation is for computers.

Amputation is for amputees.

Yeah--but I don't need to bring a calculator with me everywhere I go, and I can do figurin' while everyone else thinks I'm paying attention.

No calculators were allowed in school for us :D

If only I could graph calculate in my head. Now THAT would be impressive.

So... you can't draw pictures in your head?

Sounds funny upon imagining students relying heavily on calculators. But most schools in India doesn't allow calculators all the way upto 12th Grade !! and back in those school days, I wished they did. Its really annoying spending lot of time doing stuff mentally and on paper-pen which isn't the real intention of problem. But yeah, its fun finding and looking for faster short-ways of calculating in mind :D

I once claimed that I was too lazy to use a calculator, so I just did it all in my head.

I remember back then mind calculating was strictly prohibited--you had to do the long multiplication for things like 11*9.

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Hello my fellow math geeks. My name is Mike and I am the creator of Spiked Math Comics, a math comic dedicated to humor, educate and entertain the geek in you. Beware though, there might be some math involved :D

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