A math problem just broke my brain, & now I’m questioning how the hell I can be sure of ANY basic algebra answer I come up with from now on…

I wasn’t expecting this to happen. The video just showed up in my recommends and I took a look at it.

And now I’m frustrated to hell. And SO FREAKING GLAD I’m not tutoring older kids in math anymore… because I would just confuse the hell out of them.

I’ll just say that though I definitely went the humanities route in life, I had an appreciation for math. I thought it was necessary and wanted to understand it better, I just couldn’t grasp it very well once they started putting letters in math problems. And it would take me quite a while to get the work done. I hated the calculator, so I got pretty good at writing the equations out on the page. I even had some teachers let me go as far as I could, as long as I went back and circled the answer I know they needed (I wanted to know the answers, dammit, and kept going even if I was supposed to stop at step 2 or 3).

Well, there are two things I got really good at and could do in my sleep. One was proportions. I can figure out proportions pretty easily and don’t need a calculator to do it. Even percentages or percent-off problems (just takes an extra step or two on paper, because I can’t ever remember how to do the percentages in the calculator anyway, so I got used to doing it on paper instead… and got fast at it). Surprised the hell out of sales people when I could get it right within a few cents in just a few seconds.

The other was Order of Operations. I had the acronym PEMDAS pounded into my brain and don’t need the little helper sentence to go with it (“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally”)

PEMDAS. Parenthesis, Exponent, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.

But apparently, there’s a “modern” way to interpret what this means and I’m getting different answers.

I’ll take a moment to vent: fuck calculators. I really really fucking hate calculators. They make people lazy and never work when you need ’em anyway, just when they make the kids depend on ’em instead of being able to figure things out on paper, and now the calculators determine the right answer over the paper and the brain? GAAAAHHHH!!!! #*#$&@&$(@)

…okay, I’m relatively calm. Annoyed, but calmer.

But now, my brain’s broken.

And because I’m feeling an awful lot like the asshole who believes in the curses linked to chain letters, or that person who knows they’re screwing someone’s day when they pass that videotape around of that chick in The Ring… I guess you could watch this vid and it’s explanation to see what I’m talking about:

***For the record, my initial answer was “6.” I did that because of PEMDAS, but also because I don’t recall being taught that if M and D are both present, you work left to right. My whole schooling I was taught that was the order, not M & D are on the same line, but what’s on the left needs doing first… it always made sense to build up (multiply) and THEN break it down (division). Otherwise you might overcomplicate things by making fractions or decimals when you could stick with whole numbers.

Again, I am SO glad I’m not tutoring math right now. I’m gonna fix myself a cup of coffee and stress clean now.

Dammit… I thought at least ONE thing I was pretty confident I could do wouldn’t change on me!

Math is hard - Page 3 — EA Forums

3 thoughts on “A math problem just broke my brain, & now I’m questioning how the hell I can be sure of ANY basic algebra answer I come up with from now on…

  1. buddy71 says:

    I also came out with the answer of six because I think I was taught the same way. But that was very long ago so if they’ve changed the rules I would not know that as I’m not a mathematician. But after watching the video I understand how they came out with 24.


    • TheChattyIntrovert says:

      I admit I got a twitch in my eye because I felt at first like it was catering to the “if you put it in the calculator” crowd. But when you add that going from left to right thing, regardless if it’s multiplication or division (as opposed to multiplication first, like I was taught), then yeah, I get it, too. I just feel like I might have nightmares of being back in 8th grade and getting all the answers wrong again now (gah!)

      Eh, some more music vids on YouTube or Pink Floyd CDs will tune that awfulness out (hee hee).

      Liked by 1 person

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