Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

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Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Angelene » Tue Nov 06, 2007 11:14 pm UTC

Manchester Evening News wrote:A LOTTERY scratchcard has been withdrawn from sale by Camelot - because players couldn't understand it.

The Cool Cash game - launched on Monday - was taken out of shops yesterday after some players failed to grasp whether or not they had won.

To qualify for a prize, users had to scratch away a window to reveal a temperature lower than the figure displayed on each card. As the game had a winter theme, the temperature was usually below freezing.

But the concept of comparing negative numbers proved too difficult for some Camelot received dozens of complaints on the first day from players who could not understand how, for example, -5 is higher than -6.

Tina Farrell, from Levenshulme, called Camelot after failing to win with several cards.

The 23-year-old, who said she had left school without a maths GCSE, said: "On one of my cards it said I had to find temperatures lower than -8. The numbers I uncovered were -6 and -7 so I thought I had won, and so did the woman in the shop. But when she scanned the card the machine said I hadn't.

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.

"I think Camelot are giving people the wrong impression - the card doesn't say to look for a colder or warmer temperature, it says to look for a higher or lower number. Six is a lower number than 8. Imagine how many people have been misled."

A Camelot spokeswoman said the game was withdrawn after reports that some players had not understood the concept.

She said: "The instructions for playing the Cool Cash scratchcard are clear - and are printed on each individual card and in the game procedures available at each retailer. However, because of the potential for player confusion we have decided to withdraw the game."

More than 15m adults in Britain have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths

Almost three times as many UK adults (15.1m) have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths - than with poor literacy skills, according to the government's Skills for Life survey.

Peter Hall, of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics, said: "The concept of minus numbers is something we would cover with 11 or 12 year olds, and we would expect them to have come across it before.

"The concept of smaller numbers is something that some people do seem to struggle with. Seven is clearly smaller than eight, so they focus on that and don't really see the minus sign. There is also a subtle difference in language between smaller - or lower - and colder. The number zero feels lower.

"There have always been some people who find numbers and basic mathematics difficult. Maybe in the past it was less noticeable because people could find jobs they could excel in without having qualifications in maths."


http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1022757_cool_cash_card_confusion
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby muteKi » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:05 am UTC

Almost three times as many UK adults (15.1m) have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths - than with poor literacy skills, according to the government's Skills for Life survey.



This I found amusing. I leave it to you all to determine why.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby theonemephisto » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:10 am UTC

So they couldn't understand how -6 is higher than -8?

WHY IS THE WORLD SO STUPID?!

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Angelene » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:11 am UTC

Eeeek, what a mess. That really shouldn't have been so difficult for a proofer to catch.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Rodan » Wed Nov 07, 2007 12:13 am UTC

This has made me lose my faith in humanity.




Well, no, not really, that's long gone, but it has made me sad.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Artemis Leon » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:19 am UTC

muteKi wrote:
Almost three times as many UK adults (15.1m) have poor numeracy - the equivalent of a G or below at GCSE maths - than with poor literacy skills, according to the government's Skills for Life survey.



This I found amusing. I leave it to you all to determine why.



I'm going to assume you found it humorous because of the poor grammar--that is, it should be "have poor" rather than "with poor". Also, "numeracy" is not an American English word to my knowledge, although those crazy Brits may say it all the time.

If that's not it, you may be amused by the fact that "G or below" is, in fact, a far more misleading qualification than "-6 or below" could ever hope to be.

Did I get it with one of those?
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Angelene » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:22 am UTC

It's the grammar I should imagine, the entire structure of the sentence is a mess.

And numeracy is a perfectly acceptable term, either side of the Atlantic...and surely if we're going to claim that one form of English trumps the other, it's not going to be the American bastardised version?
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby letthemeatquiche » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:34 am UTC

Wow... I'm no math whiz, but that's a whole lot of stupid right there.

What's worse is that, from the article, it sounds like the woman interviewed is persisting in her belief that -6 is lower than -8 even after having the concept of negative numbers explained to her.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:48 am UTC

CaraInFrames wrote:and surely if we're going to claim that one form of English trumps the other, it's not going to be the American bastardised version?


Hey, at least we know what negative numbers are!
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Angelene » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:48 am UTC

letthemeatquiche wrote:Wow... I'm no math whiz, but that's a whole lot of stupid right there.

What's worse is that, from the article, it sounds like the woman interviewed is persisting in her belief that -6 is lower than -8 even after having the concept of negative numbers explained to her.


Aye, there's little as amusing/worrying as the insistently indignant ignorant.

LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
CaraInFrames wrote:and surely if we're going to claim that one form of English trumps the other, it's not going to be the American bastardised version?


Hey, at least we know what negative numbers are!


Meh. >is not British<
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby BoomFrog » Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:52 am UTC

Oh it's not that bad. I mean honestly knowing that -8 < -6 is not that important in most jobs or life. Of course they know that -8 dollars is bigger problem then -6 dollars in the bank, that -8 is lower then -6. It's just the technical definition of "less then" that they are struggling with. Not everyone enjoys learning just for learning, and it generally is not a problem for their life.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Rodan » Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:13 am UTC

LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
CaraInFrames wrote:and surely if we're going to claim that one form of English trumps the other, it's not going to be the American bastardised version?


Hey, at least we know what negative numbers are!

I... don't think that many of us actually do.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:18 am UTC

BoomFrog wrote:Oh it's not that bad. I mean honestly knowing that -8 < -6 is not that important in most jobs or life. Of course they know that -8 dollars is bigger problem then -6 dollars in the bank, that -8 is lower then -6. It's just the technical definition of "less then" that they are struggling with. Not everyone enjoys learning just for learning, and it generally is not a problem for their life.


What the fuck? It's the same thing. And it's even with the specific example of temperature. There's nothing technical about this. "It's -8 degrees outside now and it was -6 earlier, should I get a coat?" They answer with "OH GOD IM NOT GOOD AT MATHS!!!111" It's not that fucking hard, these people are just stupid.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Stief » Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:27 am UTC

"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.


¬_¬

that's all I can say to this...I mean...it's not quantum physics now...is it?


is it?
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:31 am UTC

Stief wrote:
"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it.


¬_¬

that's all I can say to this...I mean...it's not quantum physics now...is it?


is it?


As a physicist, no, no, it's not.

This is the same reason no one can cook. No one understands things like "half a cup of milk" anymore... It's not that fucking hard. And god forbid you have to halve that recipe...
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:31 am UTC

Actually the reason fewer people can cook than used to be able to cook is that they're lazy and prepared food is more readily available than it used to be.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby e946 » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:20 am UTC

I'm going to save this article so that the next time I see some eurofag go off on how dumb americans are, I can shove this up their ass.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Umlaut » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:28 am UTC

I don't think this is a big deal.

A) Negative numbers are not intuitive.
B) There are "less numbers" in -6 than in -8, and someone not knowing the specific mathematical nomenclature can be forgiven. She obviously grasps that -8 is a lower temperature than -6, but that isn't what the instructions say.

All that said, what the fuck is a grade of 'G'?
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:50 am UTC

Umlaut wrote:I don't think this is a big deal.

A) Negative numbers are not intuitive.
B) There are "less numbers" in -6 than in -8, and someone not knowing the specific mathematical nomenclature can be forgiven. She obviously grasps that -8 is a lower temperature than -6, but that isn't what the instructions say.

All that said, what the fuck is a grade of 'G'?


What? Not intuitive if you're a moron. It means LESS THAN. Subtraction is not that god damned hard. If you can teach it to 10 year olds, it is not difficult. There's no "specific mathematical nomenclature," it's not string theory, it's SUBTRACTION. Owing 10 dollars is better than owing 20.

I honestly can not comprehend why people can't understand fucking temperature. Nor can I understand why people are defending these people. Honestly, I'd be willing to wager serious money that a monkey could be taught this. You almost could not get more simple than this.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Maurog » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:59 am UTC

You still need to be taught this. A untrained monkey won't be able to do basic math, and neither can an untrained human. And a grade of G on a GCSE scale is the worst you can get unless you count "unclassified". They probably have the math skills of a small child. Addition and comparing numbers, to know how much two ice cream will cost, and whether you can afford it. Subtraction and negative numbers are harder.

It's easy to mock these people if you forget they never been to, you know, school.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:16 am UTC

Maurog wrote:You still need to be taught this. A untrained monkey won't be able to do basic math, and neither can an untrained human. And a grade of G on a GCSE scale is the worst you can get unless you count "unclassified". They probably have the math skills of a small child. Addition and comparing numbers, to know how much two ice cream will cost, and whether you can afford it. Subtraction and negative numbers are harder.

It's easy to mock these people if you forget they never been to, you know, school.


First, a lot of these people have been to PRIMARY school, where you're taught that kind of thing. Second, even if they're not taught it, they do use money, and you have to know how to god damned subtract. Third, it really, really, isn't that damn hard. I've taught these kinds of things to adults, and it's one of the few things that is not that hard for them to grasp.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby __Kit » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:34 am UTC

This is the first and maybe last time I will use this little infratube communication technique.

*facepalm*

That is all.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Azrael » Wed Nov 07, 2007 2:58 pm UTC

Artemis Leon wrote:lso, "numeracy" is not an American English word to my knowledge, although those crazy Brits may say it all the time.


Numeracy is analogous to Literacy. Sure, we American's don't use it often ... every, really. But it *is* still a perfectly legitimate word.

Also: "American" English instead of "British" English? Wha? Sure, the two spell colo(u)r differently...

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Nov 07, 2007 3:38 pm UTC

Of course, minus is only smaller for some things, admittedly including temperature.

-30 ms-1 is faster than 20ms-1 because it's a vector and has a direction.

So it's more complicated than some people are making it out to be.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby LoopQuantumGravity » Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:15 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:Of course, minus is only smaller for some things, admittedly including temperature.

-30 ms-1 is faster than 20ms-1 because it's a vector and has a direction.

So it's more complicated than some people are making it out to be.


Speed =/= velocity!
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Prole » Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:26 pm UTC

This is a funny thread to read through.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Hawknc » Wed Nov 07, 2007 4:51 pm UTC

The fact that these people have such poor numeracy skills that they can't even work out negative numbers does explain why they're playing the lottery, though...

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Nov 07, 2007 5:22 pm UTC

LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:Of course, minus is only smaller for some things, admittedly including temperature.

-30 ms-1 is faster than 20ms-1 because it's a vector and has a direction.

So it's more complicated than some people are making it out to be.


Speed =/= velocity!


I know. But -30 ms-1 is larger than 20ms-1.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Umlaut » Wed Nov 07, 2007 7:46 pm UTC

LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
Umlaut wrote:I don't think this is a big deal.

A) Negative numbers are not intuitive.
B) There are "less numbers" in -6 than in -8, and someone not knowing the specific mathematical nomenclature can be forgiven. She obviously grasps that -8 is a lower temperature than -6, but that isn't what the instructions say.

All that said, what the fuck is a grade of 'G'?


What? Not intuitive if you're a moron. It means LESS THAN. Subtraction is not that god damned hard. If you can teach it to 10 year olds, it is not difficult. There's no "specific mathematical nomenclature," it's not string theory, it's SUBTRACTION. Owing 10 dollars is better than owing 20.

I honestly can not comprehend why people can't understand fucking temperature. Nor can I understand why people are defending these people. Honestly, I'd be willing to wager serious money that a monkey could be taught this. You almost could not get more simple than this.

No. It is not an intuitive concept. It isn't hard to teach people, but that is only because of a high capacity for abstract thought. Anyways, it's clear she knows what a negative number is, just not the specific method of comparing them. Owing six dollars means you owe less than eight dollars, after all. She was asked which number was lower, and -6 is closer to 0. This isn't a difficult mistake to make for someone who never learned math.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Bluecold » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:37 pm UTC

Umlaut wrote:
LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
Umlaut wrote:I don't think this is a big deal.

A) Negative numbers are not intuitive.
B) There are "less numbers" in -6 than in -8, and someone not knowing the specific mathematical nomenclature can be forgiven. She obviously grasps that -8 is a lower temperature than -6, but that isn't what the instructions say.

All that said, what the fuck is a grade of 'G'?


What? Not intuitive if you're a moron. It means LESS THAN. Subtraction is not that god damned hard. If you can teach it to 10 year olds, it is not difficult. There's no "specific mathematical nomenclature," it's not string theory, it's SUBTRACTION. Owing 10 dollars is better than owing 20.

I honestly can not comprehend why people can't understand fucking temperature. Nor can I understand why people are defending these people. Honestly, I'd be willing to wager serious money that a monkey could be taught this. You almost could not get more simple than this.

No. It is not an intuitive concept. It isn't hard to teach people, but that is only because of a high capacity for abstract thought. Anyways, it's clear she knows what a negative number is, just not the specific method of comparing them. Owing six dollars means you owe less than eight dollars, after all. She was asked which number was lower, and -6 is closer to 0. This isn't a difficult mistake to make for someone who never learned math.

But it wás explained:
"I phoned Camelot and they fobbed me off with some story that -6 is higher - not lower - than -8 but I'm not having it."
And yet she lacked the intelligence to understand it.

If you are that stupid, you qualify for a beating; if it doesn't help, she'd have forgotten it within a day.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:40 pm UTC

That is so awesome, but it just reinforces my belief that intelligence is more of a freak random occurrence that an attribute of all humans.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby malarkie » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:01 pm UTC

You can't use the excuse that they never went to school, they got a 'G.' So they obviously did go to school, but were not smart enough to grasp it.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby theonemephisto » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:09 pm UTC

I fail to understand how people are actually defending this. It isn't that hard, I'm pretty sure that I've understood that -6 is higher than -8 since before middle school.

You can try to compare this to untrained children, but these are adults. If adults aren't understanding something thats pretty integral to even basic math.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:16 pm UTC

"Which is warmer, -1 or -40?"

"-40, it's a bigger number!"

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Kizyr » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:28 pm UTC

LoopQuantumGravity wrote:
CaraInFrames wrote:and surely if we're going to claim that one form of English trumps the other, it's not going to be the American bastardised version?

Hey, at least we know what negative numbers are!

And we don't put an arbitrary "s" on the end of the word Math!

But seriously, I'm actually not terribly surprised that it caused so much confusion. Then again, I don't have a lot of confidence in the general public's abilities in maths or many other subjects for that matter.

We could always switch to Kelvin. But then it'd get weird with everyone not being able to understand that 273 degrees is freezing and 300 degrees is warm (but 32 for freezing and 212 for boiling apparently is easy to remember). KF
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby theonemephisto » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:07 am UTC

Kizyr wrote:We could always switch to Kelvin. But then it'd get weird with everyone not being able to understand that 273 degrees is freezing and 300 degrees is warm (but 32 for freezing and 212 for boiling apparently is easy to remember). KF

To be honest, I think that a lot of people DON'T know that 212 is boiling point, and many people probably just think that freezing is somewhere around 30.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Rodan » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:14 am UTC

theonemephisto wrote:
Kizyr wrote:We could always switch to Kelvin. But then it'd get weird with everyone not being able to understand that 273 degrees is freezing and 300 degrees is warm (but 32 for freezing and 212 for boiling apparently is easy to remember). KF

To be honest, I think that a lot of people DON'T know that 212 is boiling point, and many people probably just think that freezing is somewhere around 30.

Hell, I don't know that.
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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:15 am UTC

That Celcius freak was onto something. "Humans scale things easier when it's something they do every day. Hmm.... let's use Kelvin, but just phase shift it... hmmm, here! Zero = freezing, 100 = boiling! I'm sure this will catch on with 99% of the nations of the world!"

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby Rodan » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:18 am UTC

silly Americans. Just accept the fact that metric is easier and you spell "armour" with a u.

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Re: Just a little news snippet on the innumerate.

Postby The Spherical Cow » Thu Nov 08, 2007 12:23 am UTC

I have a distinct memory from when I was younger of my teacher leaping around the classroom to demonstrate the "number line" and where negative numbers were. It was hilarious at the time, and it stuck. I still have a very clear picture of a number line in my head when thinking about negative numbers (crazy-haired teacher not included).

I don't know whether to blame the girl, or the system that taught her for her mistake. My inclination is for the former. But perhaps if she'd just encountered a teacher like the one described above, she just might have carried that knowledge with her, no matter how well she did later.


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