You're A Mathematical Genius, You Know!
(c) Copyright 2003 by Murdo Macleod
This may come as a surprise to you.
But truth is, you really are good at mathematics.
You see, every day you solve complex problems by breaking them down into tiny little "baby steps".
And just like world's most powerful computer or greatest ever mathematical prodigy, it's this step-by-step process that enables you to do practically anything.
Let's see this process in action with a couple of examples:
* * * Example 1 - Calculating Dreaded Sales Tax
The sales tax rate varies around world, but here in UK it's 17.5%. Urgh! What kind of figure is that?
Let's look at it again and see how we can tame beast by breaking it down.
It consists of 10, plus 5 plus 2.5, doesn't it?
And those numbers form a distinct sequence. In other words... "10, plus half, plus half again".
Now that we know this, we can do something really clever...
Suppose you want to calculate 17.5% of 40 UK pounds. How would you work this out? (Stop! Don't even think of reaching for that calculator!)
Start with 10. 10% of 40 is 4. Add half (2) and half again (1) and you get 7.
So you proudly announce to your colleagues... "So by adding 17.5% sales tax to our £40 product, total retail price will be... £47."
They look on amazed.
Let's take another example and show how simple math really is...
* * * Example 2 - Help your daughter with her homework.
You arrive home and your daughter needs some help with her math assignment. It's those darn fractions again.