Wrong, But Useful – Episode 11

The first non-trivial palindromic episode of Wrong, But Useful, in which Colin gets a touch of the Samuel Hansens and starts picking fights, and Dave does his best to calm things down.

Fight #1, with loyal listener @srcav about which form of a straight line is better.

The opposite of fighting is clearly unboxing: @standupmaths (Matt Parker in real life) does exactly that to some calculators. He also apologises to the imperial system and is on tour with the Festival of the Spoken Nerd. (Sadly, the February 16th date in Bristol is sold out.)

Fight #2: @DrTonyPadilla (guess who he is in real life?) should come and have a go if he thinks he's hard enough: his @numberphile video is here and it spilt Colin's pint of lemonade. (The Aperiodical has a good roundup of criticism and explanation here.)

"Let him go, he's not WURF it!" screams Dave, and tries to distract Colin with Kaprekar's constant, which leads to the most riveting piece of radio ever recorded, as it involves Colin being repeatedly wrong - for the only time in history.

Thanks to @srcav and @notonlyahatrack for their solutions to the question in Episode 10 (spoiler: the ratio of the areas was 2:5).

Fight #3: Pythagoras is part of trigonometry. Lemme attim! Lemme attim!

This month's puzzle: Solve: $\sqrt{ x + \sqrt{ x + \sqrt{x + \sqrt{x + ...}}}}=4$

Dave doesn't get: why is GCSE maths important? Colin: "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry!"


Colin is a Weymouth maths tutor, author of several Maths For Dummies books and A-level maths guides. He started Flying Colours Maths in 2008. He lives with an espresso pot and nothing to prove.


9 comments on “Wrong, But Useful – Episode 11

  • Cav

    Hey guys, another great episode.

    Regarding” that” numberphile video, I’m very much.in agreement with Colin here. I showed the video to my further maths class who instantly called the.fiddling with non convergent sequences “trickery”, “nonsense” and some similar names. Amusingly, when the caption “Tony is a physicist…” came on three of them said, in unison, “ah, that explains it, bloody physicists”!

    Regarding Trig and Pythag, they are inextricably linked, you just need to look at alternate form to see that. And if you deconstruct the word, as Colin did, it would make sense to call Pythag part of trig, but surely when we talk about “Trigonometry” we are really inferring the ratios?!

    With.regards to the gcse, this post might be if interest: http://mylifeasacynicalteacher.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/how-would-i-change-the-exam-system-ks1-5/

    I think the perceived importance is down to numeracy and problem solving skills being seen as vital in the world.

    Looking forward to episode 12!

  • Chris Smith (@aap03102)

    Thanks for the mention guys!
    Your style of stealing what you’ve seen on the web and digesting it for the rest of us is class!

    In fact, you pair might consider changing the title from “Wrong But Useful” to “Us Two Burgle Fun” (that’s an anagram by the way!)

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