## Saturday, April 22, 2017

### Jaw-dropping innumeracy test...

Jaw-dropping innumeracy test...  I ran across this online somewhere (can't find it now), read their results and suspected shenanigans.  I was wrong.  In fact, my own tests suggest the innumeracy situation might even be worse than the report I read.

Here's the test:
Take a piece of blank paper.  Draw a dot on the left and mark it “0”.  Draw a dot opposite the first one, on the right, and mark it “1,000,000,000” (one billion).  Draw a line between the two dots.  That's a number line, like many of us learned in school.  It represents all the numbers between zero and a billion, with the integers equally spaced.  Now draw a third dot on the line where you think the number 1,000,000 (one million) belongs.
The report I read said that about half of people trying this test put the third dot in roughly the correct place; everyone else got it wrong.  That's the result I was skeptical of.  The correct place, of course, is 1/1000th of the line's length from the left.  So if your line was 10 inches long, the third dot would be a mere 1/100th of an inch from the dot for zero.

So I've tried the test now on five people (a ludicrously small sample, I know), more or less randomly selected.  None of them were even remotely close to the right answer.  The most common place for the third dot was somewhere near the middle of the line.  One person put it about 1/5th of the line's length from the right!  I'm slightly comforted by the fact that none of these people were scientists or engineers ... but only slightly comforted.

I find this absolutely stunning.  Somehow it never occurred to me that so many adults – probably a majority of adults – wouldn't intuitively grasp such basic concepts.  That level of innumeracy means that things like discussions of government budgets are beyond their ken, as they don't understand the significance of the difference between millions, billions, or trillions of dollars (and probably not thousands, either!).  Or basic astronomical concepts.  Sheesh, much of science involves numbers covering multiple orders of magnitude.

Gobsmacked, I am...

### Paradise ponders, brief “I’m busy!” edition...

Paradise ponders, brief “I’m busy!” edition...  Yesterday none of our workers showed up, and no progress was made on any project.  I hate days like that!

I squired Debbie down to Ogden for her hair appointment, which took 3.5 hours.  She does this every five weeks, so that works out to roughly 40 hours a year.  Me, I get a haircut every 5 or 6 months, whether I need it or not. :)  My haircuts generally take less than 15 minutes.  My haircuts cost \$15, including a 50% tip (which the ladies who cut my hair are very happy with!).  Debbie's cost ... you don't want to know, especially if you include the cost of the chemical soup she buys to maintain it.  Now, I like her hair, mind you.  I'm just noting the differences here, and pondering the magnitude of the investment of time and treasure.  I cannot even imagine doing this myself...

When we were done with her hair appointment, we tried out a new restaurant in Ogden: Rosa's Cafe.  We found it through Yelp.  Debbie ordered a smothered pork burrito, and I had a chili relleno.  Both were outstanding – they had a home-cooked vibe, much like our beloved Los Primos.  The portions were gigantic, especially that burrito.  Even better, the staff (allegedly a family) were just as friendly as the folks at Los Primos.  We knew it was going to be good when we first opened the door.  Debbie stood there for a moment, trying to figure out how to negotiate the small step up into the restaurant.  An ample young man who works there stepped out to help with a big smile, and simply lifted her right up.  Problem solved!  An older man guessed that this was our first time, and advised us on what to get based on our tolerance for spiciness.  We placed our order, grabbed some mango Jarritos from the fridge (again, just like Los Primos), and sat down to wait.  Less than five minutes later, our food was in front of us.  Mine came with rice and refries, and both of those were also outstanding – as was the giant, thick flour tortilla that came with the meal.  That tortilla was obviously homemade for those burritos.  The beans are made there, and man can you tell.  The rice is something that most Mexican restaurants don't do well, with the rice typically grossly overcooked.  Not here.  The rice was perfect, the sauce beautifully done, and just the right amount of corn, carrots, etc.  You can probably guess that we'll be going back. :)

Why am I busy today?  I'm catching up on two weeks of neglected financial stuff.  It's been accumulating in a pile on my desk, and today I shall demolish that pile...