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Imagine algebra class meets The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…

Meet JJ, an unusual character with a unique vantage position from which he can measure and monitor humanity’s progress. Armed with a device that compels all around it to tell the truth, JJ offers a satirical evaluation of our attitudes to numeracy and logic, touching upon several aspects of life on Earth along the way, from the criminal justice system and people’s use of language to highway driving and modern art.

A collection of mathematically-flavored stories and jokes, interlaced with puzzles, paradoxes and problems, fuse together in an entertaining, free-flowing narrative that will engage and amuse anyone with an interest in the issues confronting society today. JJ demonstrates how a lack of elementary mathematical knowledge can taint our work and general thinking and reflects upon the importance of what is arguably our most valuable weapon against ignorance: a sound mathematical education.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

SCAM 1. JJ and the MICQ

“My name is J.J. Moon, and I'm an alien,” he said calmly.

We were in the bar of a hotel in Auburn, Alabama, where I was attending a mathematics conference sponsored by Auburn University. The afternoon session had just ended, and I wanted to relax with a cup of coffee.

SCAM 2. The Mathematical Commandments

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

“Civilizations rise and fall on their treatment of mathematics,” he said abruptly when I joined him.

SCAM 3. The Public School System

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically.

SCAM 4. The School Mathematical Education

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 5. Language, Grammar, and Punctuation

I met JJ again at a conference sponsored by Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 6. Foreign Languages

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 7. Foreign Countries and Foreigners

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 8. Mathematics and the Public

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 9. The Question of Calculus

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 10. Political Correctness

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 11. TV Advertising

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 12. Highway Driving

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 13. Units of Measurement

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 14. Percentages and Living on Debt

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 15. Modern Art

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 16. Averages and Buying Cars

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 17. The Public Media

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 18. The Criminal Legal System

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Rice University in Houston, Texas. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 19. Civil Litigation

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 20. Statistics and Probability

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 21. Academic Politics

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 22. Antisocial Behavior

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 23. Mathematicians Versus Engineers

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 24. The Evolution of Knowledge

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

SCAM 25. The Virtues of Mathematics

I met JJ again at a mathematics conference sponsored by Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Just like the first time, he was sitting alone at a table in a corner of the hotel bar, gazing at me across the room with dark, inscrutable eyes.

As soon as I sat down, he pushed a piece of paper in my direction. “Here,” he said laconically. “For your students.”

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