## Thursday, February 5, 2009

### The whatcha-hoosey-whatzit?

I feel like I may be watching my 4.0 GPA run past me down the hall. For reals, y’all. I think I’m too stoopid for “math”. Either that, or I just don’t understand THE POINT of this “math”. I mean, I can factor poly and trinomials until the cows come home. Seriously, I can do it in my sleep, and I’m durn good at it. I’m just not sure what the hell it is I’m supposed to be book learnin’ right now.

Now, granted, I started the class a week late. I get that. My bad for being so smart n’ purdy that I tested out of my intermediate algebra class and was able to sign up for a new one. But you’d think with me BEING so smart n’ purdy that I’d be able to catch on? Not so fast.

Week one was about “The mathematics of voting” (as taken directly from the T.O.C. in the front of the book). We’s learnt about preference ballots and preference schedules; the plurality method; the borda count method; the I don’t even know what the fuck that means method; etc. I had to stop and think to myself, all of these various methods of counting and determining voting outcomes would sure come in handy IF I EVER DECIDED TO BECOME A VOTING JUDGE. WTF? Really? Where’s my “guzzindas”? Where’s my y=mx+b?

I decided to make the best out of a confusing situation and go ahead and learn it. I figure someday it’ll come in handy when our family of 4 is having pizza night and there are a choice of 6 toppings ranked in order from 1 to 6 on each of our ballots. I can spend ten minutes tallying the votes using the plurality with elimination method and make whatever pizza “wins” the election. I can then use the expanded plurality with elimination method to tell Nathan which “place” his pizza preference came in. See what I mean? Useful, N-E-V-E-R.

This week we got out of the “Mathematics of Voting” and jumped head first into WEIGHTED VOTING SYSTEMS. Seriously. DID I sign up for an effing civics class instead of math? The first day of the chapter we learnt about the Banzhaf Power Index, or, as Professor NOT Larry Klye says, “the Banzhaf Power Index”? Confused? YEAH, SO AM I. Because he begins every class with:

 (Pushing the center of his glasses to get them properly seated on his obscenely large nose): “Uhhh, claaaaas. Today we’re going to discuss the Banzhaf Power Index. At least I say “Banzhaf” because that’s my understanding of the pronunciation of the word. I’m not here to claim that this is the correct pronunciation, but only my understanding of it. So if any of you have any additional literature …(PRO-NUN-SSSSSSED… LIT-ER-CHERRRR) as to a different pronunciation, please feel free to bring it to the class’ attention”. Okay, dude, seriously. A) We ain’t in jolly ole England, so drop the formality with the PRO-NUN-SEE-AAAA-SHUN. You’re in Texas homie, PRO-NOUN-SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS it. And B) If you don’t know how the fuck TO PRO-NOUN-SSSSSSSSSS it, DON’T FUCKING SAY IT.
 So he' drones on and on about the Banzhof Power Index, explains it, gives us an example. Yadda, yadda, yadda, we get it. Today we me on to the Shapley-Shubik Power Conclusion in weighted voting systems. And so as to save you and me time, read the italicized paragraph above over and substitute “Shapley-Shubik” for “Banzhaf Power Index”. Again, dude, for real, …never mind.Someone else in class today decided to raise her hand and ask what I had

been wondering myself, “What’s the fucking point in all this, dude? I mean, I thought I signed up for a math class”. And Professor NOT Larry Klye says, “Well, it’s useful (READY???) if, for example, YOU’RE THE CEO OF A COMPANY or trying to find ways to influence a vote in a board meeting or something similar”.

DO-YOU-SERIOUSLY-THINK a CEO is going to be sitting in a COLLEGE MATHEMATICS CLASS in a FUCKING COMMUNITY COLLEGE? Huh? Do you? Yeah, I guess this class IS going to be helpful, for when I become the CEO of my…uh, HOUSEHOLD. Oh, wait. I already am!

I can’t take this guy seriously. For reals. I can’t. I’m dying. And so, I fear, will that awesome, amazing 4.0. Did I mention I had a 4.0? I can’t remember if I did or not.

karisa said...

You lost me at Math.

Anonymous said...

Phreddy,
This reminds me of my Accounting Professor in college, who had no Real World experience - therefore he didn't know what was really applicable for us to learn in preparation for eventually entering the "real world".

You may not like this, but the mental gymnastics of these weighted averages and calculations will do you absolutely nothing in the business world. That's what Excel and Access databases are for, right? I don't know of anyone that does these types of calculations by hand anymore.

All I can say is, try and suck it up and get the general concepts down. 10 years from now, your professor will probably be teaching the same crap, and still not know how to pronounce it correctly.

-Al

Jed said...

maybe you can ask Heather to pretend she is you?

(F)redddy said...

Heather has way more hair than me.

(F)redddy said...

Al, hopefully in 10 years I'll be close to retiring! I'll be knocking on 50's door in 10 years!

Heather said...

Wow, I second karisa. That's some complicated stuff. Although... "Power Index" does sound kinda smexxxy to me!

LK said...

Just get through it. I had a Statistics professor who was Japanese. Every three words he turned to the class and asked, "Is this okay?" Which it was so not okay because English was not even his second language. RIP Kenzo Seo (I'm just gonna assume he's dead).