Questions and Answers

June 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm 3 comments

I’ve been teaching my sons how to tell time on an analog clock. The following is a recent conversation:

Me: The little hand is the hour hand, and the big hand is the minute hand.
Eli: What’s the third hand for?
Me: That’s the second hand.
Alex: Why is the third hand called the second hand?

I had no idea how to respond.Fibonacci Clock

Here are some questions that I’ve been asked recently for which I did know to respond…

How good are you at algebra?
Vary able.

Why is simplifying a fraction like powdering your nose?
It improves appearance without changing the value.

What do you get when you cross geometry with McDonald’s?
A plane cheeseburger.

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Three Outta Four World IPv6 Day

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joshua  |  June 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I’m guessing that they’re called seconds because they are the second iteration of dividing hours (or degrees, in the case of angle measure) into groups of 60. The second “decimal” place in base 60.

    That said, I’ve never seen anyone go to thirds; we seem to use decimal fractions of seconds.

  • 2. venneblock  |  June 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    So why aren’t minutes called “firsts”?

  • 3. Andrew  |  June 7, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    If the third hand is the second hand, can we say by substitution that the third hand is minutes, too? But if the third hand is minutes, than the second hand doesn’t exist? Doesn’t that mean analog clocks are really only good for telling which hour of the day it is?


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The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

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