## Archive for November 22, 2013

### One Direction Don’t Know OoOps

What teenager isn’t compelled to act when Niall, Zayn, Liam, Harry and Louis pose a mental math problem?

Admittedly, I’m late to the party on *Your Math Skills Are Terrible*, a 2011 parody of One Direction’s hit *You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful*. But as far as I can tell, I’m the first one to question One Direction’s understanding of the order of operations.

The expression generated by the lyrics is as follows:

4 ÷ 2 + 6 × 60 + 2 – 100 + 24 ÷ 2 + 7 ÷ 3 + 60

And if you perform the operations left-to-right, you get the answer that One Direction claims: **130**.

But if you follow the order of operations as promoted by textbooks and math teachers, then you get a different answer: **338 1/3**.

Ah, well, did we really expect some young pop stars to get this right? At least their song taught me a new acronym: OAP = old age pensioner (an official term used to refer to retirees in the United Kingdom, though informally it just means an old person).

With this song, One Direction is hanging out at the intersection of math and music. Turns out, a lot of jokes hang out at that intersection, too.

What’s yellow, weighs 1,000 pounds, and sings?

Two 500-pound canaries.Lumberjacks make good mathematicians because of their natural log rhythms.

What’s the world’s longest song?

Aleph-null bottles of beer on the wall, aleph-null bottles of beer, …Music is the pleasure the human mind experiences from counting without being aware that it is counting. (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz)