Posts tagged ‘currency’

Decimal Displacement

I used to dislike math, but then I realized that decimals have a point.

For instance, they separate dollars from cents in prices, as shown on the price tag of a Black Brown 1826 shirt that I received as a gift from my mother-in-law:

Shirt Price

Like me, you may be wondering: Why would they include four zeroes instead of just two after the decimal point?

My first thought was that Black Brown 1826 was a London-based company. The tag shows the price in U.S. dollars, so it would make sense that a British company would display the price in U.S. dollars to four decimal places — currency pairs are often expressed to four decimal places.

But that’s not the case. Black Brown 1826 is a clothing line at Lord + Taylor, which is a North American company.

My second thought was that the designer of the line might be European. But nope. The line was designed by Joseph Abboud, an American designer.

My third thought was… well, actually, I didn’t have a third thought. And I still have no idea why the price is expressed to four decimal places.

Do you know why there would be four decimal places shown in the price? If you have a theory, leave a comment.

The location of the decimal point is often a mystery to kids, too, but not for this student…

A math teacher wrote 15.1 on the board. “This is what happens if we multiply by 10,” she said, and then erased the decimal point.

“Now where’s the decimal point?” she asked.

A student answered, “On the eraser!”

But decimal points can also pose problems for adults…

A colleague noticed a new spot on the carpet in the hallway. “Quick! Call the accounting department!” he yelled. “See if they misplaced a decimal point again!”

January 29, 2013 at 10:46 am 4 comments

Make Money with Fractions

An act of Congress on July 17, 1861, gave the Treasury Secretary the authority to print U.S. currency. For a variety of reasons, it wasn’t until several years later that the Treasury Department actually began printing; in the interim, private firms printed the notes in sheets of four, sent them to the Treasury Department where the seal was affixed by hand, and then the sheets were cut apart with scissors. (How far we’ve come!)

Did you know that the U.S. government will replace worn out or damaged money if three-fifths of it is still identifiable? Similarly, two-fifths will earn the bearer half the face value.

Perhaps the U.S. government is not terribly good with fractions. (This is not surprising. A recent government report claims that five out of four government employees do not understand fractions.) Even an elementary student knows that 3/5 + 2/5 = 1. So why is the government willing to give you 150% of a bill’s value if you divide it in the ratio 60:40?

If you want to make a quick buck (or a quick $50), here’s my suggestion: Go to the bank, get a fresh $100 bill, then cut it as shown:

As divided, the left portion is 3/5 of the original bill, and the right portion is 2/5 of the original bill. Now you can exchange the left portion for a new $100 bill, and you can exchange the right portion for $50. That’s a 50% return on your money, which is better than almost every blue-chip stock in the history of NASDAQ and the NYSE.

With policies like this, is it any wonder there’s a national deficit?

* NOTE: It is illegal to purposely mutilate U.S. currency. The above post is satirical. Do not try this at home. If you do, we at MJ4MF hereby absolve ourselves of all responsibility.

July 17, 2010 at 12:03 am 2 comments


About MJ4MF

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.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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