Posts tagged ‘hate’

What Number Do You Hate?

In 2014, Alex Bellos conducted a poll to find out people’s favorite number. Based on those results, Maddy Fry wrote an article for Time in which she stated,

The least favorite number turned out to be 110, which was the lowest number to receive no votes.

110 Balloons

That’s not quite true. It would be correct to say that 110 was the least common favorite number, but calling it the “least favorite number” makes it sound like it’s the number that folks like least. In a poll where folks were asked to choose just one favorite number, a number that gets no votes doesn’t make it the least liked number. It just means that no one picked it as their favorite. That’s a subtle but important distinction.

It could be the case — however unlikely — that even though no one picked 110 as their favorite number, it could be everyone’s second-favorite number.

On the other hand, I do have a least favorite number.

More than two decades ago, I heard a local Maryland band called Dead City Radio (not to be confused with the song Dead City Radio by Rob Zombie), and I bought their debut album. Although the band is now defunct, the image from that album cover holds a permanent spot in my psyche:

Dead City Radio

The cover includes disturbing imagery of a doll, a gun, graffiti, an atomic bomb explosion, and the number 219 on the door. Why 219? I spoke with DCR’s lead singer after the show, and he told me that it was serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer‘s apartment number. Disturbing.

Jeffrey DahmerAs it turns out, that’s not true. Dahmer’s apartment number in Milwaukee was actually 213, though he did meet several of his victims at Club 219. I’m not sure if the DCR guys had it wrong, or if I misheard because my ears were still ringing after the concert, or if there’s some other explanation.

Regardless, I had no reason to question the statement when I first heard it, and I now have a fear and abnormal hatred of the number 219. It’s been my least favorite number for years. I obviously avoid room 219 when I stay at hotels. (And now that I know the truth, I avoid room 213, too. In fact, I try to avoid the second floor entirely. I don’t even want to walk past those rooms.)

But my hatred is deeper than just avoiding hotel rooms. When I score 219 points playing Dots, or when I receive $2.19 in change at the grocery store, or when my GPS tells me to turn right onto Route 219, a slight shiver runs down my spine.

I’m not the only person who despises a particular number. At The Top Tens, many people say they hate many numbers for a variety of reasons:

  • 6 looks weird.
  • 16 is so obnoxious. I can’t stand this stupid swagger of an integer. It should burn in hell.
  • 12 will lead to endless controversies.
  • 18 sucks because it’s when you have to say goodbye to your childhood.
  • 39 is a multiple of 13… plus it’s so annoying.

So, what number do you hate? Complete the poll below. (And if it isn’t working for you, jump over to this Google poll.) Once I get a reasonable number of responses, I’ll clean the data and share the results. Check back in early 2019.


 

November 19, 2018 at 8:19 am Leave a comment

11 Things to Hate About Conference Calls

Old PhoneHave you noticed that the word telecommute can be split into the two-word phrase telecom mute?

Elegant, isn’t it? After all, there’s nothing I enjoy more than hitting the “mute” button so I can microwave a Hot Pocket® while doing a conference call from home.

There are a few old jokes at the intersection of math and telephony:

I’m sorry. The number you dialed is imaginary. Please rotate your phone 90°, and try again.

When I dial into conference calls, I hope beyond hope that the dial-in number is imaginary. But no such luck.

Got math problems? Call 1 – 800 – (7 × 5 + 36) – (212).

Both of those jokes are terrible, and I apologize. But you came here for math jokes, and since I’m about to rant about something that isn’t math-related, I figured I should lead with something that connects the rant below with the reason for your visit. And those are the only jokes I know that even tangentially relate math to conference calls.

So, there ya go.

Now, my rant. I hate conference calls. I mean, a lot. We’re talking full-on despision here, like the kind Tartaglia had for Cardano. Conference calls are occasionally useful and productive, but typically they involve too many people and waste too much time. If I’m never invited to another conference call, I promise I won’t complain about feeling lonely.

Dave Barry said:

If there’s one word that describes why the human race never has and never will reach its full potential, that one word would be: meetings.

Replace “meetings” with “conference calls,” and it’s equally true.

I have 11 reasons for despising these unproductive time-sucks, but feel free to add additional reasons in the Comments section.

  1. People who dial in late. For God’s sake, please don’t dial in 10 minutes late and then expect the rest of us to catch you up on what’s been discussed so far. Show up on time.
  2. People who dial in late and announce themselves. As if it isn’t bad enough that you’re late, now the conversation is interrupted while the rest of us hear your name. If your conference call provider says, “After the tone, please state your name and then press the pound key,” just press the pound key; and if your provider says, “Please announce yourself,” don’t.
  3. Someone bumping the redial button. Now we all have to hear ten (or more) melodic beeps. Oh, for Pete’s sake, please put your finger back in your nose so this doesn’t happen again.
  4. People who coordinate activities for those in the main office. For instance, someone interrupts the conference call to sing “Happy Birthday” and deliver cupcakes to the 8 people who are gathered in a conference room. Meanwhile, the 14 of us in other locations have to imagine how good those cupcakes must taste, based on what sounds like giraffes chewing bubble gum on the other end of the line.
  5. Trying to focus for an hour on voices from a far-away land. I know I can’t do it, and I’m not alone. Dr. Mike Hollier from Dolby Communications explains,

    …if we visualize our entire cognitive capability as the size of a football field, then our conscious intelligence — the portion of our intelligence that’s available in the moment — would be the size of a tiny grain of sand. In face-to-face meetings, we don’t need to strain our conscious intelligence to figure out who’s speaking… But conference call audio is so hard to decipher that we need to devote our entire conscious intelligence to analyzing audio information. With our conscious intelligence so taxed, paying attention to the subject of the conference call is exhausting.

  6. Multi-tasking douchepickles who continually ask, “I’m sorry, could you repeat the question?” Sorry, Biff, I cannot repeat the question. But I would like you to repeat after me: I will not play Evil Genius during conference calls.
  7. Calls being continually rescheduled because one person can’t attend. Perhaps this is reasonable if the one person is the Queen Mum or the Dalai Lama. Otherwise, accept that it’s impossible to find a time that will work for 27 people, and proceed with those who are available. Be a good employee, take notes, and send a follow-up to everyone after the call — including those who couldn’t be there. That’s progress, and you won’t have to wait till June 2054 to find a mutually agreeable time.
  8. Making 15 people wait while the organizer uses his cell phone to call the one jerk-off who hasn’t dialed in yet. If he doesn’t deem the call important enough to remember it, why does the organizer think he’s important enough to warrant a reminder? Why is his time more important than yours? Send him an IM, maybe, but proceed without him.
  9. The long-distance yeller who shouts, “Okay!” from the far side of his office to the speakerphone. Are you afraid of catching a communicable disease through the phone? Or is it just that your Justin Bieber bobblehead is on the other side of the room? Please, get a little closer to the phone so we can hear you.
  10. Bad mobile connections. If you cause static for more than 5 seconds, mute yourself. If you cause static for more than 10 seconds, hang up. Nothing you have to say is so important that we should have to tolerate this. And if your input is that important, then call from a landline.
  11. Conference calls that take place when you should be driving home. No calls starting later than 4 p.m. Period. And for goodness sake, no calls after noon on Friday!

Greg at www.ihateconferencecalls.com says, “You hate conference calls? I hate them more.” Here’s a pearl of his wisdom.

I really am doing my best. I have to remember:

  • They aren’t doing this call because they hate me specifically, but rather…
  • They are doing this call because they hate humanity, and this small amount of suffering that we all share will bring us together as humans.
  • By suffering through the call, I become more human.

What do you hate about conference calls?

April 16, 2015 at 12:13 pm Leave a comment

Matters of the Cardioid

HeartIt’s Valentine’s Day. Uh-oh… you didn’t forget to get your sweetie something nice, did you? No worries. MJ4MF is here to help.

Of course, you could make a Magic Heart for your special someone. But if Arts ‘n Crafts aren’t your thing, just copy one of the following poems onto a blank card, and your sweetie will be swooning!

Roses are #FF0000,
Violets are #0000FF,
Hexadecimal is awesome,
And so are you!

Roses are #FF0000,
Leaves are #00C000,
We express colors
In powers of 16!

What’s that? You don’t speak RGB? Okay, then try this poem by Michael Stueben called Valentine:

You are the fairest of your sex,
Let me be your hero;
I love you as one over x,
as x approaches zero.

For my money, though, the best math love poem is “Square Root of Three” from Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.

Maybe you’ve been together a long time, and you no longer need to woo your sweetie. In that case, just make him or her smile with this poem from John McClelland…

A lady of 80 named Gertie
Had a boyfriend of 60 named Bertie.
She told him emphatically
That viewed mathematically
By modulo 50, she’s 30.

Or perhaps you’ve just gotten out of a relationship and are currently single. Here’s a poem you can send to your ex.

Rose are red,
Violets are blue,
Our love is like a poem
That doesn’t rhyme.

Or maybe you really don’t feel like celebrating. You’ve been jilted, and you are officially anti‑Valentine’s Day. The following MJ4MF original poem might be more to your liking.

My belief in love was completely destroyed
The day you ripped out my cardioid.
Your actions and words never equated;
Your emotions, randomly generated.
Up and down again, like the curve of sine —
My screwed-up, degenerate Valentine.
So I’ll tell you abruptly, and this you can quote:
F**k this day, and kiss my asymptote!

February 14, 2012 at 2:14 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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