5/24/2006 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson



North Dakota leads the nation in the production of 14 different

commodities: flaxseed, canola, dry edible peas, durum wheat, pinto beans, spring wheat, all sunflower, sunflower oil, non-oil sunflower, barley, lentils, all dry edible beans, honey and oats.

North Dakota is second in the production of navy beans, all wheat (14 percent of total US wheat production) and rye.

And, North Dakota is the nation’s third largest producer of sugar beets.

North Dakota farmers and ranchers produce:

* Enough beef to make 2 billion hamburgers each year.

* Enough wheat for 108 billion sandwiches.

* Enough durum wheat for 93 pounds of pasta for every American each year.

* Enough soybeans to make 176 billion crayons.

* Enough canola to fill the capital tower more than 17 times.

* Enough corn to sweeten 40 billion cans of pop.

* Enough potatoes to make 202 million servings of French fries.


From the e-mails:

Last week I purchased a burger and fries at McDonalds for $3.58. The counter girl took my $4 and I pulled 8 cents from my pocket and gave it to her. She stood there, holding the nickel and three pennies.

While looking at the screen on her register, I sensed her discomfort and tried to tell her to just give me two quarters, but she hailed the manager for help. While he tried to explain the transaction to her, she stood there and cried.

Why do I tell you this?

Because of the evolution in teaching math since the 1950s:

Teaching Math In 1950

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1960

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his profit?

Teaching Math In 1970

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit?

Teaching Math In 1980

A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

Teaching Math In 1990

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living?

Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes?

(There are no wrong answers.)

Teaching Math In 2006

Un ranchero vende una carretera de madera para $100. El cuesto de la produccion era $80. Cuantos tortillas se puede comprar?


Why, Why, Why

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are getting weak?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know there isn’t enough?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn’t glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp?"

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

When we are in the supermarket and someone rams our ankle with a shopping cart then apologizes for doing so, why do we say, "It’s all right." Well, it isn’t all right, so why don’t we say, "That hurt!"

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that’s falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter, why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends — if they’re okay, then it’s you.

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