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Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences by John Allen Paulos
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“The nuclear weapons on board just one of our Trident submarines contain eight times the firepower expended in all of World War II.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“For example, knowing that it takes only about eleven and a half days for a million seconds to tick away, whereas almost thirty-two years are required for a billion seconds to pass, gives one a better grasp of the relative magnitudes of these two common numbers.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“First, take a deep breath. Assume Shakespeare’s account is accurate and Julius Caesar gasped “You too, Brutus” before breathing his last. What are the chances you just inhaled a molecule which Caesar exhaled in his dying breath? The surprising answer is that, with probability better than 99 percent, you did just inhale such a molecule.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“Inspect every piece of pseudoscience and you will find a security blanket, a thumb to suck, a skirt to hold. What have we to offer in exchange? Uncertainty! Insecurity! – Isaac Asimov”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“A comparably tiny time unit is the amount of time required for light, which travels at 300,000 kilometers per second, to traverse the length of one of the above tiny cubes, whose edges are 10−13 centimeters. Taking the universe to be about 15 billion years old, we determine that fewer than 1042 such time units have passed since the beginning of time. Thus, any computer calculation which requires more than 1042 steps (each of which is certainly going to require more time than our unit of time) requires more time than the present history of this universe. Again, there are many such problems.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“The paradoxical conclusion is that it would be very unlikely for unlikely events not to occur.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“This tendency to personalize is, as we’ll see, a characteristic of many people who suffer from innumeracy. Equally typical is a tendency to equate the risk from some obscure and exotic malady with the chances of suffering from heart and circulatory disease, from which about 12,000 Americans die each week.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“The size of a human cell is to that of a person as a person’s size is to that of Rhode Island. Likewise, a virus is to a person as a person is to the earth; an atom is to a person as a person is to the earth’s orbit around the sun; and a proton is to a person as a person is to the distance to Alpha Centauri.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“Jatkuvasti monimutkaistuvassa, järjettömiä yhteensattumia täynnä olevassa maailmassa ei monissa tilanteissa tarvita yhtään enempää tosiasioita – olemme nytkin jo hukkumassa niihin – vaan tunnettujen tosiasioiden parempaa ymmärtämistä...”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
“The book of Genesis says of the Flood that “… all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered…” Taken literally, this seems to indicate that there were 10,000 to 20,000 feet of water on the surface of the earth, equivalent to more than half a billion cubic miles of liquid! Since, according to biblical accounts, it rained for forty days and forty nights, or for only 960 hours, the rain must have fallen at a rate of at least fifteen feet per hour, certainly enough to sink any aircraft carrier, much less an ark with thousands of animals on board.”
John Allen Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences