Ethiopian Math

Halved or Doubled - the answer is always right!

Ethiopian tribesmen can only double or halve numbers - by using pebbles as counters. By halving and doubling, they take any two numbers, multiply them and come out with the right answer.

For example, if a tribesman wants to buy 13 sheep at 15 Ethiopian dollars each, here's how he works it out...

Put 13 in a left column, and 15 in a right column. Halve the left figure - you get 6 1/2... ignore the 1/2 (Ethiopians don't know anything about fractions). Double the right-hand figure. Keep this up until the left-hand figure is 1. You should now have:

     13     15
      6      30
      3      60
      1    120

Even numbers in the left column are evil to the superstitious tribesmen, and must be destroyed - together with their guilty partners. So scratch out 6 and its partner 30. Now add the right-hand column and you have the correct answer: 195. Try this with any two numbers - it doesn't matter which side is halved or doubled - the answer is always right! The Ethiopian's primitive mind simply cannot grasp how our system works. Of course you see at once how this joe-k works... Or do you?

Mathematics has beauties of its own. - J.W.A. Young

Revolutions never occur in mathematics. - Michael Crowe

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I go to school the youth to learn the future. - Robert Frost

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Pure mathematics, may it never be of any use to anyone. - Henry Smith

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Dear Math: I'm not a therapist. Solve your own problems. - Unknown

Cauliflower is nothing but cabbage with a college education. - Mark Twain

A college education shows a man how little other people know. - T.C. Hailburton

"Obvious" is the most dangerous word in mathematics. - Eric T. Bell

If a man's wit be wandering, let him study the mathematics. - Francis Bacon

Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. - Edmund Burke

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In mathematics, you don't understand things. You just get used to them. - John von Neumann

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Life is good for only two things: discovering mathematics and teaching mathematics. - Simeon Poisson

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The college graduate is presented with a sheepskin to cover his intellectual nakedness. - Robert M. Hutchins

I like to crack the jokes now and again, but it's only because I struggle with math. - Tina Fey

Show me a Jewish boy who doesn't go to medical school and I'll show you a lawyer. - Milton Berle

Mathematics is the cheapest science. All one needs for mathematics is a pencil and a paper. - George Polya

There are 3 kinds of people in this world: those who are good at math, and those who aren't. - Unknown

It's not uncommon to see kids on the school bus reading books and doing homework on the bus. - Anthony Amero

If I feel unhappy, I do mathematics to become happy. If I am happy, I do mathematics to keep happy. - Alfred Renyi

I must study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. - John Adams

I had a feeling once about mathematics – that I saw it all... but it was after dinner and I let it go. - Winston Churchill

Mathematics is distinguished from all other sciences except only ethics, in standing in no need of ethics. - Charles Peirce

Smartness runs in my family. When I went to school I was so smart my teacher was in my class for five years. - George Burns

The most painful thing about mathematics is how far away you are from being able to use it after you have learned it. - James Newman

There are advantages to being President. The day after I was elected, I had my high school grades classified Top Secret. - Ronald Reagan

Understand the key factors in the math behind viral marketing, and use those to figure out what it takes to get viral growth. - David Skok

It is the studying you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows. - Henry L. Doherty

I think sleeping was my problem in school. If school had started at four in the afternoon, I'd be a college graduate today. - George Foreman

Mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. - Rene Descartes

Doctors are saying that each piece of bacon you eat takes 9 minutes off of your life. Based on that math, I should have died in 1732. - Unknown

My son really has the spirit of Valentine's Day. When he was in college, he used to send his mother a heart-shaped box of laundry. - Milton Berle

When I finished school, I took one of those career-aptitude tests, and based on my verbal ability score, they suggested I become a mime. - Tim Cavanagh

Mathematics is not a careful march down a well-cleared highway, but a journey into a strange wilderness where the explorers often get lost. - W.S. Anglin

I tell them that if they will occupy themselves with the study of mathematics they will find it the best remedy against the lusts of the flesh. - Thomas Mann

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