Here’s How Little Math Americans Actually Use at Work

David Megginson April 25, 2013 06:17

I believe you about blue-collar workers.  Anyone in construction needs to do a lot more number crunching than your typical cubical slave, and the consequences of being wrong are bigger (you can’t recut $1,000 of material to make it longer again).

Michael K Johnson April 25, 2013 06:53

My maternal grandfather graduated from eighth grade and headed off into the workforce as a practical mechanic. He ended up running his own heating business (not a lot of call for air conditioning in Duluth, Minnesota) where among other things he built lots of ductwork both for refit and new construction. He did all the three-dimensional layout mentally and built all his ductwork custom from flat sheet metal. Naturally, he was very good at geometry and trig and didn’t have to write much down in the process of using it. He didn’t end up with much scrap, either…

Michael Tiemann April 25, 2013 07:23

Here’s an example where carpenters needed to be able to solve simultaneous equations for three variables (with solution written out):

Michael K Johnson April 25, 2013 08:43

+Michael Tiemann Since that post is about math: what does “within zero eighths of an inch” mean? How is it different from zero trillionths of an inch? :-)

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