Kindle Jason Brown À À Our Days Are Numbered PDF/EPUB Å Our Days PDF \

A revealing and entertaining look at the world as viewed through mathematical eyeglassesFrom the moment our feet touch the floor in the morning until our head hits the pillow numbers are everywhere And yet most of us go through each day unaware of the mathematics that shapes our livesIn fact many people go through life fearing and avoiding mathematics making choices that keep it at arm’s length or further Even basic math — like arithmetic — can seem bafflingIn Our Days Are Numbered Jason Brown leads the reader through a typical day on a fascinating journey He shows us the world through a mathematician's eyes and reveals the huge role that mathematics plays in our lives It lies hidden within the electronics we use the banking we do and even the leisure activities we enjoy Whether we’re putting a down payment on a new car reading the financial pages or listening to our favourite songs math is behind it allAt once entertaining and informative Our Days Are Numbered covers an array of mathematic concepts and explores the hidden links between mathematics and everyday life Brown reveals that a basic understanding of math can make us creative in the way we approach the world

10 thoughts on “Our Days Are Numbered

  1. says:

    I read math books for fun I realize that right away this puts me in an unusual portion of the population It’s not just my fancy math degree that makes these books attractive However I do think that there are some math books written for people interested in math whether professionally or amateurly and then there are math books written for people who usually thanks to a bad experience in school have sworn off math like they said they would swear off cheap booze Our Days Are Numbered is one of the latter In a passionate and personal exploration of shape algebra geometry and number Jason I Brown illuminates the fundamental mathematics behind some everyday tasks While some people will still run away screaming others will hopefully begin to see math in a new wayAmong the topics Brown explores are converting between units using graphs to display data the meaning behind averages the role of chance in decision making networks and coincidences prime numbers in cryptography fractals in art and the math behind the mystery of the Beatles’ Chord Each chapter is bookended by a short two or three paragraph anecdote related to its given topic For the main body of the chapter Brown gradually develops some of the math behind common tasks For example he shows how an understanding of ratio and conversion factors makes converting between units a breeze without any memorization aside from the factor itself of course Later he explains why the Web and social networking has guaranteed that graph theory will remain a practical and important field of math for a long timeThis is not really my kind of math book and that isn’t even because of the audience or the way Brown presents the math Rather I read math books for the story I’m interested in math books that take a specific topic and explore its history its present state and the different ways to interpret it using mathematics Our Days Are Numbered instead covers a variety of topics There isn’t anything wrong with this approach However each of these topics can be and has been the subject of entire weighty tombs It’s difficult for Brown to do them justice Sometimes such as with the chapter on conversion factors he does a very thorough job Other times such as with his explanation of prime numbers and Internet security he leaves something to be desiredAlso much of one’s enjoyment will hinge on how one much one likes or dislikes Brown’s writing style As the chapter titles and subheadings demonstrate he is a man of corny humour easy puns and deprecating remarks towards himself and fellow mathematicians I can get behind the first and third attribute and I can ignore the second Although I think a book any longer might have begun pushing its luck as it is I enjoyed Brown’s conversational and easygoing style Others will find it overbearing and intrusive however and there is no escape from it hereSo Our Days Are Numbered isn’t my mathematical cup of tea but could it be anyone’s? Well one way in which this book excels is Brown’s unrelenting insistence that math is useful relevant and not at all scary As a math enthusiast and math teacher the opposites of these sentiments besiege me constantly I love how Brown comments on the somewhat unique reception math receives at partiesWhen I tell people what I do for a living the most common response is a look of dismay followed by “I always hated mathematics” This statement is made with relish and without a hint of embarrassment I don’t think there is another profession out there that gets the same response Do people state they’ve always hated English? Music? Lawn care? I think notTongue in cheek Brown touches on a very crucial and deplorable fact hating math is socially acceptable It’s cool to disparage math and one’s ability to do math To some extent the aura of nerdery surrounds all of the STEM fields but scientists and engineers get a little recognition—people’s eyes might glaze over if one announces oneself as a theoretical physicist but there is a little gleam of gruding respect Mathematicians however what do they even do?The social acceptability of disparaging mathematics troubles me Math is the foundation of the other three STEM fields Science technlogy and engineering are all fields that require creative passionate thinkers Yet from an early age we send children signals that math is a dull uncreative subject and it’s OK to hate it for being boring and irrelevant This is nothing short of educational sabotage It’s certainly fine for people not to like math and I understand how parts of the educational system foster that feeling But we should do everything we can to avoid reinforcing that notion especially among our childrenHence the power of this book Brown takes it as a given that math is a useful powerful tool in the everyday world He isn’t out to convert everyone to a science or engineering job He isn’t trying to shoehorn calculus into a discussion of changing a car tire As a teacher the incessant call to include real world applications and contexts in my lessons wearies me at times He is careful not to insist that everyone uses or needs all of this math all the time—you don’t need to know how to use prime numbers in order to keep your online banking secure But isn’t it nice to know why it is secure?Brown’s non evangelical stance is refreshing though it can also be a little frustrating Our Days Are Numbered lacks a true cohesive message aside from the idea in the title With no introduction and no conclusion Brown relies on the title and the chapters to come together to create that singular idea While not essential some kind of introduction or meta narrative would lend additional structure to this otherwise scattered textWith brilliant mathematics hardcore mystery solving and no small amount of humour Our Days Are Numbered is a well written and very successful math book It isn’t anywhere close to my Platonic ideal of what a math book should be—but that’s me being picky Nor do I think in the long run that people convinced math is uninteresting or “not for me” will find their convictions toppled by anything in here But for anyone who is open to learning about the role of math in everyday life there is definitely something here waiting to be read

  2. says:

    usual math topics

  3. says:

    I thought the book was interesting and fun This book is geared toward people who might not like math it reminded me of my math teachers who were excited about math just like this author I agree with the author when he states it is a shame that not all of us are taught by enthusiastic math teachers who love the topicWhat I found most interesting was how math is used in marketing they know what you might want to buy at what price point and send you individualized coupons show you different pricing on I bet

  4. says:

    Truthfully I am a mathematically challenged and read this book because I thought it would be broadening to read something completely different to what I usually choose I found some explanations too lengthy and some I simply found uninteresting and skimmed through But there was some interesting stuff in here especially the discussions of music I'm glad I read it even though I didn't understand much of it

  5. says:

    I found this book sorta boring so dropped it after a couple of chapters He started out by explaining how people use math a lot in their everyday lives such as calculating tax or tips when buying something or while at a restaurant or while measuring things for recipes I already know how to do these things as do most people so wasn't that excited by having it explained to me in detail Maybe the rest of the book is interesting but I wasn't sticking around to find out

  6. says:

    An interesting look at topics that a pre calculus student would be familiar with Well written in language accessible to all

  7. says:

    Great book Too bad I didn't know these things when I was taking math classes in school I might have not hated it so much I learned some techniques that I hope to use