# WOMA "Humour in Mathematics" Page

If you have a favourite mathematical joke or anecdote, send it along (e-mail).

## HISTORY OF MATHEMATICS TEACHING

1950: A logger sells a truckload of lumber for \$100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

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?

1970: A logger exchanges a set "L" of lumber for a set "M" of money. The cardinality of set "M" is 100. Each element is worth one dollar. Make 100 dots representing the elements of the set "M". The set "C", the cost of production contains 20 fewer points than set "M". Represent the set "C" as a subset of set "M" and answer the following question: What is the cardinality of the set "P" of profits?

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.

1990: By cutting down beautiful forest trees, the logger makes \$20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question? How did the forest birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down the trees? There are no wrong answers.

1996: By laying off 402 of its loggers, a company improves its stock price from \$80 to \$100. How much capital gain per share does the CEO make by exercising his stock options at \$80. Assume capital gains are no longer taxed, because this encourages investment.

1997: A company outsources all of its loggers. They save on benefits and when demand for their product is down the logging work force can easily be cut back. The average logger employed by the company earned \$50,000, had 3 weeks vacation, received a nice retirement plan and medical insurance. The contracted logger charges \$50 an hour. Was outsourcing a good move?

1997b: A logging company exports its wood-finishing jobs to its Indonesian subsidiary and lays off the corresponding half of its Canadian workers (the higher-paid half). It clear-cuts 95% of the forest, leaving the rest for the spotted owl, and lays off all its remaining Canadian workers. It tells the workers that the spotted owl is responsible for the absence of loggable trees and lobbies Parliament for exemption from the Endangered Species Act. Parliament instead exempts the company from all federal regulation. What is the return on investment of the lobbying costs?

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