« Black Swans and business planning | Main | Another Sunday, another sport, another race! »



Hi Sigurd,
Calculational dysfunction (or with we might call it) has been spreading for a long time. The reason is simply lack of practice. During the early school years you learn how to add, subtract etc. Then they bring out the calculators so that you can calculate and solve more interesting problems. That is a good idea but what also happens is that you start doing everything on the calculator. It is just human nature I think when we don't have to think it is easier to just do it on the calculator.
I guess it is the downside of tools. By using a tool it is easy to forget how to do it without the tool.
Then to see through the facebook crappy calculation you actually need to think and it is easier just not to. Most people follow the path of the least resistance. I guess it also has to do with the idea that everything math is difficult. Which it is not. Difficult math can be extremely difficult, but the basic is not.


Bjorn, you're spot on there!

What puzzles me most though is more the lack of "reaction" than lack of "calculation". Something must spur the calculation, with or without tools...

Why is there no "automatic" reaction among people? Heck, if we hear a car coming we react, if I hear a mosquito I slap around - and I at least react when the lunch bill for two guys is 80 € when I have already seen the item prices earlier.

But most do not react to figures (and then calculate a bit), and that is scary methinks - so many important decisions are based on such!



Its like spatial awareness - with numbers its the same, some people have a good "feel" for the answer and some people don't. My son is VERY good at maths and has good awareness of the "scale" of the answer to any numeric problem. So if the tool (atm, till, calculator, spreadsheet.... whatever) gives him an answer not "in scale" he will just "know".

My daughter does not. So the calculator just blinds her and the answer is taken "as read" and she cannot just "see" roughly what it might be. Therefore when the tool delivers the wrong answer because of an input error etc she has no way of sense checking it.

The traditional tools that were there before electronics meant that even people like my daughter had to practice getting the scale right and over time it worked. Now its all too easy so people don't question the answer the till, calculator (or newspaper headline!!) gives them.



I agree totally. Not that I'm dissing those who does not have that "built-in" - but what about media who are supposed to do their homework? They do fact-checking, they have good feel for politican's bluffs (?) and they're good at spelling...

They should also have somebody onboard that has the ability of seeing something obviously off-the-charts methinks humbly ;)

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo


  • Phone: +33 6 8887 9944
    Skype: sigurd.rinde
    iChat/AIM: sigrind52

Tweet this

Thingamy sites

  • Main site
  • Concept site

Tittin's blog


Enterprise Irregulars


Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter


    • Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)


    Blog powered by Typepad
    Member since 01/2005