Additional Math Pages & Resources

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Why Do I Need To Understand Math?

Kids often share these comments and questions with their teachers and parents:
  • Why do I have to understand math? 
  • I'll never use this! 
  • I have a calculator or spreadsheet so I don't need anything else ... why are you torturing me?
We have several alternative responses
  • Ok fine, you're right, I'll get you out of math class - I never liked math either
  • Hush - do your homework
  • What's the real problem? Have you been unable to grasp this concept?
I prefer to show that math is an integral part of our lives. It's a language that kids need to learn, and neither torture nor an esoteric field of study. Today in the math blog we will look at an example I discovered while reading my newspaper.  Even if you get your news from television or online, you will have seen the same story:

Capsizing of the Costa Concordia

I'm going to work my way through the details of this unfortunate ship running aground, as an example of math adults may need to know. First, the (time/number-filled) map of the incident, then some data from my newspaper:

 Carnival Cruises and the Cruise Industry
  • 2012 estimated industry revenue $30.2 billion
  • Carnival and Royal Caribbean control 74% of the global cruise market
  • Carnival cruises has 101 vessels (now 100 afloat and one on the rocks)
  • Carnival in 2011 had $15.8 billion revenue
  • Carnival in 2011 made $1.9 billion profit (before tax)
  • Carnival in 2011 carried 9.6 million passengers
  • Costa Concordia was 290m long (951.4 feet)
  • The ship was only 300 meters offshore (one boat length)
  • 3800 berths (in one place) and 3800 cabins (in another)
  • 114,500 tonnes (metric tons = 1000 kilos ~ 2240 lbs)
  • 500,000 gallons of fuel onboard, distributed between 17 tanks
  • 17 total decks on the ship, including those not open to passengers

  • Costa Concordia cost €450 million ($575 million or £375 million or ¥44 billion) to build
  • The "collision deductible" is $40 million
  • At least 5 insurance companies cover the vessel, which is expected to be scrapped
  • The loss is expected to be in the range of $600-800 million
  • The liability coverage carried by Carnival is around $3 billion
  • Passenger "association" class action is already asking for €10,000 compensation per passenger
  • 3216 Passengers (maximum capacity is 3780)
  • 1013 crew (maximum capacity is 1068)
Finally, I conclude with another graphic, and a highly-entertaining exchange that I found at an online discussion site. Reader A comments on the graphic, and Reader B comes back with an unnecessarily-sarcastic but highly-amusing jab at Reader A's math illiteracy. This is why you need to study math while in school!