John Stirling Stout's Blog

Posted in Uncategorized by johnstirlingstout on June 3, 2009

There’s a joke going the rounds about the way maths has ‘dumbed down’ over time, starting at

1. Teaching Maths In 1970

A logger sells a lorry load of timber for £1000.
His cost of production is 4/5 of the selling price.
What is his profit?

and going up to

5. Teaching Maths In 2008

A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is totally selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands.
He does this so he can make a profit of £200. What do you think of this way of making a living?
Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.
If you are upset about the plight of the animals in question counselling will be available)

Unfortunately the version that seems to be going around at the moment has added a 6th for 2018, which consists of the Arabic translation of some, or all of the first part of the joke. It’s not clear what the intent is: a suggestion that the oil rich nations are able to buy up the UK? but what I find very worrying is that if you paste the Arabic into Google and do a search for it, the third link is for the British National Party (and I’m fairly certain I know what their intent is!)

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