Saturday, April 4, 2015

D is for . . .

Here is today's Mad-Cool-Math Nugget:

They are unisex
Image courtesy: Libby

In case the image is too small, this reads: Toilets--Please don't worry if you see someone of the opposite sex in here--They are unisex.

Um, yeah. Okay.

D is for Deliberate Ambiguities

John Allen Paulos, writer and Temple University Math Professor, wrote about deliberate ambiguities in his book, A Mathematician Reads The Newspaper. The following dubious recommendation is a oft-quoted excerpt:

You write to ask me for my opinion of X, who has applied for a position in your department. I cannot recommend him too highly nor say enough good things about him. There is no other student of mine with whom I can adequately compare him. His thesis is the sort of work you don't expect to see nowadays and in it he has clearly demonstrated his complete capabilities. The amount of material he knows will surprise you. You will indeed be fortunate if you can get him to work for you.

If you find this hilarious, you might be more mathy than you think. And if you're ever stuck reviewing a book you absolutely hate, perhaps some deliberate ambiguities will save your butt.


  1. I'm obviously not mathy because I don't get it. HAHA!

  2. I'm obviously not mathy because I don't get it. HAHA!

  3. I do find this hilarious, but then, I'm fairly mathy. Great post!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

  4. I kind of get it...the mysterious Mr. X, kind of hard to pin down.

  5. In some dim past I was mathy too :)


  6. Oh my, I'm going to send a link to this blog to my hubby, who is a math major right now in school! Don't know how I missed this the last few days, but I'm here now and will return! Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @

  7. Oh, I use deliberate ambiguities in book reviews all the time. There are a bunch of tricks I have to say things about a story I didn't like, without actually saying anything negative. It's part of the fun of being a reviewer.

    <a href="“>N J Magas, author</a>

  8. I'm stopping by from A to Z. This made me laugh, and I'm definitely not mathy! My A to Z blog is

  9. Wow! Tamara - I love this - so very funny and I do think about this type of thing all the time. Am I more mathematical than I think? Or is that another one...? The last line is the best - so slippery!

  10. Can I admit, that I read the deception the first time, then laughed when I went back and read it again. Brilliant.

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