The Numbers Don’t Lie (Except When They Do)

They say the numbers don’t lie, but there are all kinds of ways to distort the truth using numbers that might even be technically correct.  Read More The Numbers Don’t Lie (Except When They Do)

Where Did My Overtime and Bonus Go?

One of the best parts of being an hourly rather than salaried employee is the opportunity for overtime, but sometimes you work more hours and bring home a smaller paycheck. And then there are the eagerly awaited bonuses that have such an unexpectedly huge chunk of taxes taken out that your plans for the windfall fly right out the window. What happened? (You know, aside from the cursing and throwing things in a fit of pique.) Read More Where Did My Overtime and Bonus Go?

Fibonacci Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

The Fibonacci sequence is probably something you learned about in math class at some point, but I never realized until well after school just how freaking cool it is. Ready to get your mind blown? Read More Fibonacci Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number

Who Really Pays Taxes? Let’s Do the Math!

(Written with assistance from my husband the CPA)

I’m sure you’ve all heard that our income taxes are “unfair” because the top 1% pays 40% of the taxes in this country and that half of us pay nothing at all. People espousing this view are quick to jump to doomsday scenarios and paranoid rambling. The Heritage Foundation thinks our very democracy is at risk because those darn poor people get to vote. The Daily Mail engaged in a bit of hand-wringing over potential “resentment” from people who do pay taxes, even as pointing out that the group who isn’t taxed includes kids, retirees, and other people who don’t work. Darn freeloading babies, old people, and stay-at-home moms! But are the numbers even accurate? Let’s take a look. Read More Who Really Pays Taxes? Let’s Do the Math!

Holiday Math: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Let’s face it, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is some 1% bullshit. Do you have any idea how much it costs to buy all that stuff? Well, the wonderful nerds at PNC bank figure it out every year, and this year’s grand total is $101,119.84, a new record. Damn. Of course, part of this is due to just how many gifts are involved. Remember, it’s not like you just get a partridge in a pear tree on day one; nope, you’re getting a dozen. I hope you have a big yard! By the time Epiphany rolls around on January 6*, your haul actually consists of: Read More Holiday Math: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Women in Math: Where are the Awards?

As a follow-up to my series on women who have been Nobel Laureates in the sciences, I thought I’d write about women who have won prestigious prizes in mathematics (there is no Nobel Prize for math). The only problem is, it took me a while to find any. Fortunately, in recent years several groups have made strides to specifically reward women’s contributions to math since they have been largely overlooked by the more established awards. Read More Women in Math: Where are the Awards?

Everyday Math: Ladies, Tip Your Waiters

We’ve all been there – the check arrives, it’s time to figure out the tip, and all of a sudden you can’t remember any of the math you learned in high school. No worries! You don’t need to whip out the calculator on your cell phone to make sure the waitstaff get what they deserve. Here are a few sneaky tricks to figure it out in your head, without having to multiply by any decimals! Read More Everyday Math: Ladies, Tip Your Waiters