Monday, July 29, 2013

Of Monsters and Math

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

That's why these Little Talks are done in private.

I wouldn't call this one semi-autobiographical at all. Definitely not semi-.
Moving on toward comic #800.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

In Excess

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

I'm ready to be their 'New Sensation'.

Actually, I've been looking up 'in excess' references pretty much since I got my notice of being 'in excess'.

To be honest, I only know a few of their songs, and until I looked them up, I only remembered one off the top of my head that they performed. So I was a little hesitant about a comic reflecting my current state when I wasn't sure if the song titles would both fit into the conversation and stand out as the song titles.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Clean-Up Day

I finished a spreadsheet cataloging all 797 official comics that I've done so far. The first thing that I noticed: I had 798 of them. That's because of last year's Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day sketch and the follow-up comic. On the blog, I updated the same entry. On the comics-only side, they were two separate entries, which were supposed to have been merged months ago. I never got around to doing that.

I'm attempting it now. Both files now share the same date, and the text files have been corrected. The files for the following day have been deleted. I'm running a full update, so we'll see if I did it correctly soon enough.

I also noticed that a couple of the 0'Factor strips were misnumbered. The reason for that was simple enough: I work on multiple computers (plus I recently bought a new one) and images were scattered in different locations. When I'd checked for the most recent, I had the wrong iteration.

If there are any more mistakes on either site, please let me know.

There are two more that I am aware of which I haven't tackled yet. First, the logic table from the "IF" poem is incorrect and the blog makes it painfully clear what is wrong and why it won't be corrected. The comics-only side is missing this message. Second, I bungled the "Yes Secant" image when I decided to expand it so it would look more like a secant graph. I messed up the rest of the graph. The blog has the corrected image, but the other site does not. I have to locate the correct image and upload it with the proper filename, and I should probably make a mention of the correct in the notes file that appears below the comic.

As for the spreadsheet, I can only hope that I can keep it updated, and if I do, I can use it to write a javascript or perl script on the Archive page, which doesn't feature any comics past 600.

It's been productive.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cube Farm

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

These cubes have no doors on them because, as someone who worked in one for too long, there never seems to be a way out any way.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The 0'Factor, episode 15

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

When you confuse absolute value of zero with absolute zero, Algebra can leave you cold.

Update:Title changed to episode 15 URL cannot be changed.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Never Again

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

Warning: Sexist Math alert -- if she had the right curves, then all bets are off.

EDIT: Added a "Taylor Swift" tag because way back when as I did this, I never imagined that I'd have a "Taylor Swift" tag. She has a lot of hits that I can mathematize.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sound Bite

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
Thanks for stopping by. Leave a comment. Let me know how you found the site, and whether you liked the comic.

(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

Argue with an English teacher at your own peril. Ditto for arguing with the woman on your arm.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Signal to Noise

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

There are people who rarely tweet/post/etc, so I sometimes don't see what they have to say. There are others that are constantly talking ... but rarely about the reason I know who they are.

I don't mind people "keeping it real". In fact, I prefer it. You get to see some of the more human aspect of a person, and you get to know them a little more instead of their work. That said, I don't need you to fill my inbox, my screen, my page or what-have-you with a million posts, repost, and dopey remarks. And as I pointed out here, not everyone in your audience agrees with you on everything -- especially politics -- so you might want to think about keeping your distance from "hot button" issues if you don't want to lose your fans.

"Yeah, well, I don't want fans who believe that ... blah blah blah..." Don't worry, you won't have them. And they won't tell other people about you. Etc.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Happy Fourth of July 2013!

(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

Before you answer, shoo the fly away. Some rounded errors may have occurred.

This comic was going to have a grandfather/grandson thing going on to add a lighter, more humorous touch. But then I realized that it didn't need it. So it's a straight math problem, silly as it is, without the usual silly twist.

For the record, the actual ratio of the width to length of the U.S. Flag should be 1:1.9, not 13:25 as presented in the problem. That just made life a little easier. Sorry, my students' aversion to all things fractional (or decimal-equivalent) may be rubbing off on me.

And I'd like to add that the photo of the fireworks in the background was shot by yours truly. So it's used by permission of the owner (myself) and is NOT in the public domain.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013


(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

Maybe the cafe is owned by a retired Air Force general who believes Every Man a Tiger.

Or maybe it's just some New Age thing that I don't understand yet ...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

If a Chicken + a Half Can Lay an Egg + a Half in a Day + a Half, How do You Find a Unit Rate?

This is the article I submitted to, which they solicited from me before going in a different direction, editorially. I've decided to start posting the ideas for future pieces on this website, until I can collect them and find a home for them somewhere at Mr. Burke (I'm paying for that site. I might as well use it.)

They didn't give me a lot to go on, other than to explain a problem, have a hook, make it entertaining and resolve the problem in the summary. I'm not entirely happy with the summary, but then it was a total rewrite of the original. As these things work out, the final draft contains about half the material of the first draft, and the focus shifted a bit (as well as narrowed a bit).


If a Chicken and a Half Can Lay an Egg and a Half in a Day and a Half, How Do You Find a Unit Rate?
By Christopher J. Burke

An old mathematical riddle asks, “If a chicken and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half, then how long does it take six chickens to lay six eggs?” The expected response is “six days”. However, the correct answer is “a day and a half” because of the concept of “unit rate”.

Let’s define a few terms: In math, a ratio is a comparison of two numbers, such as “½” or “3:1”. A rate is a comparison of two numbers with different units, such as “$.79 for 2 oranges” or “100 calories per 8-oz. serving”. A unit rate is when the second number being compared is 1, such as 50 words per (1) minute or $12 per (1) ticket. You can find the unit rate by dividing two numbers: $.39½ per orange or 12.5 calories per ounce. (On a store shelf, it’s referred to as a “unit price”.)

A car’s rate of speed is measured in “miles per hour”. Its gas mileage rate is measured in “miles per gallon”. Each of these is a unit rate. They are useful measurements because cars rarely travel for exactly one mile or one hour, using exactly one gallon of gas. They allow for comparisons and calculations. Multiply “miles per hour” by hours, and you get the number of miles traveled. Divide the number of miles by “miles per gallon”, and you get the amount of gas used.

Dave’s car gets 20 miles per gallon. He drives at a rate of 50 mph for 3-½ hours. The distance he drove is (50 mph) X (3.5 hours) = 175 miles. The amount of gas he used is (175 miles) / (20 miles per gallon) = 8.75 gallons.

Fred travelled 330 miles in 6 hours and used 15 gallons of gas. His average rate of speed was (330 miles) / (6 hours) = 55 mph. His car’s gas mileage rate was (330 miles) / (15 gallons) = 22 mpg.

Returning to the original problem, the riddle gives three values to work with, which is one more than is required to find a rate. In other words, when making a comparison, one of these numbers will not be needed. You could compare chickens and eggs, chickens and days, or eggs and days. Could all three be compared? Yes, but it gets trickier. Put aside the fact that only in mathematics can half a chicken lay half an egg. Once we accept that a chicken and a half laid an egg and a half, we can see that, in the allotted time, each chicken is laying one egg. This is because (1.5) / (1.5) = 1.

This means that for the amount of time given, two chickens would lay two eggs, three chickens would lay three eggs, four chickens would lay four eggs, and so on. The time that it took each chicken to lay an egg doesn’t change. It doesn’t take six chickens longer to lay their eggs than two chickens. So the rate is one egg per chicken in a day and a half.

So given two values, such as distance and time, you can find a unit rate by dividing. Given a unit rate, you can calculate larger values, like distance or cost, by multiplying.

* * * * *

Comments are welcome. If you'd like to see more of this, please, say so. If you'd like to see less of this, type in the words, "For the love of [Insert Deity], please, STOP!" Or something.

Monday, July 01, 2013


(Click on the cartoon to see the full image.)
(C)Copyright 2013, C. Burke.

It's not easy being the fair one.

Public Service Advisory: Use sunscreen. As the person with the fairest skin in my family (except possibly my son), I'm also the least likely to get burned because I take precautions. I got my once-in-a-lifetime burn as a kid. You can only get it once in a lifetime because, as my pediatrician informed me with my mother right there, "Next time, you won't be so stupid." (And then he stuck me with a needle for good measure.)

And drink pretty of fluids.