verizon flubs on math

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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2006-12-09 11:00:46

i try not quote stuff that's already been slashdotted, nor link to youtube, but after listening to this guy go on and on with the stupid verizon reps, i couldn't help it. dollars and cents. the gist of it is that a guy was quoted a rate of .002 cents/kb, and he ended up getting charged .002 dollars/kb. the service reps (all 4 or 5 of them) could not distinguish the difference between the two. this led to a frustrating 22-minute phone call (linked above) in which nothing was resolved, except to establish that verizon's service reps are incapable of doing basic math. it's quite amusing in a i-want-to-pound-my-head-against-a-wall kind of way, and i gotta say i would never have had the patience to do that for 22 minutes. i probably would have asked for the accounting department about .22 minutes into the call.

this incident brings up a whole range of questions. why are they unable to do basic math? how do you argue against stupid people who insist they are right? the service reps kept pulling out their calculator, punching in the right numbers, interpreting the answers incorrectly, and asserting they were right. is this technology's fault? should we make calculators with built-in support for units? (google knows the correct answer). thankfully, the situation will also be resolved by technology (blog, youtube, and slashdot).

the answer to the first question is pretty obvious: the education system is.. well, lacking, to put it mildly. there's actually a parallel between this situation and the evolution vs. creationism debate. for the record, while i think creationism is incorrect scientifically, i do not think it should be banned from schools. i don't think it should be taught as a science, but i do think that students should know what it is and be allowed to decide for themselves what they believe in. not teaching creationist theory is like.. wait for it.. not teaching math! for anybody who argues with this: the only difference between the two is that you (probably) believe math is factually correct, but creationism is factually incorrect. and that may be the case, but it also may not be. and regardless of whether or not it is the case, it's not a reason for censorship.

Posted by rohan at 2006-12-09 13:15:10
they need to get math teachers in schools who actually know math themselves. i am reminded of certain idiots in ISM (not mrs belen!) who did things like removing the "^2" from the integral int(e^(t^2) 2t dt) on a test question because he thought it would make the question "easier" for the students.
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Posted by varun at 2006-12-09 23:17:28
Who did that?!
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Posted by rohan at 2006-12-10 13:11:00
I don't remember... one of those idiot math teachers in high school who were highered while we were there. who was the one doing Iasas math after mrs garcia? I think it was him.
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Posted by varun at 2006-12-10 14:45:21
hired, you mean? :)

That would be Stephan something.
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Posted by rohan at 2006-12-11 08:29:40
yes. the guy whose desk was right in front of the door to the math office. by the wall on the left.
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