## Thursday, July 17, 2008

### Maths Countdown

Countdown is a programme viewed on Channel Four, and presented by the ITV sport presenter (Des Lynam?!) the last time I checked. Obviously after writing this paragraph I'm going to google "countdown" so I can link it, and will know about the current situation.

.... *googling*

Well here's the link for Countdown, and a new guy is presenting it. They didn't have this name anywhere on the Index page and I can't remember it from before, so I'll leave him nameless for now.

As you have gathered, today has been "one of them days". I am in one of my funny moods and if I was embarrassed easily, I would have locked myself in the attic forever. Well I did get embarrassed because something didn't roll of the tongue nicely, but thankfully no one understand what I was implying so my teeth remained intact.

Is it true that if you drink a lot of Coke/Pepsi, then you can go slightly more crazy? Well this lunch time there was a small do and I do recall drinking a lot of fizzy drink! Surely my behaviour in the last half hour is unrelated to that? (I mean it has been about five hours you see).

Anyway, I digress! Where were we at? Ah, yes, Countdown. The game show I watched after school, but only the part when they did the "maths" (the number bit). My dad and me would have a semi-competition, and neither of us ever won! We would spend too long frantically looking for a pen and paper, and then annoy my mum by holding her responsible if we couldn't find any. That was when I was in primary school, but the numbers ritual of countdown has continued in our house and I still fail at it. (No surprises there, but I'm improving!)

What's this number ritual I talk about? Well you have a set of numbers turned upside down, and you have to choose six. So for example we choose: 3, 7, 9, 8, 8, 25. Now I press a button and the number 369 appears, and you have thirty seconds to make that number with the six ones you chose before. The rule though is, that you have to use it each number once only. (I go into this in "detail" because someone didn't know about it!)

Now I'm useless at the game because I am very poor at mental maths. In secondary schools they have a starter activity where students play countdown at various levels. I feel this activity is very good for mental arithmetic, but I can't help myself and can be found frantically searching for pen and paper! (Alas, there is no mum to hold responsible on this occasion!)

So the point of this post: you should play countdown to help your mental maths. School children enjoy it too because it has some healthy competition to it.

I only ever played it as a student in a further maths lesson in college, and lost on all occasions but the last. That was my moment of glory. I defied the laws of nature and beat my two classmates and the teacher too. Oh that sweet moment will forever remain embedded in my mind. Oh I should shut up now! I'm probably freaking out a lot of readers who didn't start reading my blog from day one... Yes readers, there used to be a lot of these types of posts back in the old days. Please don't sigh too loudly in relief that them days have passed. I can hear your thoughts whenever you read my blog, hence why I have gone into hiding for a couple of days. Actually no. I was abducted by aliens who want me to work and earn money. Well they really want to boss me around and make me feel inferior. They especially enjoy pointing out that "I can't do something" without showing me first! Pftt.

And by the way, I can go on like this forever. This is what you will see when I am on a Galois Group Wednesday. This is me when I am excited and enthusiastic about something and FINE I confess: I've been working on TGG and that could perhaps explain this inane babble and energy.

*makes tardis sounds so everyone gets fooled and believes that I'm going*

PS: Can you believe this (don't comment by the way!): one meaningful paragraph and many others that aren't!