The Mathematics Head

 In elementary school, we successfully added (1+1) and found it’s not (11). We just did not know how far this train would take us, and now we are here. Day-to-day situations call for mathematics in us. Yes, we have computers but we just cannot rely on them every other time to calculate fare charges and balances, though we should.

Knowing how to calculate huge values is a trick for the intelligent, which I do not claim to be part of. However, there are numbers that pop up every day in our lives and we just need an accurate number as fast as possible. Well, the calculator app is more often than not secured with passwords and patterns, we cannot rely on such inconvenience.

The first example is basic multiplication, (what is 300 x 300?). Everyone quite knows the trick for this type, and if you don’t, I will share it here. (300 x 300) is equal to (3 x 3 x 10,000). Step one is to count the zeros while removing them. From there, multiply the remaining numbers and then place the zeros at the end. That’s quite basic!

Next, addition is quite a simple field and more likely than not, everyone’s starting point in the mathematics world. Despite this, numbers are there to make life hard, so in a blink, (what is 13 + 17?) That was an easy one just because you have mastered these numbers. But how efficient were you when you calculated the figures? The most inefficient way of doing this is (taking the 13) and then (counting 17 times) to reach the answer. Improve this efficiency by (starting with 17.) Just don’t stop there, I will show you how.

(13 + 17) can be simplified further to improve efficiency and reduce the margin for making errors. Split the figure into simpler numbers (10 + [3 + 7] + 10). This makes it easier to know where the real computation is. Then simplify the part that is likely to generate an error, (i.e. [3 + 7] first). This will result in a single figure that can easily be computed with the other values. Using that, (try 39 + 46). It’s cool, right? (What of 347 + 512?)

Now let’s do some subtraction. The painful part of subtraction is generating negative values which if computed by our erroneous brains, more often than not, are prone to errors. Let’s picture (a typical case, 43 – 19). This is one for computers, but does it have to be? Try splitting the number on the right and we will have a much (more readable figure, 43 – 10 – 9). Then start by removing the (immediate 10) as it is easily manageable.

Then, we find that we have another (computation to do, 33 – 9). Still a computation that may get you guessing but hold on. We have a (a number that is less than 10). We can approach this in two ways. The first way is by rounding it up. Please, we are not rounding it off. This will give us a (perfect 10 with a variance of -1). Now (less the 10 and deal with the variance). The other way is (splitting it further, 33 – 3 – 6). Split it to ensure you prevent the first subtraction from giving you a non-perfect value. The rest we can write an essay about it.

Lastly, advanced multiplication occurs more frequently than not. (What is 84 x 5?) Someone may choose to use a computer for this, but I will show you how you can do it in your head and appear a genius, well, not in front of other geniuses. Using the splitting technique, we can do two multiplications and provide a correct answer. First, (compute 80 x 5.) If this is fairly hard, use the zero’s technique from above. We will get a new computation, much simpler (i.e. 4 x 5.) Now add the two and give the answer. For the case I am explaining here, an answer is not needed. Your response should be “I know what you are talking about!”

In my defense, these methods are not always the fastest. There are some pretty much intelligent people who can do it (521472.01019 / 210.158). Sadly, we use computers for these and even if I knew how to do it, I wouldn’t peg a profession on it. Try whale watching, idle people call it a career too.

Folks, division is a field by itself and I am pretty tired. That’s all for now.


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