Tuesday, January 23, 2007

He Will Eat You if You are Wrong

To levitate my mini-parade of downer posts today, here's some Mathman on YouTube. Mathman was a Pac-Man parody on Square One Television, a mathematics-themed children's variety show that we watched on public TV when we were kids. Mathman runs around a maze in a helmet swallowing answers to math problems; when he eats a wrong one he's pursued and then disintegrated by a grumbly, sentient tornado named Mr. Glitch. Here Mathman takes on the subjects of decimal numbers, modular arithmetic, and general pro-math propaganda.

Mathman's primary influence on my adult life is his tendency to repeat his name over and over along with the particular problem type at hand, which occassionally co-opts my stream of consciousness when I'm walking around gridlike environments such as grocery stores ("Mathman, Mathman, plain nonfat yogurt, Mathman...") It would be nice to say I learned some math from it too, but to be honest I was pretty good at math before I started watching the show and Mathman's habit of impulsively swallowing wrong answers without talking through his reasoning kind of cuts the educational value. (Why would he think 0.51 is less than 0.5? Was he just hungry?) Valuable educational tool or not, it's still pretty awesome. Too smart!


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