Let me first share the other comic strips from last week which mentioned mathematics, but in a casual way.
Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman’s Zits for the 14th used the phrase “do the math”, and snarked on the younger generation doing mathematics. This was as part of the longrunning comic’s attempt to retcon the parents from being Baby Boomers to being Generation X. Scott and Borgman can do as they like but, I mean, their kids are named Chad and Jeremy. That’s only tenable if they’re Boomers. (I’m not sure Chad has returned from college in the past ten years.) And even then it was marginal.
John Kovaleski’s Bo Nanas rerun for the 14th is a joke about the probability of birthdays.
Zach Weinersmith’s Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal for the 14th features “the Bertrand Russell Drinking Game”, playing on the famous paradox about self-referential statements of logic.
Stephan Pastis’s Pearls Before Swine for the 17th has Rat use a bunch of mathematical jargon to give his declarations authority.
Cy Olson’s Office Hours for the 18th, rerunning a strip from the 9th of November, 1971, is in the line of jokes about parents not understanding their children’s arithmetic. It doesn’t seem to depend on mocking the New Math, which is a slight surprise for a 1971 comic.
So Mark Anderson’s Andertoons for the 12th is the only comic strip of some substance that I noticed last week. You see what a slender month it’s been. It does showcase the unsettling nature of seeing notations for similar things mixed. It’s not that there’s anything which doesn’t parse about having decimals in the numerator or denominator. It just looks weird. And that can be enough to throw someone out of a problem. They might mistake the problem for one that doesn’t have a coherent meaning. Or they might mistake it for one too complicated to do. Learning to not be afraid of a problem that looks complicated is worth doing. As is learning how to tell whether a problem parses at all, even if it looks weird.
And that’s an end to last week in comics. I plan to have a fresh Reading the Comics post on Sunday. Thank you for reading in the meanwhile.