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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Where People Know Your Name
Many of you have asked me “Doctor Bean, what are you doing now that I hardly ever see you in the Coffeehouse?” Well, actually none of you have asked, but I’m going to answer anyway just to move this clunky post forward, OK? Thanks.

Here are some of the things occupying my time.

I’m writing a science fiction short story. It’s fairly bad. If you’re unlucky, I’ll post it in the archives and put a link to it when I’m done. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

I’m doing some recreational math. If you’re unlucky, I may post a math puzzle in the next week or so. There’s a very simple equation I’ve been playing with that generates a very complicated graph. I know how much that turns you all on.

Finally, I’m actually working on, well, work. Construction is more-or-less done on the website for my medical practice, and I’m doing some medical news blogging there under my real name. Some of our readers know my true identity. Those who do can check out my site at www.[my first name][my last name].com. Obviously, refrain from leaving comments here that would give clues about my identity. If my patients ever discover what a crazy right-winger I am, Ralphie will have to feed and clothe my children.
I can't say I ever know that "recreational math" existed either as a concept or an activity. I am now sad.
Exactly. Now you see what I have had to put up with all these years!
My eldest child got a massively recessive 'brain' gene, and LIVES for math as , yes, a recreation. When we go to the library or book store, he makes a bee-line straight for the math section. He is not quite 8 years old, and recently told my husband "I just love math it's so much fun." He asks his general studies teacher for extra math worksheets to bring home over the weekend for FUN. Now, you have to understand that both myself and my husband are, um, math-challenged, shall we say. I have no idea where my son gets it, but it ain't from us! He would probably enjoy your math puzzle. He'll probably be doing our taxes in a few years.
My oldest, now 10 1/2, was involved last year in an "extracurricular/lunchtime" math program (Math-by-Mail)that's run through the Weizmann Institute of Israel --

It was fun, and then FRUSTRATING for him when he couldn't figure out answers...but it did work his brain.

Dr. Bean, I'm guessing that you could help design this program...in your SPARE time.

I'm going to check your Web site right now. How do you spell the name again? First name first, last name second, or last name first, first name second?

And yay, for the short story writer that you are...however good or bad. Hope you post it...
"I’m writing a science fiction short story. It’s fairly bad. ... If my patients ever discover what a crazy right-winger I am, Ralphie will have to feed and clothe my children."

The science "fiction" story Dr Bean is writing is actually the real story of his own life, which he is afraid will be found out -- hence his expressed anxieties about being thought a "crazy right-winger." He is actually from another planet, one that is oriented right-handedly in contrast to our left-hand-oriented planet, and he is here on a mission.

He was sent to Earth to try and determine whether there is intelligent life here.

He was given two assignments: #1 to go to medical school in order to experiment on as many humans as possible, and #2 to start a coded blog by means of which he can communicate with his commanding officer, "Ralphie."

Luckily the life forms on his home planet physically resemble humans -- all he had to do was remove his fur -- a painful procedure but not nearly as bad as being surgically altered, as some of his colleagues were for their mission to Alpha Centauri.

As part of his research on earth, he even "married" a human female by setting up matching his-and-her computers (in the belief that humans reproduce electronically by means of a mathematical formula that requires the interaction of two computers in close proximity).

However the whole experiment ended in failure when he discovered that there was no intelligent life on Planet Earth after all, and he is finally reassigned to another planet.

He signals that he is ready to escape earth's gravitational field by means of a pre-arranged signal: an announcement that from now on, he will no longer blog on his own blog but will instead blog on another blog under his own name, which is a secret name that he can never reveal. This cryptic message signals the futility of any attempt to communicate with humans.
Ralphie: I understand that my pastime is shared by very few and that those very few typically have very poor social skills. Nevertheless, I am not ashamed.

b&c: I love you, honey!

Ezer knegdo: Hurray! I’m not sure how to break this news to you… I’m the boy’s father. Please raise him well. He may find attracting girls somewhat difficult. Tell him not to despair. Re doing taxes: What most non-math geeks don’t understand is that math has almost nothing to do with calculation. If he loves math there’s no way he’ll want to do your taxes. He’ll want you to get some software for that.

Pearl: The geeks shall inherit the earth. I’m delighted you’ve produced another one of us. Re asking me to post the short story: you’re a real masochist. It’ll be another week or so before it’s done.

Ms. Katz: Zeeblak! You must be eliminated!! My energy weapon is set to your coordinates. Please stand on your roof and cover your head with aluminum foil.
Ha, ha, another planet. Hee, hee, commanding officer. Oh, Ms. Katz, that's a good one!

(Bean: commence firing)
First of all - I am with the Ball and Chain on this one...

Second of all for the recreational math, let me suggest the following:

A hypothetical aerobic dance studion comfortably holds 12 participants and a teacher. The class meets 3 times a week. Clients need to register for which classes they want to attend by day combination, (e.g.Sun-Tue, Sun-Thurs or Tue-Thurs). There is no switching. Most clients want to come 2x/week, but 3 want to come 3x/week.

1. How many clients can you sign up for 2x/week?
2. What is the maximum number that can sign up for a particular day combination (e.g. Sun-Tue or Sun-Thur)?
3. Do you increase revenue by increasing the number of 3x/week people, or does it decrease because there is less availability for 2x/wk clients. 2x/wk is $50 and 3x/wk is $75?

I would appreciate (correct)answers. Show your work for full credit.
Gosh, Dr. Bean, thanks for clearing that up! Now that we know, I can email you where you should send tuition payments for his day school . . . :-)
Ralphie: Aye aye, Cap’n.

Mrs. Balabusta: That’s exactly the kind of stuff I love. Here are both your answers and the solutions (“your work”).

Each night can accommodate 12 participants. There are three nights. Let’s call each space on a single night a “spot”. There are 36 spots. The twice-a-week clients take up two, and the thrice-a-week clients take up three.

1. If you had zero thrice-a-week clients you could accommodate 18 twice a week clients as long as six took each two night combination. That would give you full classes every night. If we call the number of thrice-a-week clients x, then the maximum number of twice-a-week clients is (36 – 3x)/2 rounded down to the nearest integer, of course. So with x = 3 you can accommodate (36-9)/2 = 27/2 = 13.5 or thirteen twice-a-week clients. This assumes again that they’re willing to distribute themselves equally for each combination (four in two of the combos, and five in the third). This would give you a full class every night except for 11 clients on one night.

2. The maximum number that can sign up for a particular day combination is 6 – (x/2), again rounded down to the nearest integer. So with no thrice-a-weekers, that’s 6 clients in each combo, but as we saw above with 3 thrice-a-weekers that’s 4.5 in each combo.

3. There is no preference for twice-a-weekers or thrice-a-weekers in terms of revenue since they each pay $25/spot. If you fill all the classes you’ll be generating 36 * $25 = $900/week with any combination of twice or thrice-a-weekers. The thrice-a-weekers, if anything, should be encouraged since they buy more spots and don’t leave a blank spot that might be difficult to fill.

Ezer Knegdo: That sounds reasonable. It’s the least I can do, and I always try to do the least I can.
It's a good thing the Wizard gave you a brain!

Thanks a million-3/x. I have been trying to figure out this formula for weeks now.
We're having some fun now.
P.T. and B&C: why, you two are the luckiest spouses I know. If only Mr. Cruisin would try to be all "mathy" with me.
Really enjoyed the website, Dr. Kevorkian
I joke, but you all know that the "mathiness" is what attracted me in the first place. Now that I think of it, it was the ONLY thing that attracted me in the first place.
Mrs Balabusta: Oh, no. Thank you.

Psychotoddler: No need to drain your boils on my parade.

Cruisin-mom: If you want, I can tutor him. Glad you liked the site.

b&c: I thought it was the ill-fitting clothes.
There’s a very simple equation I’ve been playing with that generates a very complicated graph. I know how much that turns you all on.

Well, it sure turns me on! I'd love to see more math stuff. I only wish I were more of a guru, like you, Dr. Bean. Alas, I was more interested in computer science between the critical ages of 16-22. I also wish I were better at chess. But apparently that's a different gene.

Love the story, Ms. Katz. But isn't Toby a man's name?

Bean, I think you forgot something in the aerobics class problem. If Mrs. B has 18 students arranged perfectly for 12 per class, she earns 12 * $25 * 3 = $900/week. However, if she has three students coming thrice/week, that leaves, as you mentioned, an empty spot in one class. Then she only earns (12 + 12 + 11) * $25 = $875/week. Therefore, she may want to offer an option of coming only once a week in hopes of filling that spot.

Unfortunately, the odds of all this working out perfectly depend on the market preference as to days of the week and how many students may want to exercise one or three days. To figure that out, Mrs. B would need to conduct a market survey and perform a little statistical analysis, to determine whether it's in her best interests to allow one and thrice a week attendance.

Finally, if Mrs. B can earn $900 in only three hours, why does she have a day job at the student health service?
That is $900 for the month of 5 weeks.

As a matter of fact, there is money in them thar hills. I can generate $900 by teaching 15 classes over 5 weeks. I cannot however, keep the money.

The dance studio gets 10%, which is an incredible deal for us. The remaining monies go to one of the Jewish Schools in Milwaukee that I currently owe money to, which is most of them. We have a $2000 fundraising obligation at each institution, annually. So I spend half a year dancing for one school, and then after Chanuka switch to the other. All the participants make their checks out directly to the institutions.

So, to answer your question, the nurse gig is solely to support this habit that my family has of eating at least 3 x day.
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