Friday, December 24, 2010


One of the most useless skills I was taught in school. I don't even remember how to write much more than my name in cursive anymore.

troll cursice comic

Click image to view full.

Another useless skill I was taught in school is doing math by hand and "showing my work". I've always got a calculator with me now (my phone). I've even got WolframAlpha for the more complicated problems. I really wish I had been taught more equations and how to use them, rather than how to complete them by hand. Let computers do what they do best. They are much quicker and far more accurate than any human could ever be.

It's not like you'd ever have a job that requires you to complete math by hand anymore... Other than being a math teacher and teaching an obsolete skill. You don't need to know how to build a car to drive one.


  1. Well, I have to disagree with you on this one. I have just written a load of Xmas cards in cursive, and I *always* write my shopping lists in cursive. But then we didn't have computers to write essays on when I was at university, so it's probably a generational thing.

    As for the maths, I think that learning how to do it by hand stands you in good stead for being able to work out roughly what the answer should be. It is very easy to mistype on a calculator, and if you've no idea whether the answer should be "about 50" or "about a million" then you might not realise your mistake. Having the basic skills and underlying understanding of the problem helps you use your calculator properly.
    And can Wolfram Alpha answer: How much paint do I need for a 2m by 3m wall?

  2. @ Linda: Well... Yes. First search "2 meters by 3 meters" to get 6 square meters of area. Then type "6 square meters of paint" and get 0.5 liters (assuming emulsion paint). If you want a different type of paint (say primer) type in "6 square meters of primer" and get 0.38 liters.

    Even without WolframAlpha, you just need to know the equation for surface area (Height*Width) and use a calculator for the actual calculating... Then just look on the paint can for coverage information.

    My grandmother writes in cursive on cards and it's hard as hell to read. I really wish she'd use standard print.

  3. My wife handles the cursive for me. Otherwise none of the cards would get there.

  4. @ Marf: Well that's my point. You need to know HOW to work out the maths in the first place or your calculator is useless. If you had never done any maths you wouldn't even understand that you have to work out the area of the wall to get started. And you still need a feel for whether "20 cans of paint" is the right answer or you made a mistake somewhere along the line ;))

  5. You don't need to know how to build a car, but if it breaks down you need to know how to walk.

  6. I dont even think they teach kids how to write in cursive anymore these days. I know some kids that are in middle school and they dont know how to write cursive. Also in my French I class, which is full of freshman, the teacher writes in cursive. None of those kids can read her handwriting, hell even I cant and I was taught how to write cursive. The only thing I use it for is signing my name on checks and forms, thats it. And it kinda looks like that kid's writing in that picture from the third grade panel lol

    - Six Legions

  7. Yes, we’ve probably reached a point where being able to write cursive is probably not 100% required for the average working stiff; however, I would say that being able to read cursive *is* still 100% required just to remain backwards compatible with historical documentation that may not exist in machine readable form. You may end up working for a firm that has older very important documents (medical research or patient records, insurance, legal, real-estate, et cetera) that may only exist in cursive, and because of their very nature, haven’t been and probably won’t be converted to machine readable text due to the cost of the human translation. Also, there’s the romance factor; you may find yourself in competition for a mate, where your beautiful cursive handwritten love letter just might tip the balance over your competition’s cold text message.

  8. @ Anonymous (#7): If cursive is what it takes to get a potential mate's attention, she's not worth it. Besides, my cursive would be anything but beautiful.


Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

»» «« »Home«