Fractal Carpet Pricing

(if you enjoy these cartoons – and hey, who doesn’t enjoy a good Stephen Hawking joke – then check out my Patreon!)

2018.4.2 value in words

The only caveat: Words are not necessarily fungible.

For example, many of my pictures are worth only 500 “Huh”s and 500 “Nope”s.


Professional Development

2018.4.3 explanation with problem sets

Silly folks! It’s much more complicated than that. Teaching = Explanation + Problem Sets + Office Hours!


The Interesting Part of Mathematics

2018.4.5 hawking quote

I mean, equality is just an edge case. Hardly the meat of the subject!


Applied Probability

2018.4.6 balls in box

I considered several other punch lines for this, including:

  • “Ugh. Physicists.”
  • “Ugh. Empiricists.”
  • “Ugh. I hate reality.”


Run a Regression

2018.4.9 regression hammer

I wonder how many of my cartoons make fun of misapplied statistical techniques?



Got It, Thanks

2018.4.11 thanks go away

Some folks really didn’t identify with this one. For me, it’s the first 2 months of teaching any class.


What Mathematicians Do

2018.4.12 what mathematicians do

“Watching mathematicians try to explain their work to laypeople” really ought to be a televised sport. It’s a uniquely inexplicable job.


Bacterial Inspiration

2018.4.13 bacteria carpe diem

The nice thing about drawing bacteria is that it’s okay when they change shape from frame to frame. They’re squooshy bags of water!

It’s less credible when it happens with my people/desks/chalkboards.


Having Three Kids

2018.4.16 having 3 kids

I’ve heard this from lots of quarters: the marginal challenge of adding a third child is huge, and the marginal life satisfaction isn’t necessarily positive. But past 3, the marginal challenge decreases, and marginal satisfaction grows.

Takeaway? Babies are super cute and wicked hard to raise. The end.


Intellectual History

2018.4.17 intellectual history

Newton: “Hey, did you guys notice how stuff falls to the ground?”

Everybody: “Whoa, now that you mention it, yeah!”


2018.4.18 pay by the word

Anyone who has read Dickens has encountered an argument for why we shouldn’t pay fiction writers by the word, either.


Contra That One xkcd Comic

2018.4.19 psych is applied math

I asked my niece about this. “Why are you stabbing Elmo’s eye?”

“I stab his eye!” she reported.


Carpet Pricing

2018.4.20 carpet prices

I’m proud of this cartoon because the joke consists entirely of an exponent.


Time Travel Commute

2018.4.23 time travel commute

I just read Timescape and found it both (A) a pretty rich portrait of academic life, and (B) a weirdly self-contradictory vision of time travel. Anyone want to explain to me why it actually makes more sense than I believe?


2018.4.24 the learning cycle pie chart

To be clear: no, nobody actually knows almost half of mathematics! This is a not-to-scale pie chart. The to-scale version would just look entirely red.


Agree to Disagree

2018.4.25 overliteral argument

I think the last panel describes a surprising number of math fans/teachers/professionals/bloggers.


2018.4.26 the going rate for thoughts

Most conjectures are a bargain at that price, if you ask me!


Pi Chart

2018.4.27 tau chart

That’s right, a pi vs. pie pun! That’s the sort of high-quality content you can expect here at Math With Bad Drawings Dot Com.


Infinity War

2018.4.30 avengers is like proof

9 thoughts on “Fractal Carpet Pricing

  1. monkey beg to differ about mister charles dickens who not paid by word but paid in installment for 20 part serial publication of many novels like bleak house & david copperfield & etc. btw yesterday monkey recommend follower of monkey say blog go check out math with bad drawings. monkey hope this result in sales + good reviews.

  2. oh my god I work as a tutor and “got it thanks” is the BANE of my existence like I want to respect them and not call them liars but sometimes I Know they havent got it but also sometimes that was the only explanation I could think of so I just have to play along with the lie and everyone loses

    1. I have on occasion (usually at the beginning of term with a new class) responded with “That’s great! Come to the board and show everyone who hasn’t got it yet” – I love peer pressure.

    2. Got it thanks made me remember my math teacher with the worst breath I ever smelled before. He was so thorough in his explanation that I held my breath for 5 minutes at a time, and still didn’t understand. Just couldn’t focus while praying for my math teacher to move on to the next victim. I mean pupil.

  3. re: Having Three Children
    Father of five, can confirm.
    Don’t forget that even though the rewards ratio gets better, the effort still increases linearly.

  4. re: The Learning Cycle
    The ratio of the actual magnitude of Terrifying Nonsense to the magnitude of Boring Triviality is nondecreasing over time.

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