# Census Numbers are Interesting

Having a Math Degree I like numbers and when the Census figures came out from Stats Canada yesterday I reveled in the glorious minutia of the data that that was published.

Some of the interesting tidbits published were:

• There are more than 200 different ethnic origins that we identify ourselves as. That is one hell of a lot of places and cultures to be associated with.
• We are commuting a full 0.6 KM more than we did ten years ago to get to work. What is more interesting is that in Ottawa we are well above the country wide median for commuting. I think it’s all the people from Toronto who move to Kemptville that then claim their commute is still shorter than when they lived in Toronto that skew this data.
• More of us are using public transit, which is good. I’d take the bus in Ottawa, but I want to get into work before lunch time (no direct routes from south to west).

## Case Study:Why Arithmetic is Important

On the weekend I saw yet another example why math and arithmetic is important in our busy world.

We were at a fast food restaurant in Burlington, and a new trainee was working the cash. The service was very slow and the food was cold, but that is not the point of the story. When we finally got to the point where I was to pay for my food, I was told the total was \$12.52 , I pulled out a \$20 Bill, and a two-nie and found 2 quarters and two pennies and handed it to the young lady. She correctly pressed the right buttons and the register dutifully told her I was due \$10.00 change.

This is when the problem arose. The register opened and she deposited my money into the drawer and then looked perplexed. After what felt like 2 minutes (most likely only 20 seconds), she calls over her supervisor (an older woman), and she pronounced, “I can’t give him change!”.

The supervisor looked at the tray and said, “Yes, you can!?!”.

The trainee pronounced, “… but there are no \$10 bills…”. The supervisor rolled her eyes and pulled two \$5 bills out handed them to me, looked at the trainee with a look of, “I am glad you are not my kid” and walked away.

Arithmetic is an important aspect to every education.

## Feel Free to Comment

1. Your anecdote about the fast food trainee reminds me of a funny poem by Shel Silverstein:

http://www.fi.edu/pieces/knox/smart.htm

It’s called “Smart”. I’ll just provide the link, since I don’t want to violate copyright law on your blog (probably just being over-cautious).

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