Friday, October 2, 2009
Math for dummies
There are varied reasons why people go into journalism, but one thing most all of us have in common -- we're horrible at math. If we were any good at math, we'd probably be an engineer or an accountant or architect, anything that would take us over the current poverty line.
To wit, a dumb errror in Thursday's blog pointed out by a sympathetic Roy Watley of Vega. I was trying to show how much money Bill Gates, the country's richest man, actually has. The Microsoft chairman's worth is $50 billion. I said if he gave away $100,000 it would take 500 days to get rid of it.
Even I knew that didn't look right. I was doing it on a calculator where there are no commas, and I didn't get the right numbers on my "goes-intas" as Jethro Bodine used to call it. But I was in a hurry, and, hey, it's a blog, who's going to see it?
Anyway, if Gates were to unload $100,000 a day to a charity, it would take 500,000 days to go stone broke, not 500. I'm sure he would be relieved to know that. And Gates, 53, would be 1,422 years old when it happened.
It would take 1,369 years to get it done. At least according to my math.
(By the way, for those curious, that picture is my yearbook photo from 1969).