Monday, October 13, 2008

New Math

My best friend's cat has diabetes. Poor puss! Really, it's a very managable disease in cats. He just has to get 0.025cc (1/40 of a cc) of insulin twice a day after he's eaten.

No biggie. The vet gave my friend a small supply of 1/2 cc syringes. They have 20 graduated units marked on them so he gets 1 unit twice a day.

Syringes aren't the most expensive thing in the world, but the cost adds up, so my friend went to Sam's Club and bought two boxes of 1/2 cc syringes. The only difference between these syringes and the vet syringes were the number of units. Human syringes are broken into 50 units instead of 20.

So my friend did the math. If "v" = the unit on the vet syringe and "h" = the unit on a human syringe and "v" = 1/20 and "h" = 1/50 and if Kitty is riding on two trains traveling in different directions, how many syringes can kitty buy?

Basically: she needs to give Kitty 2.5 units on the human syringe to equal 1 unit on the vet syringe.

This is really basic algebra.

But when she mentioned this to the vet, the vet argued that her math was faulty, that she was over-dosing her cat. She claimed that a "unit is a unit."

Buh???? One unit is 1/20 of 1/2 cc (0.025 cc) the other is 1/50 of 1/2 cc (0.010)

My friend was very upset about this and when she told me, I laughed. Is this vet using New Math???? They got into quite an argument about it.

Of course, my friend does not want to jeopardize her beloved pet's life just for the sake of economy, but the vet's math just does not make sense.

So, my friend and I did a little science experiment. We filled the vet syringe with the proper dose (using water) and used it to fill the human syringe.

Sure enough, 1 unit one the vet syringe was exactly equal to 2.5 units on the human syringe.


Now, if a parking lot holds 250 cars and is 2/5 full, how many pennies will the blue-haired lady in front of you count out while the cashier flirts with the bagger and accidentally hands you $300 intended for deposit?

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