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For the Dummies from the Dummy

To some extraordinarily talented beings, mathematics happens to be one of the easiest subjects known to mankind. "Just do it correctly, and full marks!" That's the problem - how do you do it correctly? Moreover, why are there so many fields? Whatever happened to just addition, subtraction, multiplication and division? Maths grew up, most of our abilities didn't.

Weird Al
When we were young, Algebra seemed fascinating. "Wow, someday, I'll learn to add alphabets!" Well, too bad - apparently, it's not possible to add a with b! Once you learn to accept the rules, algebra is easy. The elementary stuff are even fun - if you know your tables, that is! Algebra welcomes you to the world of equations and the letter that will accompany you for a long, long time - x. One step at a time, go through the phases and you'll get the hang of it. Factorisation, simplifying and algebraic fractions are things you'll manage to do after it being explained to you a couple of times. However, algebra becomes one's enemy in the form of pure mathematics.

Simultaneous Equations: Yet suddenly you find yourself adding x and y. Yours truly has no idea how people can choose the elimination method over substitution. The whole signs-change-if-you-subtract can be very confusing.

Logarithm and Indices: The latter being pretty easy if you know the powers (once again learn those timetables!). Similar adjectives however cannot describe this writer's feelings towards logarithm. Too many rules, a lot to remember!

Binomial Theorem: There are times while doing binomials that you will want to go back in time and kill Blaise Pascal, resurrect him and kill him again. It can be nerve-wracking but once you get the hang of it, it falls into a pattern.

Shadows in the Mist
And then we come to the world of Geometry and Trigonometry. This can turn those shapes you loved to draw in kindergarten into your worst nightmare. The sum of three angles is 180 degrees, which can initially cover triangles. The problems are the toughest in circles. Not even co-ordinate geometry and all its formulae can make life as tough as the circle theorems.

The advantage trig holds over geometry is that you don't have to justify all your methods. However, harder times lie ahead with sine, cosine and tangent and all those formulae! Best way to test your formulae skills is to write them without peeking into the book. But it doesn't end there. Once you get to calculating angles from sine and cosine with those stupid quadrants and the bloody radian mode in your calculator, all hell breaks loose. Panic attacks, anyone?

Why Newton should be hated
The act of finding a derivative deserves its own section. Not content with ruining the lives of Physics students, Sir Newton messed up our lives as well, by using differentiation in his physics calculation and upgrading it to the mainstream. Though it appears, he cheated while he was at it. But it doesn't matter, because differentiation remains very, very confusing. Multiply the powers with the coefficient of x and etc. Then find the second derivative? Amazing. How do we know when to do it, when not to or even when to stop?

Face it; mathematics can be tough for some of us. Maybe we should try to read the book for once, or try other books. Apparently there are websites which show you how to solve problems using GIFs. There are great videos on Youtube, including those from the ever-dependable Khan Academy. Mathematics is an issue that won't go away. Deal with it the right way!

By Padya Paramita

How We Waste Money

You're smart, but even smart people sometimes do stupid things with their money. The embarrassing truth is that every day, in countless idiotic ways, you and I just waste money. This week, RS gives you some pointers on how to put the money back in your pocket. Now, pay attention.

All of us at one time or another wasted money on something. Having hobbies that are a total wastage is not uncommon. To some of us, it's collecting more books than ever being able to read or buying more DVDs than ever being able to watch. Hobbies eventually tend to become money pits. But yes, we sure can help it. You don't need to be an internet expert to know how to download movies or songs; all you have to do is spend a little time downloading them, and that way, you only get to download the ones you are really into. As for books, the stores are never going to run out of the collections; a better advice is to pick your favourite for the time being or you can download unlimited free books online. And when it comes to techno-gadgets, no matter how recent the gadget is, it can become old within a day.

Newsstand Magazines
Standing in line at the supermarket or at the bus stop, and getting tempted by a magazine's cover story is nothing new, especially when it's about your favourite celeb or yesterday's game which you missed. You've got no time to read it because the line is moving, so you decide to buy it anyway; after all, it's only 50 bucks. It truly is hard to resist such magazines that persuade you into buying them. But next time, try to look away because the internet is always there to help out. And it's free.

Home fitness equipments
Most people who purchase home fitness equipments buy them as a solution to their weight issues, but these equipments are rarely used and end up as big showpieces which use up unnecessary space, or in this writer's case, a cloth rack.

So if you want to spend your money on fitness, you would do better by going to a gym; at least you can get some work done there.

Reference books
Have you ever touched those reference books piling up in your book shelf? You definitely bought them to study, but did you actually read a page?

Through the years, stacks and stacks of these books have been eating up your cupboard spaces. We've all been there and have eventually gotten rid them - either by giving it to someone who would find it equally useless or by throwing it away. In the end, it was a waste of money.

Misplacing stuff
How many sets of audio/video cables do you have? How many of those sets did you buy because you couldn't find your old cables at the time? We all misplace stuff every once in awhile, and we end up buying them again. Of course, we usually end up finding the missing stuff later on, so we're left with duplicates. This is why yours truly owns enough cell phone cables to wire a dozen computers and enough hair bands to use a different one each day of the week.

Shopping delusions
We waste money every day; we buy things that we don't need, just because it is on sale or just because we have to have it or just because we feel like buying today, or for any other stupid reason. On impulse or in the right mind, people always end up at least buying one item from a store at the mall, especially when it comes to clothes. And hence, dozens of clothing articles pile up in the closet which never gets worn. I mean really, how much of your wardrobe do you actually wear on a regular basis?

Unused Memberships and Services
Unused memberships and services are a complete waste of money, yet we don't realise that when we go for it. Whether it's your cell phone, TV, internet, club, or a restaurant coupon, you should always be careful before agreeing to a billing contract. Most of us really don't have time for such recreations and end up paying a monthly fee for something that never gets used. This includes the random services on the road for restaurants such as Regency, A&W, Westin, and etc.

You are wasting money and you don't even know it.

By Maofic F. Karin



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