7 Mar 2007

And Then I Fixed The Fence

Remember I lost a bunch of fencing during the big winds? Well, time to get it fixed properly.

I decided against replacing the lap fencing and instead opted for a plain board six foot high fence in the belief that it will be stronger, last longer and, as it will have small spaces between the boards, be more wind friendly. The intention is to replace all the lap fence over time depending on the result of the first replacement.

With the timber purchased, a second mortgage in place to pay for it, a cordless screw driver, cement for the post foundations and wood preserver, I spent the evening with two scratch pads, a scientific calculator and a computer math's program to calculate the minimum space to leave between each board so as to use whole boards and thus not have to cut the last one to fit.

The math's runs something like this;
Find 'x', the minimum space to leave between each board so as to use whole boards given the following - space between the two 3 inch square uprights equals six feet. Width of each board equals five inches.

After several hours with calculator and computer I was quietly confident I had found 'x'.

The next day, with the sun shining and spirits running high with the confidence that 'x' would mean no six foot long saw cuts being made, I set to work. And the result is the staggering discovery that MATHEMATICS DOES NOT WORK!! I followed my plan to the letter using a carefully cut spacer, all measurements checked and double checked and all that resulted in me having to cut one board down by one and a half inches with a saw that couldn't break skin. I know this as the saw seemed to spend more time on my left hand than on the wood.

Frustrated with being led down the garden path by trusting to mathematics I just hammered boards up across the next six foot space, guessing the gap and accepting the inevitable two hour saw cut for the last board. Now this is the kicker folks. Without using mathematics, just whacking boards up while quietly muttering to myself, everything fell into place faultlessly!!

So please tell your friends, tell everyone - math's is rubbish. Think of all the hours we spent in school being taught this stuff, all about those triangly thingies with funny names, then the first time you try to use some of the simple bits it just doesn't work!! I'm now sure that rockets to the moon are just pointed and fired and that the math's bit is only to impress us and ensure the rocket pointers hang on to their simple but well rewarded jobs. Think about it; I just pointed the boards at the space and off they went, so if you follow that through, you can see the moon, so all you need is a big rocket, a clear night, point the rocket at it and light the fuse! How hard can it be? Where's the mathematics in that?

And here's something else I have noticed since I discovered math's doesn't work. Every time they interview a scientist on the telly they are standing in front of a blackboard which is covered in clever looking stuff. But look closely at that stuff my friends and you will not see any numbers!! It's just letters, squiggly lines and funny looking signs!! No numbers at all. So where's the math's? {As a 'by the by' it also seems that the nuttier the idea the scientist is talking about the bigger his blackboard is.}

All I can say is the next time you have a project to do that you feel needs the use of a bit of mathematics, don't use it, and definitely don't use that dividy bit, just trust to your eyes and instinct. Keep it simple as in the picture below. And the next time you see a scientist on the telly pay attention to his blackboard and try to work out what's on it. Since my discovery, the last one I saw, his board turned out to be a short hand Tesco shopping list.........


"As long as algebra is taught in school, there will be prayer in school."

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