Oregon fines man $500 because he used math to criticize red light cameras without having an engineering license


Oregon Man Claims State Muzzles Red Light Camera Critique

April 26, 2017

An Oregon man’s public criticism of the mathematical formula used by red light cameras got him in trouble — not with the police but with the state engineering board.

So he’s suing, claiming a violation of free speech.

After his wife got a ticket based on a red light camera in Beaverton, Oregon, Mats Järlström, a Swedish-born electronics engineer, studied the calculations used to determine the length of the yellow light cycle. He concluded it was too short, because it failed to account for the longer time a driver needed to turn a corner, rather than go straight through the intersection.

Convinced the cameras were using an out-of-date formula, he took his message to practically anyone who would listen — local TV stations, a conference of traffic engineers, and even the state board of engineer examiners.

That’s what got him in trouble.

The board fined him $500 and said he was violating a state law by speaking about engineering issues without a license.

“By providing the public with his traffic engineering calculations,” the board said, “Järlström engaged in the practice of engineering.” And since he didn’t have a license issued by the state, he was violating the law, it said.

Now he’s suing in federal court, accusing the state of violating his First Amendment right to speak about a public issue.

“Criticizing the government’s engineering isn’t a crime. It’s a constitutional right,” said Samuel Gedge of the Institute for Justice, a conservative public interest law firm representing Järlström. “You don’t need to be a licensed engineer to talk about traffic lights.”

As many states do, Oregon prohibits a person from practicing engineering without a license. But the state’s board of engineering examiners equates publicly talking about engineering issues with practicing engineering.

“I was fined simply for speaking out and was told that I can’t truthfully call myself an engineer. People should be free to debate any topic, including technical topics like math and traffic lights,” Järlström said.

A spokesman for the state engineering board had no comment on the lawsuit, and the state has not yet responded in court.

Järlström paid the $500 fine. But he isn’t suing to get his money back.

Another Institute for Justice lawyer on his legal team, Wesley Hottot, said the state is essentially requiring a permission slip to debate government policy. “This board and licensing boards across the country think the First Amendment doesn’t apply to them. They couldn’t be more wrong.”

April 28, 2017. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Math, Police state. 1 comment.

New Rubik’s cube world record! 4.74 seconds (interview and breakdown)


April 12, 2017. Tags: , , , , . Math. Leave a comment.

CNBC says calculating 5% of 235 is “difficult”


January 18, 2017. Tags: , , , . Dumbing down, Math, Media bias. 1 comment.

Melbourne University advertises female-only jobs in bid to remedy gender imbalance in maths

There is no academic subject that is more meritocratic, and less discriminatory, than math. What this college is doing is wrong.

For their entire careers at this university, these women will be known as the math professors who got hired not because of their abilities at math, but because of their gender.

What this school is doing is condescending and sexist, and it reinforces the false stereotype that woman are not good at math.



Melbourne University advertises female-only jobs in bid to remedy gender imbalance in maths

May 18, 2016

The University of Melbourne has taken the extraordinary step of opening up jobs to female applicants only in an attempt to drive change in the male-dominated area of mathematic academia.

Only about a quarter of all mathematics academics in Australia are female, and the university is now advertising three positions in its School of Mathematics and Statistics for female applicants only.

It is believed to be the first time it has limited applications to women only for permanent academic positions.

The jobs, in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and statistics, may range in level from lecturer, to senior lecturer, to associate professor, depending on the candidate’s experience.

The head of the School of Mathematics and Statistics, Professor Aleks Owczarek, said the decision had been taken to promote change.

“We clearly have an issue with attracting female applicants appropriately to our workforce,” Professor Owczarek said.

“So this is an agenda to attempt to address that.” Reaching gender equality in maths stubbornly slow

Women are notoriously underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but mathematics has the lowest representation of all studies.

Lesley Ward, an Associate Professor of Mathematics at the University of South Australia, and chair of the Women in Maths Special Interest Group of the Australian Mathematical Society (WIMSIG), told ABC’s PM it gets worse the more senior the rank.

“At the first academic rank of associate lecturer it’s still only 30 per cent women, by the time you get up to the second highest rank of associate professor it’s down to under 20 per cent women,” Professor Ward said.

“At the highest rank, of professor, it’s 9 per cent women, according to the most recent data we have from 2014.”

She said there were many reasons for the low percentages, but a key cause was unconscious bias which sees men promoted more often than women.

Because of that, Professor Ward welcomed The University of Melbourne’s move, saying change so far had been slow.

“There have been many measures taken by universities and by individuals and by professional societies to help the advancement of women and the achievement of gender equity in these disciplines,” she said.

“In some disciplines it’s been harder than others and in mathematics it’s one where it’s taken a particularly long time.”

Equal Opportunity Act allows for positive discrimination

The University of Melbourne positions have been advertised using a special measure of the Victorian Equal Opportunity Act.

“The use of this kind of special measure that we’re using has been used with regards to Indigenous employment,” Professor Owczarek said.

“For this kind of positions, permanent continuing academic positions, I believe it might be the first time it’s been used,” he added.

Discrimination lawyer Rowan Skinner said the Act allows organisations to take actions to promote equality.

“The Act specifically permits an organisation to engage in what is overtly a discriminatory act, but for the purposes of ensuring that there is equal opportunity overall,” Mr Skinner said.

May 20, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , . Dumbing down, Education, Math, Sexism. Leave a comment.

What happens when a math illiterate, irresponsible person wins a huge lottery jackpot?

At age 27, the unmarried woman in this news story already has 4 kids.

But good news! She just won the lottery! And after taxes, she took home a lump sum of $88 million!

But bad news! She seems to be on a path to wasting all of it on bailing out her serial criminal boyfriend!

Every time she bails him out, the bail is double the previous amount. The most recent time, bail was $12 million. And even though he always shows up for his court appearances, between 7% and 10% of the bail is non-refundable. So for the most recent time, she lost between $840,000 and $1.2 million.

Since she won the lottery less than a year ago, she has already bailed him out three times. If she continues to do this at the same rate, and if the bail amount keeps doubling every time, and if between 7% and 10% is non-refundable, then in less than three years, she will have spent all her money on the non-refundable part of bailing out her boyfriend.

The idea of the bail amount being doubled each time is a fantastic idea. It gives smart people a chance to quit their life of crime before it’s too late. And it shows that stupid people are, well, stupid.

January 7, 2016. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Economics, Math. Leave a comment.

RAINBOW CheckerBoard Cake – How to Make a Surprise Inside Rainbow Cube Cake



March 21, 2015. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Art and sculpture, Food, Math. 2 comments.

The Irrationally Long Number Pi Song (“Sweet Number Pi”)



March 19, 2015. Tags: , , , . Humor, Math, Music. Leave a comment.

Mathematical illiterates are celebrating New York City’s new 1.6 MW solar power project

AFP reports:

On a rooftop in the Bronx far from the skyscrapers of Manhattan, 4,760 panels soak up the winter rays. Welcome to the solar power boom in New York state.

Robert Kline, director of commercial sales for the Ross Solar Group that installed the panels, is delighted.

“It is the largest (solar) installation in the history of New York City,” he tells AFP.

The 1.6-megawatt installation on the Jetro Cash and Carry has been proudly singled out by New York governor Andrew Cuomo as a prime example of a drive to haul the state into a new dawn.

I’m not disputing the claim that this is “the largest solar installation in the history of New York City.”

However, I am disputing the claim that his is a “boom” for solar power.

The Ravenswood Generating Station is one of many power plants that provides electricity for New York. It makes its electricity by burning fossil fuels, and it produces 2,410 MW.

If we wanted to replace this one fossil fuel power plant with solar power, it would require building more than 1,500 additional solar power projects of the same size as “the largest solar installation in the history of New York City.”

If this solar power plant is a “boom,” it would take more than 1,500 additional “booms” just to be able to shut down this one fossil fuel power plant.

And even that grossly understates the situation, because the claimed power rating for those solar panels is only applicable when the sun is directly overhead, and there are no clouds.

If the sun isn’t directly overhead, its power output would be less than the rated maximum.

If the sky was cloudy, its power output would be less than the rated maximum.

And if it was night, its power output would be zero.

The solar power plant would have to have a backup power source, and that backup power source would almost certainly be… something that burned fossil fuels.

If there is ever a solar power plant in New York that uses batteries to store its sun-derived energy for use at night, and is able to reliably and continuously produce at least 1,000 MW of electricity at any and all times of the day or night, then that would indeed be a “boom” for solar power in New York.

March 16, 2014. Tags: , , , , , , , . Environmentalism, Math, Politics. 4 comments.

Justine Sacco was fired because she told the politically incorrect, accurate truth about AIDS

A company called InterActiveCorp just fired empoyee Justine Sacco because she tweeted the following:

“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

Before Sacco made that tweet, The New York Times reported:

“The rate of AIDS among black women is 27 times the rate among white women.”

This is precisely why math is the most politically incorrect academic subject. No matter how much the radical left wants to see “racism” where none exists – no matter how much they claim to be “offended” when there is no rational reason to be offended – no matter how many temper tantrums they throw – you can’t argue against the math. The math will always win.

If the radical left insists on about getting mad at someone for the AIDS problem, they have chosen the wrong target. It’s not Sacco’s fault that anyone has AIDS. If the radical left really wants to get mad at someone over the AIDS problem, then why don’t they get mad at the people who are actually spreading AIDS?

December 21, 2013. Tags: , , , , , , , . Health care, Math, Racism. 5 comments.

Math illiteracy from level 1 customer service

The BBC reports:

October 12, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , . Humor, Math. 1 comment.

Public schools teach math and science much better when the teachers DON’T have a degree in education

This is from the Wall St. Journal:

September 17, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Education, Math, Science. Leave a comment.

Mango recall at Giant Eagle supermarkets in Pittsburgh

Yesterday I got a computerized phone call from Giant Eagle, telling me not to eat the mangoes that I’ve been buying since July, because they might be contaminated with Salmonella. The message said I could return them to the store for a full refund.

August 28, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , . Food, Math, Pittsburgh. 1 comment.

Casino sues winning gamblers and card manufacturer because casino employees did not shuffle the cards

This casino is suing the card manufacturer, and the players who won lots of money, because the casino’s employees didn’t shuffle the cards, which allowed the players to win 41 times in a row.

This has got to be about the most ridiculous lawsuit that I have ever heard about. Yes, I realize there are quite a few contenders in that contest, but this one is even dumber than the other dumb ones… I think.

August 21, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Dumb lawsuits, Humor, Math. 1 comment.

Math illiteracy on “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”

The contestant, the studio audience, and the online audience all got this easy math question wrong.


July 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , , . Education, Math, Television. 2 comments.

The new method of “teaching” math leaves students ignorant and uneducated

I came across this video which compares the traditional methods of teaching multiplication and division to the new methods. The new methods are deliberately dumbed down, the textbooks claim it’s a waste of time for students to try to master math concepts, and use of calculators is heavily encouraged.

The narrator concludes by telling parents that they should ignore these new methods, and instead, use the math textbooks that are currently being used in Singapore.


July 31, 2012. Tags: , , , , , , . Education, Math. 1 comment.