England v maths

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So that means the tip was... oh shitMaths wins. You should never try and compete against maths. It’s unconquerable.

Despite putting in one of their finest batting performances in either of the short formats, England were comprehensively beaten by maths. Maths unleashed its biggest and most destructive weaponry, the Duckworth-Lewis calculations, which cruelly shuffled figures about until the West Indies were given something altogether more manageable to chase down: 60 in six overs, rather than 192 in 20.

We try and avoid engaging maths these days. Even addition gets the better of us. We once made a big point out of tipping a takeaway delivery man 20p. Maths caused us to do that. We still cringe at the memory.


Mike Gatting wasn't receiving the King Cricket email when he dropped that ludicrously easy chance against India in 1993.


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  1. At least you were’nt (presumably) tipping in the USA. From what friends* have told me, they practically chase you down the street if you tip 12.5% instead of 15%.

    On the subject of D/L in T20, maybe it would be fairer to only allow the team batting second a restricted number of wickets (maybe 4 wickets for 6 overs, 5 wickets for 10 overs)? That way, teams might have to be a bit more careful chasing targets like that which the Windies were yesterday.

    *yes, I have some friends.

  2. We haven’t been to the US, but one time in Canada we managed to tip in such a way that it appeared as if we were paying for information.

  3. North America’s tipping problem is, I am told, due to their insistence on using only one math, and not both of the maths as God intended. So while England are surely smarting, it could be much, much worse.

  4. Only because we recalculated publishing times in his favour following a torrential downpour.

  5. In case anyone was wondering, the picture clearly shows someone using conservation-of-energy laws, specifically kinetic energy, which is 1/2*m*v^2, where m represent mass and v represents velocity.

    Although this is physics, it is also very useful in more applied mathematical theory (I’m studying formulae like this for my Maths course) and is crucial to understanding particle dynamics.

    ..I’m done.

  6. If I might point out, Jake, you are far from done, as you have ignored the rotational energy term. While it would seem to the casual observer that KC had just googled “complicated maths shit” and used a stock image, in fact he had carefully selected an equation with a deep relevance to cricket, describing as it does the total energy that a bowler must impart to the ball (translational and rotational) as he releases it.

  7. Too true Bert, but the kinetic energy component was all I really felt like explaining if I’m honest.

    You’re right that such equations are vital in cricket. Along with such beasties as s = ut + 1/2at^2; it’s all you need to work out the required impact velocity in order to hit a six. That one actually turned up on my A-level exams.

  8. Ooooo, this is comfortably the most intelligent ‘looking’ discussion I’ve seen on here.

  9. I’m highly suspicious of the angle of the index finger and the chalk to the board – there is going to be a horrible collision of finger nail and board any moment now…

  10. Oh come on, KC, while there are tons of fun physics pictures involving Feynman diagrams and the electroweak theory and such, you had to go select a middle school physics blackboard. This discussion could’ve been way more interesting. But no, you wouldn’t have it, would you? You would much rather concentrate on Collingwood.

  11. What’s more suspicious is the fact that the chalker is shown chalking a term IN THE MIDDLE OF AN ALREADY WRITTEN EQUATION. Why? What could he be up to? What sort of person chalks up the exponent of a term before writing the term itself? Is he correcting a mistake? Possible but unlikely – it’s a relatively simple equation after all. No, there’s something sinister going on here, and I’m going to get to the bottom of it.

  12. Maybe we are witnessing the infinitessimally short pause before the chalk-holder goes MENTAL and scribbles everything out because they forgot to carry the one.

    On that subject, we could never remember the rules of doing maths on paper, so we always had to check our answers using mental arithmetic, which was much more reliable.

  13. It may not be math (maths) but infinitessimally short seems a tad tautologous. What middle school teaches this stuff? We were just learning how many socks you needed to pull out of a drawer with 101 socks in it to find a matching pair.

  14. That hand with chalk is probably tapping morse code as formula or theorem[ whatever] is already written on the board .May be the person does not like the way ‘M’ is writtten and is chalking over it .

  15. Tautology is one of the worst crimes. Worse than manslaughter, certainly; although not quite up there with genocide.

    We apologise unreservedly.

    If we could reverse back and rewrite it again, we would.

  16. Tautology is not a crime. It has been bastardised in modern culture as “stating the obvious”. That’s not what it is. It’s “drawing something from a statement that is true under every possible interpretation”. This is a crucial step in logical analysis.

    For example, if I proved that “A implies B”, it would be a tautological statement to say “Not B implies not A” (known as the contrapositive). Not obvious, but logically true under every interpretation, and thus a tautological statement.

  17. In fact the formal logic definition followed the rhetorical one, Jake; the word derives from the Greek “tautologos”, lit. “repeating what has been said”, and has been in use in the rhetorical sense since the 16th century, while Wittgenstein was the first to apply it to formal logic, in 1921.

    Also if I were being really nitpicky, it is (A->B)(¬B->¬A) that is the tautology, allowing you to make the substitution of one side for the other. ¬B->¬A is therefore not a tautological statement, but simply one that you have shown to be true as a consequence of the tautology.

    Needless to say, however, such pedantry is entirely beneath me.

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