Thursday, November 1, 2007

Who's really doing the math?

Lots of people say they do the math. Mac Stone for one. He heads up drought response for the State of Kentucky’s Agriculture Department. Mac says, “You do the math: a nice weaned calf is 600 bucks and if you have 80,000 less of them it adds up pretty quick.” Mac is smart: he realizes that multiplication is repeated addition. I did the math for him: that’s $48 million in livestock.

Then there’s Boston pitcher Curt Schilling talking about A-Rod: "Let's do the math: When you're a free agent and the Yankees are in the mix, the price changes." Curt didn’t actually do the math either but A-Rod could be baseball’s first billion dollar star.

After a discussion with an Epic Records executive concerned about the high cost of promoting Jennifer Lopez, Courtney Hazlett for The Scoop writes, “Any way you do the math, the label is not coming close to breaking even on Lopez.” Lopez’s new album sold just 53,000 copies in its first week; Epic makes just $4 on each. Those sales – I did the math and that’s $212,000 – don’t even cover the $300,000 video budget.

One surprise of who – or what – not doing the math is Microsoft with Excel 2007. It seems that under certain circumstances it gets multiplication wrong. Maybe they should hire Mac Stone.

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