16 Apr 2012

Should we do simple calculations mentally or rely on calculators?

I've figured out that not many people try to do the calculations mentally; no matter how simple they are. For example, if you go to the market and purchase 5 times, each with two digit price; do you even attempt calculate the total bill in your mind or just rely on whatever 'total' price is given to you? Yes, most of the shops have these electronic machines that do everything automatically; right from scanning what the product is and how much is its cost and there's no room for error. But there are situations where there's a scope for error. For example, if the calculating machine isn't working; do you do the math in your head or take out your mobile and load your fancy calculator app to add up simple two digit numbers?

When electronics has become a part of our lives and even the most basic mobile phones have these calculator program; do you think we should do simple calculations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of two digit numbers) mentally? Or is it perfectly okay to rely on machines to do that for us? Share your opinion.
aarthivg

aarthivg

Branch Unspecified
16 Apr 2012
According to me, doing mental calculation, makes our brain active. Thus I prefer mental calculation. Moreover doing something self is best, then depending on electronic gadgets.
17 Apr 2012
It has been demonstrated that age related dementia can be postponed by exercising the brain, arithmetic being one such mental callisthenic.
I do it all the time. One of my all time favourite anecdotes is about Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb. He was watching with others the first test explosion from far (10 miles)but in the open. When the mushroom billowed, he threw up a fistful of paper shreds he had torn just then. When the shock wave hit the spot a few seconds later, he is said to have tossed up the paper bits in the air and made an order of magnitude calculation of the output of the bomb based on the weight and the distance they moved.. Apparently this was fairly accurate.

We are from before the times of calculating machines we use many short cuts and do many calculations off the cuff even now.
ISHAN TOPRE

ISHAN TOPRE

Branch Unspecified
17 Apr 2012
Vedic maths! Its always worth learning (...and I am far behind in it). Let me confess that I tend to take out my mobile or calculator even while doing simple calculations.

While I was in 12th grade, I was like "Arithmetic was my left hands play". But excessive calculator use in last 4 years ruined this habit...need to lessen the use of calculator!
17 Apr 2012
bioramani : That's excellent. Even Ramanujan was awesome at mental calculations and I'm looking to read about this great mathematician.

I tend to take out calculator too but now trying to give up on the habit. It's quite embarrassing when the shop-onwer does quicker calculations than you and smiles back 😨 .

Yeah, I agree that it helps in exercising the brain muscles.
17 Apr 2012
The_Big_K
bioramani : That's excellent. Even Ramanujan was awesome at mental calculations and I'm looking to read about this great mathematician. I tend to take out calculator too but now trying to give up on the habit. It's quite embarrassing when the shop-onwer does quicker calculations than you and smiles back 😨 .Yeah, I agree that it helps in exercising the brain muscles.
A rather humorous yet typically CEan way of handling real life integrals in engineering:
In chemical engineering definite integrals are a daily event. Any experiments done will end up in a funny shaped curve to be integrated. There will be no analytical expression, which negates the normal approach. Numerical methods, which using a mechanical calculator, were literally a pain in the forearm.
What we did was to use a 0.1 mg accuracy Mettler balance. We had some precision graph pads from Germany. We accurately weighed 100 sq.cm of this and converted to mg/sq.cm.
Then each set of data was graphed, the shape cut out and weighed accurately. Multiplying by the previously calibrated area to weight constant gave the value of the definite integral instantly.

The curious thing is that some of us engineers (at least the CE variety) used to spend enormous time and effort coming up with such zany notions and validate them to simplify some activity, which would have been totally unnecessary if conventional methods were followed from the beginning.
It wouldn't be fun then would it?
Oceanliner

Oceanliner

Branch Unspecified
17 Apr 2012
aarthivg
According to me, doing mental calculation, makes our brain active. Thus I prefer mental calculation. Moreover doing something self is best, then depending on electronic gadgets.
I agree that mental calculation engages the brain. But in this case the electronics that enabled the disengaging of the brain might be the way forward. Instead of going backwards and blame technology we could download an arithmetic training app to the phone and practice calculating more frequent in a fun way.
Anoop Kumar

Anoop Kumar

Branch Unspecified
18 Apr 2012
I am fan of those general merchants who do calculation of long list mently.
Even if they first calculate using calculater but recheck mently.
In our syllabus of 7th and 8th grade there was a chapter of व्यापारिक गणित (maths used by Businessmen)
it had lots of shortcuts to do basic calculation. It was quite fun and make maths more interesting.
Don't know its still in syllabus😒 .
I have learned little bit of Vedic Mathematics from online resources and found,
it is very useful and interesting.👍
CE Designer

CE Designer

Branch Unspecified
20 Apr 2012
You remember when you were in school and you took a long vacation and when you came back to school and put pen to paper and realised you forgot how to write?
Same principle 😀
Another reference is the gym. Here is my experience, when i go to the gym regular my muscles are active and i can lift heavier and heavier. Now if i take 2 weeks off when i go back i can't lift the same weight i was lifting before because it has become to heavy. My muscles' once active workouts took a plummet and i have to start from light weigth again.
My motto in life is everything in moderation and the same applies here.
aNaN

aNaN

Branch Unspecified
20 Apr 2012
already we can use only a small percent of our brain .
if we use calculators too...we are putting it to sleep ...calculations can keep it young and awake 😁

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