I often scan the daily newspapers for good, bad or funny examples of the use of statistics. Today in papers such as the Courier Mail and the Herald-Sun, we find the breaking story “Over half of men wear same undies for 3 days”.

The stats are claimed to be from “a Galaxy study of 1100 men released today”. Here are some of the statistics quoted:

* 46 per cent of men followed their mother’s advice and were never caught out and about without clean undies on

* 3 in 4 men would prefer to spend the money on beer or a burger

* 7 per cent of men admitting to wearing women’s underwear at some time

* The average man has 11.7 pairs of undies

This statistic amused me. I had to go and check how many pairs I had. 10 pairs. Oh Oh, I am below average? I also showed this statistic to a male collegue. His comment: “Yeh, that would be about right. I have 12 pair but some of them have holes – that would account for the missing 0.3! And the following statistic backs this up:

* About half say their underpants have holes or bad elastic

So to sum up have you got any good examples of statistics or mathematics in the news?

Of course one of the best bloggers online – Kerry Cue – has a blog titled Mathspigs, which specialises in such news articles.

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## About webmaths

I have been teaching Mathematics in Victorian secondary schools for 30 years. I use the www to make my maths lessons better. I hope this blog will give other teachers some ideas to try in their own classes.

Hey Jeff,

I was scanning online for maths and newspapers today and found your entry on undies. I think if you surveyed the class .. anonymously … you might get a normal distribution out of this. I’d call it a Bell Curve or, maybe, a Smell Curve!!!!!!

Keep up the good work of making maths fun.

Cheers

Kerry Cue

aks Mathspig

PS: You might find my latest entry … 10 Movie Cliches Debunked by Maths an interesting end of year challenge.

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