By the numbers

11 12 2007

I have a request. This is for my next lifetime. Amongst other things, like teflon knee joint padding instead of cartilage, I want to be good at maths. This is not just so that I can understand quantum theory but so that I can understand the Zimbabwe monetary system. Perhaps I have used the wrong tense there as I am hoping that the nonsense will be long past by then.

Maths is such an elegant subject; one can prove or disprove so much with the most basic form. Once upon a time I was listening to Radio Caroline on my satellite receiver and being a Sunday, someone had bought some time to do a bit of preaching. He said that contrary to popular belief there had been not one but TWO great floods in the history of the Earth (or rather Bible). Incensed at this affront to my intelligence I gave it the basic maths treatment. I won’t delve far into it here but it centred on dividing the depth of water involved by the amount of days rain and coming up with an INcredible figure! Not to mention barriers, erosion, the fact that the earth IS a sphere (so where did all that water go – think of depth and circle radii?) and how did the koala bears get to the ark without in time and without being eaten? (I have seen koalas move and they are not quick). Then there is the very silly internet myth about Rod Stewart and some boys that I will not go into here.

In 2000 I was living next door to my cousin in the suburbs of Harare. He sold his house then for ZW$5m (m is a million here). Both my current landlord and I were impressed; he was very lucky to get that.

Current value of 5m is 5000 – not worth picking a note of it up off the pavement.

A 1kg bag of coffee beans locally produced is now 40m (about US$10).

A 25kg bag of potassium nitrate fertilizer is $390m.

The daily cash withdrawal limit from corporate bank accounts has now DROPPED to 20m.

Houses are not sold in Zimbabwe dollars any more.

Maths is discovered not invented.



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