Blonde Bits and Pieces

I've got a few little things I want to post.

First, how about some music to get you through it?

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

I was the mix tape princess of the early 90s. Matter of fact, I feel so old, but when I went to college we still made mix tapes for our sorority parties. I was elected "tune mistress" or whatever we called that position. But back in '98, people would lend me CDs of their favorite songs, and I'd make them into mix tapes for our parties. Just think, our songs were played in basically the same order at every party. Anytime I wanted to add a new song, I'd incorporate it into a new tape. And I thought I was high tech because I had a stereo that automatically turned over the tape, and then went to the next tape deck, allowing me hours free of tape-turnover duties. Wow, that really seems outdated. Little did I know what was on the horizon. It's funny to think about how much easier it would be now - I could just make a playlist, people could email me songs they want to include, the songs could be shuffled as necessary, and I could easily hook the ipod up to any stereo. Kids these days, they have it so easy.

As a tradition, we always willed down the old tapes upon graduation to the younger sister who took over the position. I wonder what ever happened to those tapes - and whether they would even have a cassette player to listen to them now.

Anyway, mixwit is the new place to make the digital mix tape for online listening. I whipped this one up in only a few minutes. I'd love to see all of your creations! (link via happy mundane.)

So now that you've got some tunes rolling... How about two new links?

As you may know, I can sometimes see the search terms that bring people to Blonde Justice. Usually there's nothing too surprising, but I thought this one was surprisingly succinct and detailed:
"A couple does not wish to spend more than $60 for dinner. If a sales tax of 6% is added to the bill and they plan to tip 13% after the tax has been added, what is the most they can spend for the meal?"

It doesn't seem as if this is just some guy planning his budget for a dinner date, does it?

Well, if you click on the link, you can see that Blonde Justice comes up as the first link in a google search for this question. The second link is to a textbook, Algebra and Trigonometry with Analytic Geometry by Jeffery A. Cole, Earl W. Swokowski, which features a surprisingly similar word problem.

So, there's another thing to make me feel old. This is how kids solve math problems these days? They just type the whole thing into Google? Geeze. Anyway, I'm not going to do your algebra homework for you, kid.

An interesting Ask Metafilter: What to expect out of short stay in county? What to know when you're headed off to jail... for 3 DAYS!?! I feel like I could get through anything for 3 days. Besides, "3 days" is one of those "technicality" sentences - you probably show up for an hour, get processed, and then get released with time served. It doesn't seem like there's a lot to prepare for. Except that no one mentions the most important piece of advise I give my clients turning themselves in for a sentence of any length: Don't Bring Your Drugs, Weapons, and Other Contraband. (I would have added my advice, except that you have to pay to join MetaFilter. And usually people pay me for my advice, not the other way around.)

Two good recent news stories:

And, finally, since Sancho mentioned it...
The Blawgers Fantasy Baseball League. I finished in 7th. Which wasn't last place. The truth is, I tend to get discouraged early in the season (when I was in last place) and give up. But, hey, at least I wasn't in last place, right?
Sancho finished it out in 5th. Not too shabby. If anyone else wants to take credit for their final standings, the comments are open.

Glad we knocked a few of those little topics out.


  1. Google will actually do a lot of math problems. e.g. Convert 4.5 miles to km.

  2. Hey, kid-who-thinks-lawyers-can-solve-math-problems, the answer you're looking for is $48.60.

    I'm sure your math teach is one of those annoying jerks who insists you show your work, so here's the formula:

    d = m - m*(s+t)

    where "*" means multiply and

    d = cost of dinner
    m = maximum cost
    s = sales tax
    t = tip

    The trick is to express the sales tax and tip as decimal fractions, to 6% should be .06 not 6, and so on.

    Plugging m=60, s=.06, and t=.13 into the above equation gives

    d = 60 - 60 * (.06 + .13)

    reduce as follows

    d = 60 - 60 * (.06 + .13)
    d = 60 - 60 * (.19)
    d = 60 - 11.4
    d = 48.6

    giving you the answer of $48.60

    Hope that helps.

  3. Oops, I just realized I totally goofed my answer. It was kind of a trick question. You can't just add the percentages, you have to take them one at a time. The correct answer is $48.13

    It's a little more complicated, but here's the work:


    m = maximum cost
    n = maximum cost after tax but before tip
    s = sales tax
    t = tip
    d = cost of dinner

    we first calculate maximum after tax but before tip as

    Eq 1) n = m - m*t

    Then we calculate cost of dinner from that based on sales tax as

    Eq 2) d = n - n*s

    Now use equation 1 to substitute "m - m*t" for "n" in equation 2:

    Eq 3) d = (m - m*t) - (m - m*t)*s

    Now distribute the "s"

    Eq 4) d = (m - m*t) - (m*s - m*t*s)


    Eq 5) d = m - m*t - m*s - m*t*s

    Plugging in the numbers and reducing we get

    d = 60 - (60 * .13) - (60 * .06) - (60 * .13 * .06)

    d = 60 - 7.8 - 3.6 - .468
    d = 52.2 - 3.6 - .468
    d = 48.6 - .468
    d = 48.132

    That last .2 of a penny is crazy talk, so we round down to $48.13

    Sorry about my earlier mistake.

  4. Darn it, I made a dumb mistake going from equation 4 to equation 5. Given,

    Eq 4) d = (m - m*t) - (m*s - m*t*s)

    I rearranged it as

    Eq 5) d = m - m*t - m*s - m*t*s

    but the minus sign between the parenthesized terms cancels the minus sign inside the last set of parentheses, so the correct equation should actually be

    Eq 5') d = m - m*t - m*s + m*t*s

    Plugging in the numbers (again) and reducing (again) we get

    d = 60 - (60 * .13) - (60 * .06) + (60 * .13 * .06)
    d = 60 - 7.8 - 3.6 + .468
    d = 52.2 - 3.6 + .468
    d = 48.6 + .468
    d = 49.068

    The .8 cents is just as crazy as the .2 cents, so we round down to $49.06.

    (I almost rounded up, as you normally do with final digits greater than 5, but that would have been wrong because the answer is supposed to be a maximum, and $49.07 would have been too high. $49.06 is the most dinner can cost while keeping the result below $60. I'm glad I caught this before clicking "Publish" or I would have had to post another correction.)

  5. You know what, kid-who-thinks-Google-can-solve-math-problems? Making all those mistakes helps me realize that Blonde is wrong to call you lazy. Even with the internet, you have a hard job to do. Sure, Google can find answers to this problem, but how do you know it found correct answers?

    I suppose you could invert the answer to check the solution, but if you knew how to do that, you probably wouldn't have to google around for answers in the first place. Heck, for all you know, I'm some sadistic insomniac who just spent 20 minutes carefully working out three different fake answers to the question---all of which are wrong---just to mess with your head.

    That would sure suck.

  6. We had a DUI trial recently where in voir dire, one of the jurors revealed he was an alcoholic. After voir dire, one of the jurors sitting next to him went up to the clerk and told her he was drunk right then (she could smell alcohol on him).
    Yeah, he got booted. Defense attorney didn't even want him.

  7. I think the answer to the math problem depends on whether you figure the tip based on the before tax or after tax total bill. I have heard different opinions on which is appropriate.

  8., all of this math is bringing back memories of engineering school!

    I love the blond hair dye lawsuit!

  9. First off, I love that you claimed your 7th place...with dignity. I also love that mix tape site, I'll be posting my own soon...lets rock!