Admittedly, my source for this is not the best (Newsweek’s “Perspectives,”) but here goes:

Rosie O’Donnell was quoted as saying, “I think there’s no way they should have to teach [math] now. We have computers. We no longer need to know why 3x=2y/4.”

Oh, great. With all the people we get on SDMB griping about how they or their children don’t need to learn math because “they’re not going to be a mathematician or anything like that,” we now have a celebrity backing them up. And her logic is priceless: we don’t need math because “we have computers.” Huh? Most people use their computers to download porn and play “Hollywood Squares” at home. What does that have to do with algebra? What on earth is going on inside this woman’s resonantly empty head? Does she think you can carry your PC to the grocery store and have it calculate your grocery bill? Does she think you can stick your W-2’s in a slot and have your computer spit out a finished 1040?

In fact, O’Donnell has the one career for which one doesn’t need math. She’s a Hollywood Squares celebrity. Not only does her job not require rational thought, it also makes her so much money that she can hire accountants to sweep all her math beneath the carpet so that she no longer even knows what, hypothetically, math might be good for. All she needs to do is sit in a little box, make faces when the camera is pointed at her, and, in her off hours, consume goods. Who needs math?

takes out her TI-86 Types in 3x=2y/4 Hits enter Frowns at the error message on the screen
How should I take care of this. Hmmmm, I could always solve for Y and graph it. But wait, that would take Algebra! I didn’t learn algebra because we have computers! Now what?

On a more serious note, I haven’t met a calculator yet that can solve for two variables without graphing. Is there one out there?

you want to get yourself a TI-92, dearie.
one might conceivably want to know algebra, as in addition to extending one’s logical abilities, it certainly helps pass the SAT…1570 oh yeah.

She has her own magazine now. This is just so wrong. Must… control… fists… of… death.

Don’t need algebra?! What the fuck?! Sometimes I swear that the media is nothing more than a pulpit for idiocy. And I used to like Rosie way back when she was just a comdian.

I’m with you, waterj2. Way back when she first appeared on the scene, I kind of liked her. Brassy, loud, take-no-crap, moderately funny.

But it seems that her likeability has been draining away, much like the sand from an hourglass, every time she does or says something stupid, hypocritical, or indefensible. Grain by grain, bit by bit, day by day.

At this rate, in … um… (consults TI-92) … in 417 days, I’m going to rent a Humvee, crash through the front of her TV studio, and run over her as she sits at her little talk-show desk.

I admit that at one time I thought her funny and a relatively nice person. I hate the wind bag now. The world has to comform to her point of view on everything. She’s become a whinny baby that has to give out presents at her shows so the people will applaud.

Rosie quote “I don’t give autographs to adults, only childern.” Who asks every guest to autograph something on her show? Rosie!

I’m just posting to express agreement with what everybody else has said. If somebody is buying a copy of that dumbass magazine in a store, they deserve to be shortchanged. After all, how can they know about it if they can’t do math?

Rosie’s ‘new’ magazine used to go by the respectable name of McCall’s.

My mom is (well, was) long-time subscriber of McCall’s magazine. Apparently, her current subscription is carrying over to the Rosie magazine. According to Mom, 3/5 of the magazine is composed of two-page ad spreads for nearly every beauty product and prescription drug imaginable. And to top it all off, Fran Drescher is on the front cover this month.

Given two equations, it’s not that difficult to figure out the code needed to solve for those two variables.

In general, in my experience, given n variables and n equations with at least two of them, code can be written to solve for 'em. And you don’t even need a stinking TI-92:)

But that’s STILL too difficult! In fact, I think we should ban the written word, because we can just SAY stuff to each other. In this day and age of television, who needs books?

Who needs to learn how to read? We can have books on tape. Or TV! Or have the computer read out the text for us! Who needs books anymore? That’s what TV is for! Sheesh - too many people are almost at that point already, and she wants to further the ignorance?

Who needs to think? That’s why we have Rosie - to do our thinking for us!

I hated Math in school, but this woman is an utter, ignorant twit. Even though I don’t like math, I have the ability (and see the value in) being able to add up your change, or, more importantly, be able to figure out how many yards of fabric you need to sew a garment. (And figure out how much the total yardage will cost.) Figuring out yardage is important stuff, OK?!?!?

::looking at the preview of this thread:: Ack! Spoofe! Great minds think alike! Yes indeed! This reading thing is totally outdated!

The highly trained psychics of the Fenris News Network predict:

Rosie, squirming under the scrutiny that the stupidity of her statements brought will have a news conference where:

#1) She cries #1.5) She gets angry #2) She claims she was misunderstood/misquoted #2.5) She implies that the infamous “Math makes my haid hurt” Barbie implanted the phrase in her subconcious. #3) She says that either the NRA, the Republicans or both are responsible for being misunderstood/misquoted #4) She claims that what she really meant was that there’s nothing wrong with algebra for those who can demonstrate legitimate need. She suggests a 10 day waiting period for scientific calculators. #4) She reiterates the original “Algebra is for saps” message

A few days later, as Anthracite says, it’ll turn out that her kids have an algebra tutor.

She’ll hold another news conference where:

#1) She cries #1.5) She gets angry #2) She says that Charlton Heston’s or George W. Bush’s children/grandchildren are learning algebra, and her kids are getting a special tutor to maintain parity. #3) Her tutor is a trained, licesensed mathmatician…so it’s ok. #4) She again blamest either the NRA, the Republicans or both. For everything. #5) She reiterates the original “Algebra is for saps” message

This has been a DATELINE: NEXT WEEK special from FENRIS NEWS NETWORKS…We now return you to your regular rant, now in progress…

Every time the subject of the usefulness of maths comes up, people start talking about working out their change or doing their accounts.

All fair enough and practical examples, though there are more complex examples out there that would illustrate better the use of more advanced maths than simple addition.

But to me this misses the real point of why maths is so important.

Maths is important for the same reason that art, literature or music is important. It elevates us to beyond that of the base. Maths, proper maths, is pure thought and where thought can take us. It is an object of beauty made all the more divine by the fact that the beauty is hardwired directly to the brain without tedious interception from inefficient neurones.

Adding our change helps us live. But we also need a reason to live. The study of maths is one of many things that can provide such a reason.

And the point is that until you study it fully at school, you just don’t know whether it is something that speaks to you or not. I was 17 before I started doing the maths at school that really interested me. If I’d given it up at 14 because I already knew how to perform simple calculations, I’d have missed out on an important part of life.

And then of course there’s the fact that my current knowledge of maths - statistics in particular - helps to make me lots of money…

Precisely, my friend. It’s idiotic to only aim your expectations at the lowest common denominator. If we only did the bare minimum to get by in all walks of life - politics, society, art, economy - all of humanity would stagnate into extinction.

Sure, counting change is important… but let’s not forget the advancement of that skill: taxes. Or figuring out information regarding trajectories of a car accident. Or designing a new shelf in your den.

Math is important, ultimately, for one reason: LOGIC. While I hate to sound like a Vulcan, it’s important for people to have a grasp on advanced calculations and relationships between values in order to properly operate.