Adding the temperature

by JP Wang

Quoted from Surely You are Joking, Mr. Feynman!

Finally I come to a book that says, “Mathematics is used in science in many ways. We will give you an example from astronomy, which is the science of stars.” I turn the page, and it says, “Red stars have a temperature of 4,000 degrees, yellow stars have a temperature of 5,000 degrees . . .” — so far, so good. It continues: “Green stars have a temperature of 7,000 degrees, blue stars have a temperature of 10,000 degrees, and violet stars have a temperature of . . . (some big number).” There are no green or violet stars, but the figures for the others are roughly correct. It's vaguely right — but already, trouble! That’s the way everything was: Everything was written by somebody who didn’t know what the hell he was talking about, so it was a little bit wrong, always! And how we are going to teach well by using books written by people who don't quite understand what they're talking about, I cannot understand. I don't know why, but the books are lousy; UNIVERSALLY LOUSY! 

I'm a bit unhappy when I read about the stars' temperatures, but I'm not very unhappy because it’s more or less right — it’s just an example of error. Then comes the list of problems. It says, 

“John and his father go out to look at the stars. John sees two blue stars and a red star. His father sees a green star, a violet star, and two yellow stars. What is the total temperature of the stars seen by John and his father?” 

— and I would explode in horror.  There's no purpose whatsoever in adding the temperature of two stars....more....

It seems unbelievable?  Or actually we are adding the temperature everywhere in real life.

what's the performance of an employee? 40% of sales, 20% of attitude, and 30% of customer satisfaction.

what's job fitness for a job candidate? 30% of hard skills, 25% of personalities, 15% of academic background, 15% of work experience, and 15% of demographic profile.

How about SAT exams? university rankings? best cities to live? best football players? stock portfolio? risk assessment? or M&A analysis?   Things are just too easy to be true, of course, in different Levels.