Ask Dr. Math: The Math Doctors' Newsletter

by Stacey Bearden

August, 1999

Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 22:11:13 -0400 (EDT)
From: Stacey Bearden
To: All Dr. Math Doctors
Subject: Dr. Math in August

Ask Dr. Math Newsletter
August, 1999

Hiya docs, and welcome to September.  Which of course means welcome to 
the new school year and tons of questions pouring in each day.  I 
certainly noticed the difference as I was compiling the stats for the 
month; during the first five days of August, we received 527 questions, 
and in the last five days of the month, we received 1046.  Ah, the joys 
of the new school year!  Speaking of stats...

4431 -- incoming questions
1736 -- answered questions
39.2% -- percent answered

Good job everybody!

And a big welcome to the new math doctors this month:
Dr. Hans

Dr. TWE (aka Tom Epp) is a Math Forum employee who will be doing some work 
with Dr. Math.  Keep an eye out for him.

And now, the highly-acclaimed (read "never acclaimed")...
Tip of the Month!

August's Tip:  Ever spend a long time writing a response, only to find 
out after sending it that it was a bad-address or that another doc 
answered it?  The best way to lower the chance of that happening is to 
reload your triage page after each question you answer.  Then, anything 
that has happened while you were writing your response will show up.  In 
addition, you might want to keep away from the questions at the very tip 
top of the triage page; these have just arrived and bad-address messages 
have not had time to come through.

And now the news and notes from Master Archivist, Sarah Seastone:


Archiving stats:

More than 160 new answers were added to the Dr. Math tables of
contents during July and August of 1999.

And a note for the mathdocs:

The archivists would prefer to see fewer exclamation points showing
up in answers. As the Problem of the Week administrators have pointed
out, exclamation points can be easy for students to confuse with
factorials. No number should ever be followed by a ! unless it's a
factorial, but it's also probably just as well to write text with as
few of them as possible. One makes an impact, but two dilutes the
effect, and with three the effect is really watered down.


Dr. Melissa, another Forum employee who works with Dr. Math, adds:


There's a nice new item in the Why/How to Study Math FAQ: the
Learning Strategies Database.


She also notes that when you find an error in the archives, or are made 
aware of one by a thread in triage, please write to>.  Your note is easiest to process if 
it details what is wrong in the archive, exactly where, and precisely 
what it should look like when corrected.  

Thanks to all who have been helping by pointing out these errors and 
other things that the administrators and archivists should be aware of.

And now, the fun, feel-good part of the newsletter -- the thank yous:


for Drs. Ian and Jaffee:
THANK YOU!  Your explanations were priceless and I learned a lot. I 
wish my teachers showed it as easily!  
Thanks again,   

for Dr. Tom:
Thank You Dr. Math.  My Dad and I went to the Web site, and found out
that there are six balls chosen from 42 total.  We did
(42*41*40*39*38*37)/(1*2*3*4*5*6) and got the correct answer (which 
was not 55 million - my dad doesn't know where he got that number.  
Thank you for your help!

for Dr. Lilla:
Thank you for you explanation.  It was very lucid and to the point and 
covered exactly what I wanted to know.  Just a fantastic job.

for Dr. Floor:
Thank you very much indeed.
You are the best initiative I have found in the web.
Your answer was very clear, I was blind with the light
of the obvious and you wake me up of the foolness.
Bye and hold on.

for Drs. Jerry and Rick:
Just want to say thank you for the big help you've done. I've looked 
all over and I can't get any help. but you did it for me. Thank you 
very much once again, and i'll be asking you more when time comes. 
always... Manuel C.

for Dr. Peterson: (and this is just the subject line:)
Oh, thank you so much... I can not possibly show you how much I
appreciated your help! THANK YOU SO MUCH AGAIN!

for Dr. Annie:
Good morning Dr. Annie.  Thank you so much for making that so simple :-)  
I don't think percentages will be giving me any more trouble, thanks to 
you. Have a wonderful day.  


And that's just the handful that caught my eye! There were about 85 
thank-you notes this month, so watch your inboxes; you may be receiving 
one (or more).

Well, that's it for this month.  I hope everyone has a wonderful 

Dr. Stacey
Doctor Math Administrator
The Math Forum