Why math matters

From Number 2 Pencil’s education news round-up comes this sad story from the Times-Colonist of Victoria, British Columbia:

Confused about how to divide “kilos” of cocaine into ounces for sale, two teens from a Saanich private school turned to their math teacher for help, provincial court heard Monday.

An 18-year-old woman testified that a classmate — when they were both Grade 11 students at St. Margaret’s School for girls — returned from the Thanksgiving holiday with a large quantity of cocaine which she intended to sell.

But the two girls, who cannot be named because they were under age 18 at the time of the alleged incident, were unsure of its value since neither knew how many ounces there are in a kilogram.

“She asked me and I didn’t know. We were in math class so the teacher would know. So I asked,” said the testifying student.

Police, who seized the cocaine from a school locker, said it was in two “bricks” weighing 0.468 and 0.506 kilograms. No word yet on how many ounces that is.

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  1. Just for kicks, the bricks were 16.508 oz. and
    17.849 oz., respectively.

  2. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Yes, but how much?

  3. Based on this press release at http://www.customs.gov/xp/cgov/newsroom/press_releases/archives/legacy/2002/82002/08292002.xml, 35 pounds (560 ounces) of cocaine has an estimated street value of $560,000, so at $1,000 an ounce, we’re talking about over $34,000. Of course, that was a two year old press release.

  4. And more importantly, why did it matter? Get a scale, and start filling those baggies. School certainly needs a critical thought makeover.

  5. JimInNOVA says:

    I agree with Mike, wouldn’t the easiest solution be to just start weighing out 1 oz. baggies until it was gone?

    Kids these days, can’t even figure out how to become drug dealers.

  6. Mark Odell says:

    neither knew how many ounces there are in a kilogram.

    Why didn’t they simply Google for “kilogram to ounce convert“?

  7. And all of that aside, I thought they sold coke by the gram. At least they did during my mispent youth. IIRC it also had a better markup that way. Best they got busted early though, with low native intelligence like this they could get very dead quickly.

  8. It’s a classic word problem. “Susie and Betty are holding a kilo of coke for Tom. When Tom finds two ounces missing, how many times will Susie and Betty get stabbed?”

  9. But what kind of ounces? If you’re measuring cocaine in ounces, wouldn’t you use Troy ounces, as for other expensive substances? Or, at $1k/oz (avdp.), is it getting up into the range where it should be measured in carats?

  10. I’d post something worthwhile about this, but I’m not sure if this is funny, sad, or an odd combination of the two.

  11. Mad Scientist says:

    No Eric, Troy ounces (1 ozT = 31.15 gm) are traditionally used for precious metals. Pharmaceuticals uses standard ounces, but preferably grams.

  12. Lou Gots says:

    Here in Philadelphia, we call this “~~~~yday Math.”

  13. Scott, I know the answer to that one:
    The answer is “C” – 16 times or until they stop moving.