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Ann Coulter's usual tricks... - Unbeliever's Land
...The continuing chronicles...
Ann Coulter's usual tricks...
I have a dark, shameful secret.

I read Ann Coulter's columns.

I know, I know, there are much better things I should be filling my mind with than her brand of screaming right-wing idiocy.

But it's like a car accident -- I can't help rubbernecking as I go by...

So this week she's got herself in a tizzy about an email by a climate scientist that got released into the internets somehow, which includes the words "trick" and "hide the decline". You see, those phrases, by themselves, in one email by one scientist, PROVE BEYOND ANY DOUBT that ALL GLOBAL WARMING EVIDENCE is a GIGANTIC FRAUD perpetuated by liberals in order to... I dunno. Sell more books by Al Gore, or something.

In the last sentence of her article, Coulter screams that "global warming cultists want us all dead" -- which I don't even begin to understand. Global warming "cultists" want to effect change to AVOID catastrophe. Even if they were completely wrong in every respect, in what way does that translate into WANTING us dead?

Oh yeah, I keep forgetting. This is Ann Coulter. It's not SUPPOSED to make sense.

But one of her arguments is that the only valid definition of the word "trick" is "deceive", and that therefore we have a smoking gun showing scientists intending to deceive.

So I just thought I'd provide an example of a cute, useful, non-deceiving "trick". I learned this in elementary school, and it's stuck with me ever since.

Say you've got a really big number, and you want to know if it's evenly divisible by 3. (For whatever reason.)

For this example, I will choose: 28,943,628,264.

Wow. Big number. That's gonna take a calculator, or a lot of long division, right?

Naaah. It's easy. Just add up all the digits: 2+8+9+4+3+6+2+8+2+6+4 = 54.

Does the result have more than one digit? Do it again: 5+4 = 9.

If the final result is 3, 6, or 9, then your original number is evenly divisible by 3.

So 28,943,628,264 (which was simply the result of me randomly banging the digit keys) happens to be evenly divisible by 3!

That's a neat trick! It's a "trick", because it's a simple technique that provides the right answer without going through the grief and tedium of the "direct approach".

There's no deception involved. The result is correct. Prove it yourself; whip out your calculator to find out that 28,943,628,264 divided by 3 is precisely 9,647,876,088. No remainder.

There's no other digit this works for. Add up the digits for 17, 1+7 = 8, but 17 isn't evenly divisible by 4, or 8 (or anything but 1 and 17).

But for 3, this technique works. I dare you to think of this as anything BUT a "cute trick".

But if you're a climate scientist, better do all the long division by hand (on paper, in INK, no scratch-outs or do-overs if you write something down wrong), lest you be accused of using a TRICK...

(On the other hand, to be fair, I'm sure that deception is the only "trick" Ms. Coulter knows...)

Current Emotional State: cranky cranky

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