Tiger Mother Effectiveness During a Zombie Outbreak
In an article for Wired Magazine’s Geekdad Blog, I detail how the parenting techniques described in Amy Chua’s book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, can not only help develop a child into an exceptional student, but also turn them into a disciplined zombie combatant. In the course of the article, I describe how math skills can be made relevant to the ordinary zombie fighter and present two common scenarios that occur during an outbreak of flesh-eating corpses.
Below are the scenarios, as well as the mathematical and reality-based solutions:
You are being pursued by a zombie. The corpse’s pace averages 23 minutes/mile. You can run an 11-minute mile. If you run 7.5 miles, with two five-minute breaks, how long before you encounter a zombie again?
Mathematical Solution: At an 11min/mile pace, you can cover the 7.5 mile distance in 92.5 minutes, including the two 5-minute breaks. The pursuing zombie can cover the same distance in 172.5 minutes. Thus, you have 80 minutes before you encounter the pursuing zombie.
Reality-based Solution: Simply because it takes 80 minutes before the original pursuing zombie reaches your destination does not mean that other zombies in closer proximity will not amble to your location sooner. The moral: be on guard, especially if you pause to rest at an unsecure location accessible by more shambling ghouls.
Your weapon can only crush another 35 undead skulls before failing. Your exit is blocked by a room packed with the living dead. The room is 10 x 8 feet, and the average standing zombie occupies a space of two square feet. Can you eliminate all the attackers in the room?
Mathematical Solution: At 10×8, the room’s square footage is 80 square feet. If a standing zombie occupies 2 square feet, then the packed room can house 40 standing zombies. Thus, when your weapon fails, you will have five more zombies left.
Reality-based Solution: Although your weapon fails after the 35 crushed undead skulls, there is absolutely no reason that you should be armed with only one armament. The experience zombie fighter knows that you need to equip yourself with at least two weapons: a primary and a secondary weapon, to address a scenario just like this one. Additionally, the skilled combatant will be able to dispose of five undead attackers with only their four limbs, provided they use the proper technique.
The reasoning for the two different solutions is this - there is often more than one answer to a particular solution: the strict mathematical answer and the one based on real-world experience and common sense. Another possible shortcoming of Tiger parenting is that individuals may disregard the latter in favor of the former. In everyday life and in a world of living corpses, remember that answers gained from hands-on experience can often be as important as ones derived from your analytical mind.