Saturday, April 16, 2011

Saturday April 16, 2011

This is federal election time in Canada as well as budget talk in the US. Questions are based on those!

  • The total US debt  as of March 25, 2011 is  14.26 trillion dollars. How much is 1 trillion? (Just to put this number in perspective - total public parking spaces (metered/road) etc. in San Francisco is about 500,000. Average cost of a car in that area is about $30,000. Compare the debt in terms of some quantity you can imagine.
  • Here is an alternate way to understand this figure. The population of US is approx. 311,000,000. Whats the debt per person then? per family? What will a family do if they are in such a debt?
  • Canada's debt is approximately 540 billion dollars, and population is 33,739,000. Compare the debt per person and per family v/s US. Growing economy like India has a debt of approximately 750 billion $s. Population is 1.2 billion. 
  • What is debt? This is essentially what govt. owns to people (shares/bonds...). Usually it is seen in comparison to GDP, gross domestic production. This is the market value of all the goods and services produced within a country in one year.  Canada's GDP is about 1.6 trillion $, debt around 540 billion $. US GDP is 14.6 trillion and debt 14 trillion. (How can Prime Minister/President reduce debt and increase GDP - whats a healthy economy?) 
  • During the federal election in Canada, it is claimed that the cost of election is $300 million dollars. Calculate whats the cost of election per household in Canada? We are having almost one election/year - as opposed to one in 5 years.
  • In 2008, in Canadian elections, there were approximately 23,000,000 voters on list and only 14,000,000 voted. The distribution of votes in this election between main parties (Conservatives, Liberal, Bloc, NDP, Green) were  (38%,27%,10%,18%,7%) and the number of seats in the parliament were (143, 77, 49, 37, 0), respectively.  What do these numbers mean? Does parliament reflect the % of votes? Can you think of a better mechanism?
  • If you hear the results on May 2, after the polls close, you will see many types of graphs, analysis, trends, ups and downs etc.   Can you think of drawing a line graph whose slopes are 1, 0, -1, 2, 3, -2, -3.  What linear equations these graphs satisfy assuming that they pass through the origin.  
  • If I have a line segment, lets say originating at (0,2) and ending at (4,13), then I can measure its length by actually drawing it and then use a ruler. Can I do in some other way as well?  In general if the coordinate of the endpoints are (x1,y1) and (x2,y2), what is its length?

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