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Old 12-06-2005, 10:03 PM
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Dice are now "number cubes" -- more PC bullshit?

Today I was helping my 13-year-old neice with her math homework. It was an introduction to probability. The problems were like, "If you toss a pair of number cubes, what is the probability that both cubes will show the same number?" Well, I was pretty sure the "number cubes" in the problems were actually dice, but to be sure I read the whole chapter, and found that a number cube is "a cube with sides numbered 1 through 6". Not once did the word "dice" appear. Please tell me there's a legitimate reason for this nomenclature, and not just because we're so trying to protect children from the evils of gambling that we can't have a mention of dice in a middle school math textbook!
Old 12-06-2005, 10:10 PM
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Someone's taking "never say die" a little too literally?
Old 12-06-2005, 10:14 PM
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Perhaps they're trying to avoid upsetting the delicate little dears by making sure not to have to mention the singular form "die"?

(I once had a kiddy game witih instructions that started off ".......... then the eldest play take up the cup and die ........" )

Seriously, that *might* be the reason. Otherwise, I cannot imagine what is going on, as "dice" is a tidier word thatn "number cubes", surely.
Old 12-06-2005, 10:16 PM
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Just wanted to say I love the OP's handle, and it's certainly appropriate for this thread.
Old 12-06-2005, 10:20 PM
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The only thing I can think of is that "dice" are associated with gambling, which is evil!

Won't someone please think of the....well, you get the idea.
Old 12-06-2005, 10:22 PM
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Dice are traditionally made with spots or pips to represent the numbers 1 through 6, while a number cube is labeled with the actual numerals. The term is simply used to differentiate the one from the other.
Old 12-06-2005, 10:44 PM
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So a d6, d20, and so on are actually number cubes?

And it's probably a good thing I wasn't helping with the homework. I'd probably read it as "While shooting, what are the odds that you will hit the hardways, snake eyes, or boxcars?"
Old 12-06-2005, 10:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asterion
So a d6, d20, and so on are actually number cubes?
Well, only the d6. The d4 is a number tetrahedron, the d8 is a number octahedron, the d10 is a number decahedron, the d12 is a number dodecahedron, and the d20 is a number icosahedron.
Old 12-06-2005, 10:55 PM
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I did a google search on the term "number cubes" and came up with a whole bunhc of online lesson plans and the like that used that term and "dice" interchangably. So whatever the reason for coining the term, it was not to avoid mention of the word "dice."
Old 12-06-2005, 11:13 PM
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It started with an ignsignificant complaint by one Andrew Dice Clay.
Old 12-06-2005, 11:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miller
I did a google search on the term "number cubes" and came up with a whole bunhc of online lesson plans and the like that used that term and "dice" interchangably. So whatever the reason for coining the term, it was not to avoid mention of the word "dice."
I have a friend who teaches some college classes occasionally.

Down here (Bible Belt) dice are horrid things to the True Believers because they're associated with the super evil sin of gambling.

As such she has to refer to them as "random number generators".

No, I'm not joking.

-Joe
Old 12-06-2005, 11:35 PM
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I thought "PC bullshit" implied this cause was being advanced by foolish liberals. But if they're "True Believers" aren't they more likely to be foolish conservatives?
Old 12-07-2005, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celyn
Perhaps they're trying to avoid upsetting the delicate little dears by making sure not to have to mention the singular form "die"?
(I once had a kiddy game witih instructions that started off ".......... then the eldest play take up the cup and die ........" )

I remember having a Parcheesi set that had those very instructions. There was a plastic little colored cup to shake the dice in. I remember my Grandpa making jokes about the rules. "Now I'm afraid to play!"
Old 12-07-2005, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q.E.D.
Dice are traditionally made with spots or pips to represent the numbers 1 through 6, while a number cube is labeled with the actual numerals. The term is simply used to differentiate the one from the other.
Also, the number cube is not correctly labeled to be a die. One would need to either switch the positions of the 2 and 3, or of the 4 and 5. Please tell me I'm not the only one who noticed that
Old 12-07-2005, 12:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkbites
I remember having a Parcheesi set that had those very instructions. There was a plastic little colored cup to shake the dice in. I remember my Grandpa making jokes about the rules. "Now I'm afraid to play!"

I didn't *have*a grandpa! I *was* the oldest player. I still suffer the fear and torment.

As for the Bible Belt thing, do people *really* try to avoid any use or mention of dice for fear of the Evil Habits? Surely any amount of children's board games involve dice, without being linked to gambling in any real way.

As for "random number generator", blech!
Old 12-07-2005, 01:37 AM
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When I was in high school, they were referred to as random number generators.

Why?

District policy banned dice on campus, and forgot to leave an exception for instruction. So instead of having dice, they had random number generators which switched the positions of some of the numbers on the cube.

I'd figure it's not so much PC/Fundie stuff as it is getting around the regulations that most schools/districts have about having gambling paraphenalia on school grounds.
Old 12-07-2005, 05:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merijeek
As such she has to refer to them as "random number generators".
Random eh? That's just a theory, how could something so complicated and useful be random? Those numbers were intelligently designed.
Old 12-07-2005, 06:29 AM
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Lice are now "scalp bunnies". And they have "play dates" in your hair.
Old 12-07-2005, 06:42 AM
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It's got something to do with gambling. I have $20 that says so.
Old 12-07-2005, 06:42 AM
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Mod note:

Off to MPSIMS.
Old 12-07-2005, 06:56 AM
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Actually, it's my fault. I traumatized by the idea that people might be tossing around Dice. I was also somewhat confused as to why there was more than one of me, as well as being a bit concerned that the kiddies might hurt themselves. I'm not light, you know.
Old 12-07-2005, 07:17 AM
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In the sixth grade, one of my teachers was showing us all about calculating odds using a deck of playing cards. As he was setting up, he told us about a former student of his who was so good at it that he was now banned from the casinoes. I guess Mr. Dann wasn't that concerned about exposing us to gambling.
Old 12-07-2005, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo
I thought "PC bullshit" implied this cause was being advanced by foolish liberals. But if they're "True Believers" aren't they more likely to be foolish conservatives?
Nah. PC bullshit is anyone's game.
Old 12-07-2005, 08:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Love
Also, the number cube is not correctly labeled to be a die. One would need to either switch the positions of the 2 and 3, or of the 4 and 5. Please tell me I'm not the only one who noticed that
You're not.

Everybody knows that opposite faces are supposed to add up to seven, or at least they should know that.
Old 12-07-2005, 08:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exgineer
Everybody knows that opposite faces are supposed to add up to seven, or at least they should know that.
I peredict at least three posters will now mention they had no idea dice worked like that, and will, in fact, go inspect all their dice just to be sure.

And I remember actually calculating real odds for craps in my math classes in junior high, and friends and I always played cards and dice during study hall. Not for money, but still, I know a lot of schools now where anything of that nature is banned.
Old 12-07-2005, 08:38 AM
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I actually use eight-sided dice rather than number octahedrons; I also have a number monohedron for random numbers 1-100. It's not got 100 sides, so it's not a hectahedron; it's also not a die, because that would be really hard to read ("is that 56 or 57 pips?").
Old 12-07-2005, 09:02 AM
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I remember a (possibly apocryphal) story from my days at BYU (owned & operated by the Mormon church) in the 70's. The Statistics Dept. sent through a purchase order for several sets of dice to be used for classroom instruction. The PO was rejected by the higher-ups until they changed it to request "cubical random number generators," at which point it was approved.
Old 12-07-2005, 09:09 AM
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If they're straight dice, though, they're not random number generators. The whole point is that some combinations and totals have a higher probability of coming up than others. I might buy the terminology for a die.
Old 12-07-2005, 09:27 AM
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Yep, was going to say, "dice" and "number cubes" are two different (though similar) entities.

However, to put it to the test, let's look for a new, PC-written cookbook. If it tells you to "number cube the tomatoes", you might be on to something.
Old 12-07-2005, 10:02 AM
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Just change the pronunciation to "DEE-che" and be done with it.
Old 12-07-2005, 10:14 AM
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It's not PC bullshit, it's educational publishing company bullshit.

If the lesson plan calls for dice, the teacher can buy them for 99 cents at a local store. If they are called "number cubes", the school has to buy them for $5.

Notes on the results are kept by using cylindrical graphite sticks on flexible sheets of recycled cellulose pulp.
Old 12-07-2005, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Celyn
As for the Bible Belt thing, do people *really* try to avoid any use or mention of dice for fear of the Evil Habits? Surely any amount of children's board games involve dice, without being linked to gambling in any real way.
Somehow, growing up in a super-fundie family, I can't recall any problems with dies or dice naming when used with kids' games.

But I do remember that we were not allowed to have standard playing cards in the house, or use them anywhere else, because of their association with gambling, which as we all know, is the Devil's Handiwork, The Surest Road To Hell, the source of all teen pregnancies, and the inspiration for rock music.

And it didn't matter that card games could be played with standard cards in a non-gambling manner; the temptation would always be there, so they were banned. Conversely, it didn't matter that Flinch cards (which contain a single number from 1 to 15 on each, nothing more) COULD be used for gambling (can't anything?); they were just fine for the kids.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by asterion
If they're straight dice, though, they're not random number generators. The whole point is that some combinations and totals have a higher probability of coming up than others. I might buy the terminology for a die.
Now, now, individually, they generate random numbers. What we do with the results isn't their fault.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merijeek
I have a friend who teaches some college classes occasionally.

Down here (Bible Belt) dice are horrid things to the True Believers because they're associated with the super evil sin of gambling.

As such she has to refer to them as "random number generators".

No, I'm not joking.

-Joe
I have to agree with Joe on this one. My SO teaches elementary school and they can't use dice (shooting craps, you know) so she uses six sided random number generators Neither of us understands it, but the school seems to like it.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:17 AM
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We called them dice when I was in school, too, and I didn't turn out too badly. We also played hopscotch, which is now "square jumps", and drank fruit punch, which is now "flavored drink which does not imply any violence towards homosexuals". Okay, I'm kidding. But when math is over and it's time for art, remember that pipe cleaners are now called "chenille stems" to distinguish them from drug paraphernelia.

...no, that last one's not a joke.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:22 AM
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Tumblin' Number Cubes would probably be my least favorite Stones song.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:26 AM
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Or that song by Finley Quaye.

Nothing can compare
To when you roll the random number generators and you swear that your love's for me...



This is, seriously, no exaggeration, the dumbest thing I have ever heard.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Blue Sky
Just change the pronunciation to "DEE-che" and be done with it.
If I had read this 1/2 a second later, there'd be coffee on my monitor. Fortunately, I paused just long enough before sipping that my monitor was spared.

I definitely plan to call them DEE-che from now on though.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:34 AM
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These are dice.

These are number cubes.

I am seriously having a hard time getting worked up about this. You can call them one or the other, and it's not a crime. It's not PC anything. Both names are perfectly fine.

Happy Holidays.
Old 12-07-2005, 11:41 AM
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Look, I think this is a perfectly reasonable policy. If the ban on dice can stop one kid from falling into D&D addiction then it's all worth it.
Old 12-07-2005, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Trunk
Lice are now "scalp bunnies". And they have "play dates" in your hair.
Hee! You know how some things just strike you funnier than they should? I'm going to be chuckling over that for quite awhile now. Thanks!
Old 12-07-2005, 12:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Nemo
I thought "PC bullshit" implied this cause was being advanced by foolish liberals. But if they're "True Believers" aren't they more likely to be foolish conservatives?
The Religious Right has pretty much monopolized PC bullshit these days. Liberals are almost entirely out of the game.
Old 12-07-2005, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by bouv
I peredict at least three posters will now mention they had no idea dice worked like that, and will, in fact, go inspect all their dice just to be sure.
I just checked, and this seems to hold for all my dice except the 4-siders .
Old 12-07-2005, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by iamthewalrus(:3=
I just checked, and this seems to hold for all my dice except the 4-siders .
Works for mine. Then again, they have eight sides, so...
Old 12-07-2005, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemur866
Look, I think this is a perfectly reasonable policy. If the ban on dice can stop one kid from falling into D&D addiction then it's all worth it.
But as I asked, and jayjay corrected, D&D doesn't use dice. D&D uses number tetrahedron, cubes, octahedrons, decahedrons, dodecahedrons, and icosahedrons.

So you can't win. Either the kids use dice and fall into the sins of shooting craps and playing chuck-a-luck and sicbo, or they use number cubes and fall into the evil that is D&D.

Anyone else wonder if D&D would be more fun if you placed prop bets on what you are about to roll?
Old 12-07-2005, 01:49 PM
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I work for a testing company, and every state we make tests for do require something about probability and chance in their math content. Aside from flipping a coin, there's few other ways to describe simple probability situations. Our questions have to be phrased to simulate real-life situations, and we can't make any references to gambling. Thus, "number cubes" instead of dice.

It's not a PC thing. It's a CYA-in-case-somebody-sues-us thing.
Old 12-07-2005, 01:50 PM
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If you all will excuse me, I'm going to go ambulate down to the neaby intersection where me and my "domicled preadolescent males" will use our number cubes to throw some excretions (or "skeletal remains," in the vernacular of the street.)
Old 12-07-2005, 01:50 PM
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If you all will excuse me, I'm going to go ambulate down to the nearest intersection where me and my "domicled preadolescent males" will use our number cubes to throw some excretions (or "skeletal remains," in the vernacular of the street.)
Old 12-07-2005, 01:51 PM
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Hey I violated the UBB software's one post per minute rule!

I am a rock star.
Old 12-07-2005, 02:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hypno-Toad
In the sixth grade, one of my teachers was showing us all about calculating odds using a deck of playing cards. As he was setting up, he told us about a former student of his who was so good at it that he was now banned from the casinoes. I guess Mr. Dann wasn't that concerned about exposing us to gambling.
Heck, in my senior programming course, we designed a program to play 5-card draw. I attribute my complete lack of a desire to play craps to my understanding of basic statisitcs. I always thought the kind of policy where you will not teach kids about gambling is set in place by the gambling industry: the less people understand odds, the more likely they will be to want play games where they think they will win in the long run.

Want to stop gambling? Teach kids statisitics, using dice!
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