Sunday, 21 February 2016

Quibans 21: Shoppers fail to spot cheapest deals

So many people have sent me a link to this news story!  One way to use it would be to give students the link to the story and to ask them to read it.  They could create questions on the way through and then answer the questions in the quiz.

Unfortunately the answers are given at the end of the article, so you might want to use this cut-down version:

Shoppers 'fail to spot cheapest deals'

Most grocery shoppers are unable to identify the cheapest deals when faced with a blizzard of "special offers" in stores, financial experts say.

The Money Advice Service asked just over 2,000 consumers to select the best value deals from four sets of offers. Only 2% of those asked answered all four questions correctly.

In the survey, 76% of those asked said they spent more than they intended, after being enticed by special offers, paying an average £11 extra per shop.

Later on Thursday, Sainsbury's announced that it would phase out multi-buy promotions by August 2016. Sainsbury's Marketing Director, Sarah Warby said customers had told them they found multi-buy promotions "confusing" and created "logistical challenges at home in terms of storage and waste." The government-backed Money Advice Service said shoppers should look at the price per unit to compare costs. It also suggested making, and sticking to a shopping list.

Special offers test
The Money Advice Service tested shoppers with the following questions (answers at the bottom)

1. Of the following options for milk, which represents the best deal?
a) Six pints of milk for £1.80
b) Four pints of milk for £1.40
c) Two six-pint cartons of milk on offer for £3.50
d) Two four-pint cartons of milk on offer for £2

2. Of the following options for buying 500g of lemons, which represents the best deal?
a) One 500g pack of lemons costing £1.20
b) 500g of loose lemons at £2.50 per kilo
c) Buy two get the third free deal on 200g packs of lemons costing 70p each
d) Buy one get one half-price deal on 250g packs of lemons costing 70p each

3. Of the following options for buying tomato ketchup, which represents the best deal?
a) One 460g bottle on offer at £1.50
b) One 910g bottle costing £2.49
c) Buy one get one half-price deal on 700g bottles costing £2.29 each
d) One 1.35kg bottle costing £3.50

4. Of the following options for buying eggs, which represents the best deal?
a) Six medium eggs for £1.10
b) Ten medium eggs on offer for £1.50
c) Fifteen medium eggs for £2.10
d) Two packs of six medium eggs on offer for £2
e) Buy one get one free offer on packs of 10 medium eggs priced at £2.20

Other possible questions:
  • Roughly how many people got all four questions right?
  • 76% spent £11 more (on average).  How much (on average) was spent by each person?
  • Why might you sometimes not want to buy the best value option?

Answers to the quiz:
1d (25p per pint); 2d (£2.10 per kilo); 3c (£2.45 per kilo); 4e (11p per egg)


Quibans 20: Three short Quibans (from 'Go Figure')

The BBC has a feature on its website called Go Figure: The week in numbers.

Each day they tweet an image related to a number-filled news story and they gather these together at the end of the week.  Here are three short Quibans (with slightly longer versions that involve starting with the same image but then with extra information).  The short ones could be starter activities.

Quibans 20.1:  What questions can you ask/answer?
Shorter version:

Possible questions:

  • How much sugar should an adult have per year?
  • How many large chai lattes could an adult drink per year?
  • Three days would clearly be 90g of sugar, so how long (in days/hours/etc) should this drink be made to last?
Longer version:
'Shocking' sugar levels in High Street hot drinks, warns charity
"I used to drink a large white cafe mocha with caramel and vanilla syrup, cream on top, caramel and chocolate drizzle at Starbucks - approximately three times a day, seven days a week.
"I did this for about a year. At the time, I knew this drink had lots of sugar and fat, but I wasn't aware of just how much.
"At one point the assistant manager refused to serve me because they were concerned of the health impact. The rest of the staff continued to serve me.
"I drastically cut back on these sugary drinks after I was diagnosed with a very high cholesterol level and liver problems three years ago.
"I still have high cholesterol now and was recently diagnosed with a fatty liver - which means it is not working properly - not from alcohol but from sugar."
How much did the person quoted in the article exceed his annual sugar intake by?

Quibans 20.2:  What questions can you ask/answer?
Shorter version:

How much?! Some think the new smartphone will sell at a 90% loss

Possible questions:

  • What is the exchange rate between RS and $ ?
  • What is the cost of making them if they are sold at a 90% loss?
Longer version:
Is India’s $3.60 smartphone too good to be true?
On Wednesday evening a virtually unknown Indian company launched the "world's cheapest smartphone", named Freedom 251, for 251 rupees ($3.60; £2.50), in Delhi.

According to media reports, the Indian Cellular Association has written to telecoms minister Ravi Shankar Prasad saying it was not possible to sell a 3G phone below 2,700 rupees.

Smartphones, on the other hand, saw a huge spread in prices. But the top selling category, accounting for over 22% of smartphones sold in India in 2015, were for 4,000 to 6,000 rupees - rather than in the cheapest price range for smartphones, which starts below 3,000 rupees. So cheapest isn't the bestseller for smartphones.
Possible questions:
  • How much (in £) should the cheapest 3G phone cost?
  • How many smartphones cost between 4,000 and 6,000 Rupees?
  • What is the approximate total cost of those phones (in £)?

Quibans 20.3:  What questions can you ask/answer?
Shorter version:
Coffee pods make up one third of the €18bn (£13.9bn) Western European coffee market.

Possible questions:

  • Find out how much a pod costs (Google, or online shopping site).  Then work out how many are sold each year.
  • How much packaging is produced?

Longer version:
Is there a serious problem with coffee capsules?

Coffee pods make up one third of the €18bn (£13.9bn) Western European coffee market.

In the last year more than £112m-worth of coffee pods were sold in the UK, up by a third from 2014. Sales are expected to treble by 2020, at which point coffee capsule sales could overtake those of tea bags.

In Halifax, 200,000 or more capsules have been kept away from landfill by convincing residents to take their coffee in a different manner.

Nespresso runs its own recycling programme, where it picks up used capsules for reuse. A company spokesperson said that it has in place the capacity to recycle over 80% of used capsules

Two billion cups of coffee are drunk around the world every day and 25 million families rely on growing coffee for a living. Over the past 15 years, consumption of the drink has risen by 43% - but researchers are warning that the world's most popular coffee, Arabica, is under threat.

  • What fraction of the coffee pods sold in Western Europe were bought in the UK?
  • What was the cost of the UK pods in 2014?
  • 200,000 is what fraction of the UK pods sold in 2015?
  • How many pods can Nespresso?  [NB: they "have the capacity" to recycle this many - it doesn't mean that people do recycle them!]
  • How many cups of coffee does each producer create (on average) per day?
  • Global consumption of coffee has grown over the past 15 years.  But so has the global population.  Google the population 15 years ago and now and find out whether coffee consumption per person has actually gone up or down, and by how much.


Saturday, 6 February 2016

Quibans 19: Stolen Road

Bizarre, brief Quibans from BBC News:

Russia highway robbery: Official 'stole 50km road'

A senior prison official has been detained in Russia accused of stealing a 50km (31-mile) length of highway.

Police said Alexander Protopopov, acting deputy chief of Russia's prison service, oversaw the dismantling of the road in the far-northern Komi region. He then sold off its 7,000 reinforced concrete slabs for personal profit, they added. Officials believe the scheme cost the government more than 6m roubles ($79,000; £54,000).

The road was "dismantled and driven away" over the period of more than a year, between 2014 and 2015, the Investigative Committee said in a statement quoted by the AFP news agency.

The concrete slabs were then used by a commercial company which also sold them on for a profit, it added.

The construction of a mountain highway for the Sochi Winter Olympic Games cost about $8bn (£5.6bn), with Russian media claiming it would cost the same to slather the 48km road with black caviar.
So many questions!

  1. How big are the concrete slabs?
  2. How much does each slab cost?
  3. What is the exchange rate between Roubles, Dollars and Pounds?
  4. How much did the Sochi road cost per km?
  5. How thick would the caviar be?


Quibans 18: Library books

from The Independent:
On National Libraries Day, behold the world's most overdue library books

Saturday the 6 February marks National Libraries Day.  In celebration of our local libraries here's a round-up of the most overdue books in the history of the world.

The Law of Nations.  Checked out 1789, replaced in 2010
George Washington borrowed this essay on international affairs from the New York Society Library in 1789. It was replaced 221 years later - though the first US President had accrued a fine of $300,000 (£195,000).

Days and Deeds.  Checked out 1955, taken back in 2002
The largest fine paid for an overdue library book is $345.14 (£203.29). Emily Canellos-Simms paid the fine to Kewanee Public Library in Illinois after finding the book in her mother’s house.
The Picture of Dorian Gray.  Checked out 1934, taken back in 2012
Harlean Hoffman Vision returned the Oscar Wilde novel to Chicago Public Library during an amnesty on fines. She said she feared she would face jail time.

Possible questions:
  1. Are the figures here reasonable?  (Hint: no!)
  2. How do we know the Law of Nations figure is likely to be wrong?
  3. What would be a reasonable fine for Law of Nations?
  4. Using the Days and Deeds fine, how much would The Picture of Dorian Gray's borrower have been fined?
  5. Cambridgeshire public libraries charge an overdue fee of 25p per day.  Havering council charge 36p per day.  How much would the fines have been for these books had they been borrowed from a Cambs library or a Havering library?


1&2) 221 years is about 221 x 365 = 80665 days. That is £2.42 per day!
3) Days and Deeds was out for about 47 years and the fine was £203.29, which works out at 1.2 pence per day. Using this figure for Law of Nations gives £956. Lots, but not as much as quoted. Using the 25p per day charged in Cambridgeshire, you get £20,166.
4) About £337
5) Law of Nations: £20,166 in Cambs, £29,039 in Havering.
Days and Deeds: £4289 and £6176.
Dorian Gray: £7118 and £10249.

It is worth noting that Cambridgeshire has a maximum fine for one book of £5.


Quibans 85: Crime and Police figures

From the Cambridge News: Violent crime in Cambridge has nearly doubled in a decade as police numbers drop 9 APR 2018 Bottom of For...