Wine gift baskets aren’t exactly the first place to find much math, but in the proces of putting together a few for my friends and family this Christmas, I found it an enjoyable way to teach some basic math to my toddler.

First, we had to find some generic costs for shipping.  Luckily, the Fedex website gave us a good idea about the cost of shipping wine and our baskets to our family in New York City.

Secondly, we had to add up everything we wanted to include to not only check the price, but to also get some idea about sizes, since our box was only going to hold so many items.

Lastly, we had to add up the size of the basket, along with packaging supplies in order to get some idea about the size of a box that we needed.

While I realize, that we usually talk about much, much more complicated math on this site, I thought it might be interesting to see what affect doing some math calculations like this could have with my toddler.  He seemed to not only enjoy it, but now seems to be more interested in counting things as well, so it is clearly a huge “win”

## Patterns in Society

One of the most intriguing things about Mathematics is the patterns that can be found within the subject. It is possible to use a formula from one equation across the board and apply it to something else. It certainly helped me to make sense of the subject when I was at school as there seemed to be connections woven throughout the area of Mathematics.

Patterns have always fascinated me, and it’s interesting to look into previous events and try to predict what might happen in the future. In terms of society, the ‘Arab Spring’ is also something that I have become interested in over the last couple of years. It could be argued that the uprising across Africa and Western Asia stemmed from the War in Iraq, and the citizens of these countries were inspired by the overthrowing of Saddam Hussein.

From there, the citizens of countries such as Egypt and Libya revolted against their respective leaders, with varying degrees of success. The media is now obviously focused on events surrounding Syria and it remains to be seen whether there will be some sort of intervention from outside forces; of course this all depends on the Western media’s portrayal of the issue.

The uprising in Egypt was generally successful, compared with that in Libya. Although the majority of the people of Libya, and Western leaders, got what they wanted, there is still unrest in the country where opposing forces are still fighting and the newly appointed provisional parliamentary republic is having trouble enforcing their control on the country.

It is important to look at the patterns of the past to determine what the future holds for the country of Syria.

Further Information

Harry Collins – Using a VPN to Communicate in Middle East and Africa – US IP Proxy

## Military Pay Chart a Marvel of Mathematics

This 2013 military pay chart is the result of a complicated algorithm of pay considerations based on a members rank and length of service.  The charts origins are a feat of mathematics.

Military pay charts are available through multiple different websites. However, understanding or locating all the different types of pay and allowances can seem like an overwhelming task, because currently there are over 70 different types. The most simple and straight forward to locate is the base pay chart.

Whether the active duty member is enlisted, commissioned officer, or a warrant officer the different ranks equate to a pay grade. The pay grades translate uniformly across all the different branches of the military. Beyond the individual’s pay grade, the amount of time in service is also a factor of pay. For every two years of service the active duty member receives a slight increase in pay. This last bit of information can be difficult to decipher because after certain number of years a pay grade will hold steady until the end of the chart. The reason for this occurrence is that if a member is unable to attain the next higher pay grade, then the individual is discharged from service. It works in a similar way to some European forces, in particular check out the French armed forces, although you’ll need a French IP address to check online.

The pay grade will traditionally appear on the left side of the chart in descending order the hierarchy, while the time in service will appear along the top running from left to right, least to greatest. To obtain a member’s base, simply locate his or her pay grade on the left, and follow the row over until the column that reflects time in service is attained.

However, base pay is not the entirety of what an active duty member’s Leave Earning Statement, LES, reflect for the monthly monetary amount paid to the individual.  Military members are entitled to Basic Allowance for Subsistence or BAS which can be found on a different chart.

Basic Allowance for Housing, also known as BAH, is paid to the active duty members that have earned the privilege to not be required to live in the barracks. Since, the different military bases/posts and duty stations are located in areas that have varying costs of housing prices, BAH amounts will increase or decrease depending on the surrounding area’s market. In addition, large sums of BAH are allotted to the individuals that have achieved higher ranks, and there is difference in the amount between a single active duty member with no dependents, and one that has dependents. It should be noted that having additional dependents beyond one will not increase the amount BAH.

Cost of Living Allowance, or COLA, is also meant to help the active duty member be able to maintain living in areas where the cost of living is higher than the base pay, and all the other allowances could sustain. When changing duty stations, both the amounts allotted for BAH and COLA should be understand so that the member can understand the options for housing.

Finally, there are Special Pay(s) that certain active duty members warrant. Some occupations within the armed services are deemed more hazardous than others. Thereby, all who perform these occupations are entitled to hazardous duty pay. When active duty members go into combat zones, they are awarded combat pay, and there are many more allowances and pays. For this reason the military pay chart quickly becomes a complex thing to understand.