If you think math class sucked, then maybe you just didn’t have the right math wiz at the blackboard. To wit, consider upstate New York math teacher (and blogger) Dan Anderson, whose remedial “Consumer Math” students apparently got to use their fledgling number skills to determine whether Double Stuf Oreos really, truly contain double the Stuf.
Not to be all un-P.C. or anything, but if this is the sort of “stuff” the remedial kids were doing in math class, why the heck did the rest of us suffer through quadratic equations? Have you ever in your life had to factor a quadratic equation since Algebra II?
But I digress...
Thanks to the magic of the Internet, however, what started out as a rather innocent way to get a handful of high schoolers in Queensbury, New York, to give a crap about numbers has turned into a viral sensation triggering a response from Nabisco as well as a seemingly beleaguered follow-up response from Anderson himself.
Why? Well, you guessed it: In the original experiments conducted by Anderson’s students last February, they found that the “double” in Double Stuf fell short of 2x by a seemingly mathematically significant .14x. In other words (or, er, other numbers), Double Stuf was really 1.86x stuffed.
“For me this was never about proving Nabisco right or wrong,” Anderson wrote recently on his blog, after his original post from March was inexplicably picked up last week by everyone from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail in the U.K. “I don’t care about the ‘stuf’ing of the Oreos as long as they are delicious (which they are, Double Stuf is my favorite). This was about having the students do some great mathematical exploration on their own.”
Anderson also says that he feels “really weird” about all the attention his little bid to do for the burnouts in Queensbury what that guy in Stand and Deliver did for his students in East L.A. has received.
There’s absolutely no evidence that Nabisco has tried to intimidate Mr. Anderson in any way (though wouldn’t that spread like wildfire across the Internet). A Nabisco spokeswoman did have this to say to ABCNews: “While I’m not familiar with what was done in the classroom setting, I can confirm for you that our recipe for the Oreo Double Stuf Cookie has double the Stuf, or creme filling, when compared with our base, or original Oreo cookie.”
Apparently not entirely trusting the results of high-school group work that may or may not have been executed before the lunch bell, Anderson himself re-created his own exercise and, like a good math teacher, shows his work.
His results come close to his students’ original findings, but edge even closer to seeming insignificance: his Double Stufs have 1.9x the stuffing. (Elsewhere on his blog he has a rather long explanation as to how difficult it is to remove the wafers without removing some of the Stuf—inadvertently scraping off some of the creme filling could easily account for the 1/10th discrepancy.)
So why all the hooplah about the results of a sophomore math project in Queensbury, New York? Perhaps we all just really want to be in Mr. Anderson’s Consumer Math class. Or perhaps we’re just super-sensitive to the ways food makers are scamming us at the grocery store.
Everyone knows the story of the incredibly shrinking ice cream carton, which creeped down from a standard half-gallon several years ago to 1.75 quarts and now, 1.5 quarts. The guerilla consumer-watchdog site Mouseprint.org has recently chronicled the story of the shrinking box of Twinkies and the slimmed-down jar of Jif, while Today.com highlighted how any number of products, from cake mix to Kleenex, have surreptitiously been shunk.
And, of course, there was the recent flurry of consumer outrage over allegations that Subway’s advertised footlongs were not, in fact, a full 12 inches long.
But at least you have Mr. Anderson’s assurance that your Double Stuf Oreos are, more or less, double stuffed.