This article published by The Conversation is alarming. UNESCO reports that third world education is improving, yet in pockets of the developed world, basic numeracy seems on the decline. This was brought home to my wife and I recently on a trip to the UK. In a charity shop, we wanted to purchase four items at GBP0.99 – it look the young, articulate and attractive sales assistant ages to let us know that the cost was GBP3.96. She insisted on using a machine for the calculation. When we told her the mathematical short-cut, she was amazed. It’s not clear to me whether the problem is quality of education or a wider cultural problem with too much dependence on machines. Any thoughts?