Trying too hard:
Prentice Hall's Algebra I: California Edition:
A hot air balloon flies at a speed of (n + 8) miles per hour. At this rate, how long will it take to fly (n2 + 5n – 24) miles?
[via Matt Vaudrey]
I encounter problems like this too frequently, and my ‘put on the spot’ knee-jerk reaction when they pop up is usually something like “Oh, that’s a stupid problem. Just skip it.” Of course, the message that students get is that “Math is stupid.”
I love it when Nature has terms that factor so well.
It begs the question, who actually writes this?
The authors are all distinguished teachers and professors, many with PhDs. But would any of them stand by this? Was it handed over to an intern? Was it caving in to the “applications” lobby? Or do they consider it a good problem?
The problem with multiple authors is that none of them “own” the work; none of them consider it theirs. Its a project they are working on, but they’re just collaborators.
Given a choice, I will always choose a single author book. I know it will have been written with greater care.