This Week’s Installment
What mathematical skill is the textbook trying to teach with this image?
(If you’re reading via email or RSS, you’ll need to click through to vote. Also, you’ll need to check that link tomorrow for the answer.)
Team Me: 4
Team Commenters: 0
This is may be the worst math problem I’ve seen in my life.
Every Saturday, I post an image from a math textbook. It’s an image that implicitly or explicitly claims that “this is how we use math in the world!”
I post the image without its mathematical connection and offer three possibilities for that connection. One of them is the textbook’s. Two of them are decoys. You guess which connection is real.
After 24 hours, I update the post with the answer. If a plurality of the commenters picks the textbook’s connection, one point goes to Team Commenters. If a plurality picks one of my decoys, one point goes to Team Me. If you submit a mathematical question in the comments about the image that isn’t pseudocontext, collect a personal point.
(See the rationale for this exercise.)
Well well well … score one for Team Commenters.
The judges rule that this problem satisfies the first criterion for pseudocontext:
Given a context, the assigned question isn’t a question most human beings would ask about it.
Were you sleep-running the entire time? Why can’t you remember where you ran to and from?
This is Pseudocontext Saturday, so rather than overstep my jurisdiction I’ll let someone else critique the scaffolds in problem #32.
Dan went for a run. Every 13th stride he sneezes. Every 17th stride he blinks. Every 5th stride a shiver runs down his spine thinking about his homework he has neglected to do. When will he shiver, blink and sneeze at the same time? (Ignore that it is impossible to sneeze with your eyes open.)