Facebook Questions: Wrong Answers?

12 Comments

UPDATE 11/10/2011: There is a new problem going around that is as follows: 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 – 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 x 0 = ? This problem is a whole lot easier and less debatable, and so I am absolutely shocked that the vast majority of respondents are so horribly wrong. It actually makes me sad for humanity. Anyone who took 6th grade algebra knows the order of operations. Multiplication comes first. So the “1 x 0” portion goes first, making it of course 0. Then you add and subtract all the rest, resulting in 14. Basic. SUPER basic. So why exactly are people getting it so wrong? I have absolutely no idea. It is sad.

The answer is 14.

UPDATE: A crushing argument has finally arrived that is seemingly incontrovertible. It was brought up that wolfram would show that the answer is 9, when you plug in the equation. Which is true. It was argued that Wolfram is infallible. But is it really?

The arguer went on further to put the equation a different way. Instead of (1+2), let’s say it is x. So x=1+2. That would make the equation:

6/2x=?

Let’s enter this into Wolfram and assume the answer is 1. We did it here.

What happened? X=3. Wait a second… But 1+2 = 3… Just like in the original equation… But that means… THE ANSWER REALLY IS 1???

Dun Dun Dun… It’s true. Wolfram gives conflicting answers, proving the fallibility of technology in solving ambiguous problems.  As far as I can tell, the program is not using parentheses correctly in the order of operations. They should be as highly ranked or more than variables, but they aren’t. Interestingly, when we do the exact same equation but with the x in parentheses (which should be the same), it gives the answer of 9 . Interesting stuff

The new Facebook feature in which users can post their own questions and have their friends answer has actually begun to pick up lately. Today, I came across a question which over half a MILLION people had answered. It was a math question. And as far as I can tell, most people got it wrong. Here is the question:

6÷2(1+2)=?

Now clearly there is something unusual about this question. It is in a format rarely seen, and with good reason. The order of operations in extremely ambiguous. Most people said the answer was 9. But is it? Lets read about the order of operations. Every operation is ranked, with the highest ranked operations going first, followed by the lower ranked operations. Most people remember “PEMDAS,” which stands for “”Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication and Division, and Addition and Subtraction””. That is the order in which operations must go.

So according to that order, here is what happens:

6÷2(1+2)=?
6÷2(3)=
6÷6=

1

The answer is one. Parentheses come first, even when they signify a multiplication. Purplemath.com, a popular online math information site,  illustrates this example on this page: http://www.purplemath.com/modules/orderops2.htm. They go through this problem and illustrate the correct method:

    • Simplify 16 ÷ 2[8 – 3(4 – 2)] + 1.

16 ÷ 2[8 – 3(4 – 2)] + 1 
= 16 ÷ 2[8 – 3(2)] + 1
 
= 16 ÷ 2[8 – 6] + 1
 
= 16 ÷ 2[2] + 1   
(**) 
    = 16 ÷ 4 + 1 
= 4 + 1
 
5

The ironic thing is that many involved in the discussion are citing “PEMDAS” as the reason why the answer is 9.  One of the highest ranked answers cites this and proof that the answer is 9: http://www.quickmath.com/webMathematica3/quickmath/equations/solve/basic.jsp#v1=6%2F2(a%2B2)%3D9&v2=a

Of course what this girl fails to realize, is that 6/2 is a fraction, which is different than 6÷2. It is calculated differently because a fraction is its own number, not an operation.

Please feel free to share your thoughts about this problem. I don’t think there is any way to show that the answer is 9, but I challenge you to try, and please cite some source as to how that could possibly be correct. 

How Can My Blog Stand Out In A Sea of Identical Content?

Leave a comment

There must be millions of blog posts with generic content such as “How to Leverage Facebook to Help Your Business” or “10 Ways you Use Twitter to Build Your Brand” or other similar topics. They all seem to have identical content and all appear to have been written after reading “8 Steps to Writing a Great Blog Post.” I’m not saying my posts are always revolutionary or my strategies completely original. As an aspiring blogger and social media user, I am faced every day with the challenge of sharing my experiences and insight to others in new and creative ways. My advice here is not a description of the path you must take after having been there myself. It is more my own strategy stemming from the experiences I have had and the things I have learned from others before me.

Become a leader, not just a follower. There is a lot of great info out there, and a lot of it will help you in your life and in your business. But not most of it.  Learn what you can from others, then collaborate with them and bring your own thoughts and ideas to the table. Don’t spend all day concentrating on the work of others. Think one step ahead of where everyone is at the moment. You can spit out the same thing in different words, but if everyone has heard it before, no one cares. Obviously you can’t just become a leader overnight, but if you have legitimately, consistently great ideas time and time again and you are active in your online community, people will recognize you for that.

Realize that posting a numbered list does not automatically make people read your content. There are a million strategies consisting of very simple things you can do in your blog that some of the great bloggers have done and found to increase their success. Do not use these unless you actually have something good to say. At best, they won’t help you at all. At worst, they will make your blog seem gimmicky and annoying. Focus on the content, ideas, and personality behind the posts rather than the gimmicky formatting and titles.

Get involved in your community of bloggers. When it comes time to sink or swim, the ones that make it out alive are those who have someone holding them up. Comment on a blog post that you think is great. Share further ideas about the topic. Make friends with the bloggers. Write your own blog post involving ideas from other bloggers, and give them credit for it. If what you are posting is worth reading, you will eventually get to the point where others in your community will be talking about it. And that is when you will really start to see success.