Simple math problem

For the discussion of math. Duh.

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Simple math problem

Postby xkcdfan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:07 am UTC


Everyone I have asked has gotten it wrong. Will you get it right, xkcd forums?

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Re: Simple math problem

Postby theodds » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:11 am UTC


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Re: Simple math problem

Postby z4lis » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:57 am UTC

Since you've posted an elementary problem and asked if we could "get it right" after incorrect answers from everyone else, I'm going to have to ask you to define all the symbols you've used.
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Re: Simple math problem

Postby letterX » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:00 am UTC

But when I put it in my calculator exactly like that, it says 0!!!

While I appreciate the satire, I still move to lock* on general principles, given how bloody-mindedly stupid all other similar threads have been.

* Not, of course, that there's any sort of democracy around here about that sort of thing**.
** A position which I thoroughly support! All praise to the mods, etc. etc.

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Re: Simple math problem

Postby Yesila » Thu Jun 16, 2011 5:52 am UTC

letterX wrote:But when I put it in my calculator exactly like that, it says 0!!!

Time to get a better calculator or learn how to use the one you have.

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Re: Simple math problem

Postby ConMan » Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:27 am UTC

This is the latest "order of operations" thing that I've seen on facebook, following the a / b * c one. This isn't mathematics, it's troll maths - seeing people either get it wrong and be lambasted by the people who remember 2nd grade arithmetic, or get it right but then turn holier-than-thou in lambasting the people who don't. And this one isn't even slightly ambiguous, like the other one - unless you just plug it into an old calculator that can't handle proper order of operations, like letterX jokingly referred to, it's pretty easy to see that the x0 only applies to the last 1.
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Re: Simple math problem

Postby Kirby » Thu Jun 16, 2011 2:44 pm UTC

Could you rewrite the expression in postfix notation? I think that would help to clear any ambiguities in the problem.

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Re: Simple math problem

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jun 16, 2011 4:17 pm UTC

ConMan wrote:This isn't mathematics, it's troll maths
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