Thursday, April 28, 2011

Life Note: Math Challenge WON!!!

This life note is a positive rant! See, it's rare that I get cool moments in my life. It's even more rare for me to get a cool moment using my big brain. Rarer still, is said cool moment using my brain for MATH!!! The most rare is this cool moment using my brain for math with a woman!! Seriously, it's always been my experience that as soon as I get my brain going on any given topic, but ESPECIALLY math or science women start running and then everyone else follows.  Today, I got said cool moment and it started with a quick answer to a simple question on FaceBook, of all places!! Would you like to hear the story, my dear readers?? (Setting aside the fact that since you're reading this, you technically can't HEAR anything...)

The following equation appeared on my FB page with the answer a friend gave:
6 ÷ 2(1+2)=?

Now, when  I went to answer this I was given two options: 1 or 9. After a moment's thought, I got the answer and selected it. (The answer's 9, by the way.) It wasn't even a thing for me. Then a girl I know challenged my answer saying it should have been 1.  Her logic being as follows: 

6 ÷ 2(3) is equivalent to 6 ÷ 6 which equals 1. 

I have to admit, despair clutched at my heart for the briefest of seconds. Could I have been proven wrong?? Could a simple equation stab me to the quick and destroy my math prowess? No, I thought!! There was something wrong here, and I set to prove my logic. The answer my dear friends lies in the mathematical rule that establishes the Order of Operations or Precedence of Operators. 

This rule states the order in which we must resolve mathematical operations to solve any given equation: 
1 - Anything inside parenthesis 
2 - Exponents & roots
3 - Multiplication & Division
4 - Addition & Subtraction

Armed with this knowledge, I gave my proof as follows, starting with the original equation: 

6 ÷ 2(1+2)=?

Now resolve the terms inside the parenthesis first: 
6 ÷ 2(3)=?

Now, here's where it gets tricky, and where my friend went wrong. Most people would misinterpret the Order of Operations and then resolve 2(3). but the order states terms INSIDE the parenthesis. Not the operation of the parenthesis ITSELF, which is multiplication. The equation could easily be re-written like this and be exactly the same:

6 ÷ 2 * 3 =?

Okay, so now what? Do we divide first? Multiply first?? If you paid attention in math class, and who did besides me?, you'd know that division doesn't really exist. Division is just a fancy form of multiplication. The expression:  6 ÷ 2 could easily be re-written as 6 * ½ and mean the same thing. So let's plug that in and see where it goes, solving from left to right: 
6 * ½ * 3

3 * 3

And that's how I got the answer. (This is why teachers always ask you to show your work. That way they can see where you misinterpreted the rules of math and got the wrong answer.)

Now, being the smart woman that she is, my friend went and got independent verification from the Internet, and my answer was justified. To use a famous actor's catchphrase: WINNING!!!

Still, I have to thank my friend. She gave me a chance to use my brain in an arena I haven't touched in awhile. Mathematical proofs. So, thank you! You know who you are!! As for the rest of you, my dear readers, take a moment and learn from this post, or use it to teach someone else. Because any day in which you've learned something is a good day!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Today, A Legend Was Born....

On April 25th, 1939, Detective comics debuted a new super hero. Created by Bob Kane, and intended to be the dark, weird counterpart to Superman, it was 72 years ago today that the legend of the Batman was born.

Here's to 72 years in publication!!! Go Batman!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

An Interesting Development Part 2...


Yesterday, Weird Al released a parody of Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" called "Perform This Way". It was released "unofficially" because after going through several hoops (including having to actually produce & record the song) Lady Gaga allegedly did not authorize the parody! But, it turns out it was a huge WHOOPSIE, according to this article on TMZ.

We get a little more detail from Al himself on his blog. It turns out Lady Gaga didn't even get to hear the song. Since she is in the middle of a tour, her manager didn't send her the song and nixed it himself! I'm assuming that Lady Gaga beat him senseless with some of her more pointy costumes, because he is now sincerely sorry. And now that Lady Gaga herself heard the song, she loves it and approved it!! My reaction to this can be summed up in two words:


This is cool on so many levels. It shows that Ms. Gaga is a really stand up person and cares about her public persona (which means that all those outfits were actually done ON PURPOSE, and not because of some drug induced bet she lost!) a great deal. Second, it shows how many people actually support Weird Al and love his music. I thought I was alone. Third, it shows that Lady Gaga doesn't take herself too seriously which really does emphasize how much of a stand up person she is! And finally, it means that we get a "Weird Al" album that much sooner!! I can't wait!! Also, I really can't wait to see the VIDEO for this song!!

Lady Gaga, if you ever read this (which I doubt, but would be cool) I want to say that you have increased in my estimation a great deal! Not because you approved the parody, but that you took the time to CORRECT the mistake, despite your undoubtedly busy schedule. That is really cool & makes me proud to count myself amongst your legion of monsters.