Mon. Dec 6th, 2021


Spend enough time on social media and you will probably see that I started calling it a bad math scam. Here is an account, to gauge their engagement statistics, people post an equation with a challenge to solve it. Often, it’s “Only 80’s Kids Can Do It” or “Brain Power Challenge: Can You Do It Without a Calculator?”The only problem is that the equation is so vaguely-written that you can come up with multiple answers.

This is one that I discovered a few days ago from an account floating around the internet that seems to be redistributing a lot of existing content in the hopes of going viral. Read the tweet (in really viral bait style) “Please don’t use a calculator, use your brain: 50 + 50 – 25 x 0 + 2 + 2 = ??”.

Now, the equation is vague enough in its design that, depending on how you deal with it, it creates different answers. In this example, users conclude that the answer must be 0, 4, 79 or 104. Subsequent chats are often divided into discussions about how the Order of Operations works and how stupid other people are. In the midst of arguments, counter-arguments, and smugly retweeting people about how people didn’t pay attention to high school math, the original poster managed to get them busy.

But there is a solution, and a neat way to reach the right answer for this problem and for others you see online. And I’ve listed the help of a mathematician to help explain it so that this kind of viral bait never pulls you in again. Especially if you don’t mind your PEMDAS (or BODMAS, if you grew up on the other side of the pond) from high school math.

Dr. Helen Crowley is a lecturer in mathematics University of East Anglia, And I took the problem of how to describe the equation. “Problem shared [above] In fact, it is not at all obscure, “he said,” that mathematics is a matter of very good conduct, and that it has certain rules which follow all such problems. ” Partial equation refers to how to break down and work.

In the United States and the United Kingdom, the Order of Operations is abbreviated as PEMDAS (US) or BODMAS (UK). The terms may be different, but the order in which you compute each element part of the equation remains the same. You start with anything in parentheses and then go to anything using Exponent / Order, which is a statistic with square root and power. The above equation, uses none.

The third on the list is multiplication and division, which is the first function we actually need to do. “For this problem, we [first] 25 x 0 = 0, ”said Dr. Crowley said. That 0 then inserts itself into the sum, which now looks like 50 + 50 – 0 + 2 + 2. “The last two operations to consider are addition and subtraction,” he said. + 2 + 2 = 104. “Your calculator does just that, because it’s programmed to ‘know’ the order,” said Dr. Crowley. “

Now, you wonder who was in charge of establishing this order and when it happened. According to Dr. Mark Cooker of the UEA, the current Order of Operations was probably first established in their current form in the mid-16th century. Prior to that point, “the manuscripts were fully worded, and were free of operational marks except in abbreviated form,” Dr. Cooker said. But from the middle of the 16th century, mathematics texts were “first printed in large numbers for education.”

Cooker then believes that it had a far-reaching effect Philosophical dealings of the Royal Society of London That “sets new high standards to reduce ambiguity in managing power, brackets and multiplication in the right order.” He said the journal, as will now be described, “spreads high standards of mathematical typography as far as St. Petersburg, where Leonard Euler was working.” Euler was one of the most pioneering mathematicians of the 18th century, who published “many research papers and influential textbooks,” with “clear explanations of the BODMAS rules in his early texts certainly convincing everyone of the current sequence of activities.”

Now that you know how to solve those dirty equations that people post on social media, don’t forget to share a link to this story to try to get people engaged by pushing against them.

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