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Old November 20 2012, 07:31 PM   #16
SmoothieX
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Location: Massachusetts
Re: A math puzzle

I think the problem is going from line 3 to line 4.

Line 3 is saying that -1^2 and 1^2 are both equal to 1. Which is true.

Line 4 is telling you 1 = -1. Someone conveniently forgot order of operations (PEMDAS) here.

Last edited by SmoothieX; November 20 2012 at 08:27 PM.
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Old November 20 2012, 08:03 PM   #17
MacLeod
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Re: A math puzzle

BODMAS on this side of the pond.
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Old November 20 2012, 08:21 PM   #18
Lindley
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Re: A math puzzle

They are assuming that x^2=y^2 implies x=y, which is false.
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Old November 20 2012, 08:26 PM   #19
SmoothieX
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Re: A math puzzle

I have the same math opinion as the two previous posters. 18 years later, I finally got something out of freshman HS algebra.
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Old November 20 2012, 09:50 PM   #20
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: A math puzzle

Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
yep, that's what I pointed out in my last post, only less elaborate. It's quite difficult to explain mathematics in a foreign language. There are so many special terms you never learned at school.

Totally off-topic, but I just have to ask: what kind of spider is the one in your avatar, Asbo Zaprudder? It's pretty!
A jumping spider - family Salticidae - although I'm not sure which one of the approx 5000 species.
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Old November 21 2012, 05:40 AM   #21
Alidar Jarok
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Re: A math puzzle

Others have explained it, but if you write out the squares for (3 - 4) and (5 - 4) it becomes obvious:

(3 - 4)^2 becomes (3 - 4) (3 - 4)

So it would be:
(3 - 4) (3 - 4) = (5 - 4) (5 - 4)
There's no way for that to turn into
3 - 4 = 5 - 4
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Old November 21 2012, 09:19 AM   #22
M'Sharak
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Re: A math puzzle

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
Rhubarbodendron wrote: View Post
...

Totally off-topic, but I just have to ask: what kind of spider is the one in your avatar, Asbo Zaprudder? It's pretty!
A jumping spider - family Salticidae - although I'm not sure which one of the approx 5000 species.
I think it's this kind, especially if the ID which goes with the source image is anything to go by.
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Old November 21 2012, 09:21 AM   #23
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: A math puzzle

These puzzles usually boil down to division by zero or multiplication by zero in one of the steps. I hadn't seen this variant before.

ETA: Thanks, M'Sharak.
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Old November 21 2012, 05:10 PM   #24
Rhubarbodendron
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Re: A math puzzle

me neither. A very nice variation of the old math trick

I had suspected it to be a Salticidae - the eye position is typical. In my country we only have very small black and white striped ones (Salticus scenicus) and even tinier brown ones with 4 dots (Sitticus pubescens). Both species have black eyes with blue reflections. The green reflection in your avatar-spider's eyes is quite attractive
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Old November 21 2012, 08:55 PM   #25
JarodRussell
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Re: A math puzzle

3-4 is not equal to 5-4, and one can also completly above any line before that.
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