Nowadays, when you are clueless about something, you can rely on your friends online. You can ask them different questions and many of them would generously share what they know about it. Some have even established Facebook groups where you could exchange questions about a topic that you’re all interested in talking about.
Needless to say, some of these topics and questions could also cause debate. Amazingly, lots of people don’t think twice to share their thoughts.
This simple math question is just a great example. It started a debate among people online as they have different answers.
It all started with a simple yet interesting question.
The math equation in question is 8 ÷ 2(2+2) = ? ÷ 2(2+2) = ? Simple enough, right? Wrong. The individual who posted it claimed that just one in a million people can solve it. As you can imagine, that started things rolling.
It has gained mixed answers and reactions that led to a debate.
In no time, people were posting what they believed to be the correct answer. But it quickly became apparent they didn’t all agree. After all, the answers were divided between 1 and 16.
Consult a calculator.
For those who are naturally smart, they gave their opinion off the cuff. Others turned to their handy dandy calculator. But not everyone came up with the same number, meaning even the calculators couldn’t agree.
When turning to the internet, you’ll have no problem finding people debating about politics. Some are strong Democrats while others are devout Republicans. But now, we see that’s not the only hot topic online.
What is correct and what is not?
Even psychologists are getting in on the fun, posting their options. That doesn’t have anything to do with the answer to the math equation but rather the people fighting about it. Most of these professionals agree the tiffs going on are more about individuals trying to prove who’s smarter.
Take note of this.
Sian Bielock, an Academic at the University of Chicago makes an excellent point. “These debates of who’s right and who’s wrong make people feel like jerks at the end once they realize they are investing too much time and energy convincing others why their answer is the best one.” So, who the wisest?
Another great point
Beilock has more insight to offer. “Often people feel the most stressed when the audience is made up of people they know. It’s very painful to fall on your face in front of your friends and family.”
What’s really the answer?
When looking at this particular math equation, most individuals online agreed the number within the parenthesis should be calculated first. Okay, but the challenge arises when they have to determine what comes next…division or multiplication. Based on what people choose, the answer differs…hence the war.
Some say it’s 16.
For this type of equation, students are taught to use the most common standard convention. That means operations are completed from the left to the right. So, the division would come first, making the answer 16. Or is it?
Deeper explanation from an expert.
Another expert in mathematics had this to say, “No professional mathematician would ever write something so obviously ambiguous. We would insert parentheses to indicate our meaning and to signal whether the division should be carried out first or the multiplication. As a professor of mathematics at Cornell, he seems to know what he’s talking about.
There could be two different answers to this simple math equation depending on how it’s calculated. But the war of words going on between people on the internet really doesn’t have much to do with math at all.
Debates like this make Math more interesting.
Although some people had to argue because of this simple Math question, we can’t deny that it also made Mathematics more interesting for everyone.
Some would say that they hate Math but this question might make them love it even a little.
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