Andrew: hooooo boyi just got off the phone with the american mathematical societywhat a rollercoaster this is turning out to bemy man mike with the AMS, whose job it is to explicitly answer questions like this one, says the answer is ...Brad: 42Tyler Daswick, associate features editor: secretly the best answer here Andrew: SIXTEEN Andrew, minutes later: why is no one reacting appropriately to this news Brad: Because he's wrong. Andrew: he says (and i'll have to go back to the transcript) that using *traditional* order of operations, the answer is 16Matt Phillips, senior test editor: Andrew, my brother has a Ph D in theoretical physics and writes papers with titles like…Every few months, the Internet eats itself over some kind of viral riddle or illusion, each more infuriating than the last.
Dan Roe, test editor: Right but it's multiplication/division, not multiplication then division Morgan: BUT multiplication with parentheses trumps division. Kit Fox, special projects editor: Isn’t the question and ambiguity here on when the parentheses disappear? Or do they go away once you solve the mini equation inside the parens first. I am on team 1I also have not taken a math class in over 10 years Trevor Raab, photographer: My question is to what real world scenario would this apply to Brad Ford, test editor: Math class?
Trevor: ahh the classic learn to do math to learn to do more math Bobby: school ain't real world Morgan: Generating heated and polarizing office discussion Brad: Bobby, tell that to a 6th grader.
These kinds of conundrums are purposely meant to divide and conquer, and predictably, the seemingly simple problem posed in the offending tweet—8÷2(2 2)—practically caused a civil war in the magazines. Bobby Lea, test editor (and three-time Olympic cyclist): i ride bikes Matt Allyn, features director: for anyone that wants a longer explanation of why you divide before multiply in this case Pat Heine, video producer: ..writes out PEMDAS and then does PEDMASMatt: you clearly didn't listen Pat: i didn't...i was busy correcting her math. Matt: ok, Derek, the video's for you Pat: if you get 16 it's because you don't know the difference between brackets and parentheses.
Naturally, we took to Slack to hash out our differences. Morgan Petruny, test editor: I agree with Derek and disagree with You Tube. Bobby: This sounds like a conversation the belongs on the Not My Job segment of Katie Fogel, social media editor: polling our IG audience on this now...
While we do not encourage students to cheat on their homework, it’s always a good idea to cross-check your solutions.
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