RJ: Matthew Matician
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Total Posts: 76
Joined: Apr 2, 2012
Posted on Apr 23, 2012The "silly hypotheticals" are there to abstract the problem to an appropriate level where solving it requires thinking outside the box in a logical sense, not thinking outside the box in an engineering sense. :)
For example, the mattress problem is essentially this problem:
...except I used mattresses so that googling for the solution was harder.
The 'ah ha!' moment is supposed to be when you realize that, no matter how you break the chocolate bar (mattress), since you need to go from 1 piece to 7*13 = 91 pieces, and each slice gives you one more piece than you started, you need 90 slices.
I agree with you on the idea of making them last more than a day or two. I suppose one solution would be to have folks private-message the quiz-giver and then prizes would be awarded randomly (or to all) who got the answer right, but this might require a lot more work on the quiz-giver's part.
Alternatively, we could keep the same format of answering in posts, but we (I) could make the questions a lot harder (a lot more "mathy"), but then I think it would weed out almost everyone who doesn't have an advanced degree in mathematics, which wouldn't be fun. It's a difficult balance to find problems that 1) require little background knowledge in an advanced field, 2) employ a clever logical trick, 3) take quite a while to solve, and 4) are not easily google-able.