## Archive for July 17, 2010

### Make Money with Fractions

An act of Congress on July 17, 1861, gave the Treasury Secretary the authority to print U.S. currency. For a variety of reasons, it wasn’t until several years later that the Treasury Department actually began printing; in the interim, private firms printed the notes in sheets of four, sent them to the Treasury Department where the seal was affixed by hand, and then the sheets were cut apart with scissors. (How far we’ve come!)

Did you know that the U.S. government will replace worn out or damaged money if three-fifths of it is still identifiable? Similarly, two-fifths will earn the bearer half the face value.

Perhaps the U.S. government is not terribly good with fractions. (This is not surprising. A recent government report claims that five out of four government employees do not understand fractions.) Even an elementary student knows that 3/5 + 2/5 = 1. So why is the government willing to give you 150% of a bill’s value if you divide it in the ratio 60:40?

If you want to make a quick buck (or a quick \$50), here’s my suggestion: Go to the bank, get a fresh \$100 bill, then cut it as shown:

As divided, the left portion is 3/5 of the original bill, and the right portion is 2/5 of the original bill. Now you can exchange the left portion for a new \$100 bill, and you can exchange the right portion for \$50. That’s a 50% return on your money, which is better than almost every blue-chip stock in the history of NASDAQ and the NYSE.

With policies like this, is it any wonder there’s a national deficit?

* NOTE: It is illegal to purposely mutilate U.S. currency. The above post is satirical. Do not try this at home. If you do, we at MJ4MF hereby absolve ourselves of all responsibility.

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

## MJ4MF (offline version)

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