Another Bad Email Math Puzzle…
It happened again. I received another email with a number trick that makes the ubiquitous claim, “This will work for everyone!” Sadly, it won’t, but it was kind of cool:
Calculate 39 × (your age) × 259.
The email said, “The result will surprise you.”
It didn’t. I suspected what the value of 39 × 259 would be, so I predicted the result. But if you don’t know the value of that product, then maybe you’ll be surprised.
The trick works well enough if you have a double-digit age. But my friend Ferdinand is 107 years old. His result was 1,080,807, and that just looks like a mess. The results for my six-year-old sons were better, albeit rather unsatisfying.
Ha-rumph. So much for the Internet providing mathematical inspiration.
Here are some similarly uninteresting puzzles that I created:
Calculate 7,373 × (your age) × 137.
Calculate 9,091 × (your age) × 11,111.
Calculate 101 × (your age) × 1,000,100,010,001.
To create more puzzles like this, enter factor(101010…10101) into Wolfram Alpha.
For your centenarian friends, try these:
Calculate 101,101 × (your age) × 9,901.
Calculate 3.3 × (your age) × 33.67.
Let’s not forget the little people whose age is still in the single digits:
Calculate 3 × (your age) × 37.
Calculate 41 × (your age) × 271.
And a math joke (or is it?) about age:
I’ve been good with numbers my whole life. When I turned 2, I realized that my age had doubled in one year. This concerned me… at that rate, I’d be 32 in four more years!
What goes up but never comes down?