## Archive for October 23, 2014

### True Inequalities

It’s true that Bertrand Russell once stated he could prove anything, given that 1 + 1 = 1. What’s likely not true is that someone challenged Russell to prove that he was the Pope, and he responded by saying, “I am one. The Pope is one. Therefore, the Pope and I are one.”

Whatever. Even apocryphal, it’s a fun story. Who needs truth, anyway?

Ask the poet (Keats) who said that what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth.

He might also have said that what the hand seizes as a ball must be truth, but he didn’t, because he was a poet and preferred loafing about under trees with a bottle of laudanum and a notebook to playing cricket, but it would have been equally true.

— Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

The following inequalities are — under some circumstances — true.

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**1 + 1 = 1**

See above. (Were you even paying attention?)

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**1 + 3 = 1**

This inequality comes from an athletic shirt that I own. What happens when one large, hungry fish meets three little fish? One large fish leaves with a full belly. (In case you can’t see it in the picture, there are four sets of small fish bones in the big fish’s belly.)

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**10 + 10 = 100
**

Binary much?

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**1/10 = 20%**

Middle school teachers will cringe at seeing this seemingly incorrect fraction-to-percent conversion, but it’s true if you’re looking at a nutrition label. Eat 10g of low-fat Swiss cheese with 1g fat and 9g protein, and 20% of your calories come from fat.

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**10 + 4 = 2**

On a calculator? No. On a clock? Yes. Move 4 hours past 10 o’clock, and it’s 2 o’clock.

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**1/2 + 1/3 = 2/5**

More for middle-school teachers to cringe about. But if you play sports and want to compute your shooting, passing, or batting average, this equation is totally legit.