Let’s do a quick warm-up before jumping into this post.
A boy leaves his house headed for school, walking at a rate of 4 miles per hour. Ten minutes later, his sister leaves the school headed for home, walking at a rate of 3 miles per hour. Assuming they travel the same route (just in opposite directions), which one will be nearer the school when they meet?
This problem is based on the first puzzle that appears in Mathematical Teasers by Julio A. Mira. As best I can tell, this book is out of print, and probably for good reason. Written in 1970, it contains no semblance of political correctness. For instance, the image below appears at the beginning of Chapter 1:
Click to Enlarge Image
Hmm… a pigtailed coed in a skirt sitting on a desk, tickling the chin of a math professor? There is no doubt an editor in 2013 would prohibit such an image from appearing in a publication; quite honestly, I’m even surprised an editor allowed it 43 years ago.
My copy of this book was obtained when the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics cleaned out their staff library. Inside the front cover, an insert states that it was a review copy “sent with the compliments of Barnes and Noble, Inc.,” and a stamp on the insert reads:
MAY 26 1970
Despite its political incorrectness and outdated contexts, my five-year-old sons have been enjoying the puzzles in the book. But they aren’t just puzzles. Like the warm-up problem above, they are jokes, in the sense that the punch line (answer) is unexpected. The following are a few of my favorites.
- A man with $50 in a bank account withdraws $20, leaving $30. He then withdraws $15, leaving $15. Then $9, leaving $6. And finally $6, leaving $0. The sum of his withdrawals is 20 + 15 + 9 + 6 = $50, as expected, but the sum of the remainders is 30 + 15 + 6 + 0 = $51. Where did the extra dollar come from?
- If it takes 3 minutes to boil an egg, how long will take to boil a dozen eggs?
- How many cubic inches of dirt are in a hole that measures 1 ft. × 1 ft. × 1 ft.?
- A man purchased a pair of shoes that cost $25 and gave the shop owner a $100 bill. After the man left with the shoes and his change, the owner took the $100 bill to the bank, where he was told that it was counterfeit. What was the total loss to the owner?
- Every day, Johnson’s cat would climb 11 feet higher in a tree that is 63 feet tall. But every night, the cat would climb back down 7 feet. How many days would it take her to reach the top of the tree?
No answers will be posted. Y’all can attempt to reach consensus in the Comments section.
March 6, 2013 at 10:55 am
You may have received the following advice about dividing fractions without thinking about it:
Ours is not to reason why; just invert and multiply.
Similarly, don’t waste your time trying to figure out why I’m posting a bunch of jokes about chickens and eggs. I can’t explain it. Just enjoy them, and please don’t analyze me.
How do you teach math to a chicken?
Show it lots of egg samples!
Why do chickens hate school?
They don’t like eggs-aminations!
Who tells the best math jokes on the farm?
How can you drop an egg six feet without breaking it?
Drop it from seven feet!
Why did the chicken go to school?
To get an egg-ucation!
Why do chicken coops have only two doors?
Because if they had four doors, they’d be sedans!
And a joke about the smartest chicken I know…
A chicken walks into a bar. “I’d like a burger and a beer,” he says to the bartender.
“Oh, my God!” the bartender says. “You can talk!”
“Well, look at that,” the chicken replies. “Your ears work!”
“But, you’re a chicken!” the bartender says.
“Ah, I see your eyes work, too,” the chicken says. “Now, can I have my burger and beer?”
“Certainly,” the bartender says. “Sorry about that. It’s just not every day that I see a talking chicken. What are you doing around here?”
“I’m working at the university,” the chicken says. He goes on to explain that he’s helping a professor with research on representation theory and integrable systems, but the bartender clearly has no idea what he’s talking about. So, the chicken enjoys his burger and beer and leaves.
A little while later, the owner of the circus comes into the bar. The bartender says, “You’re the owner of the circus, right? Well, have I got an act for you! I know this chicken who talks, reads, and drinks beer!”
“Sounds great!” says the circus owner. “Have him give me a call.”
The next day, the chicken returns to the bar. The bartender explains that he thinks he can get the chicken a great job at the circus.
“The circus?” asks the chicken. “You mean the place with the big tent, animals, lion tamers and trapeze artists?”
“Yeah!” says the bartender. “The owner would love to hire you!”
“Why?” asks the chicken. “What use would he have for an algebraist?”
May 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm