Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Double Negative Math - Fun with Numbers

We are geeks in our house – I have revealed this before, we don’t dress like geeks, and all my kids play sports and look like normal kids – my husband was an athlete, and I was one of those girls that dated athletes… so I guess we are closet geeks – never the less, I know out of the closet geeks that aren’t actually geeky enough to record jeopardy and then sit around with a jeopardy “score sheet” and play against each other!

So… we are a bit behind on our jeopardy watching and the episodes were stacking up in the DVR and taking up valuable space that could be used by equally geeking things like obscure movies from IFC or documentaries from The History Channel – it was a couple of mornings ago, and my oldest daughter decided we should whip through one quickly (it only takes about 16 minutes if you skip the commercials and the player interviews) – so she and I started, and in walked the boy… he only stays if one of the catergories interests him, he’s very competitive and unless he thinks he has a bit of an edge can’t stand to be beaten – so the final jeopardy category “Fun with Numbers” appealed to Math Boy [“Mom – you don’t have to like math to be good at it, I don’t like math, I’m just good at it” – Math Boy, after a state math competition and a discussion about considering engineering as a possible career path]

It really doesn’t matter what the question was – however, just to be clear for history’s sake – Math Boy and Mom (a math minor in college) both got it wrong – oldest daughter answered correctly.

The amusing part of the whole thing was that the first two contestants also answered incorrectly… so the third contestant had over $21,000 before the question… not knowing her answer or what her wager was, but seeing the smile on her face, Alex Trebek remarked that it would appear she felt confident she had won. Then they revealed her answer, and it was correct… she needed to have wagered a large amount to have beaten the defending champion… and math boy said… no she could have wagered a negative amount and then intentionally answered incorrectly and she would have been assured of a win because 21,000 minus negative 21,000 would be 42,000! Then he stated that he would do that someday, be on Jeopardy and wager a negative amount – and he felt that it would be particularly hilarious if the category were “fun with numbers”!

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