Wednesday, August 17

Maths arguments

I was on the train today, having finished early, and I gradually became aware of some MHS kids debating maths a little bit behind me. One guy was insistently...insisting that one divided by infinity is equal to zero. It does not tend towards zero; it is zero. I was sitting on my seat, pretending to listen to music, and laughing quietly at his folly.

But then I sorta had a weird moment where I'm all like "BUT WHAT IF IT ISN'T FOLLY AND WE JUST HAVEN'T REALISED IT YET???" He also insisted that .9 recurring was equal to one. Not rounded up to one, equal to one. Because "there are a couple of different ways of writing numbers e.g. one can also be written as two minus one." At which point I was a bit like "..." and all his friends were a bit like "are you serious?" and he was all like "IT'S NOT ROUNDING!" and I continue going "..."

He also said that "there is no place for common sense in maths", so I have no idea if he was just being obtuse for the sake of debate, or if he actually believed it...but by the sound of it, he actually believed it. He may be right, but for now, I hope that he goes with the flow. VCAA doesn't like it when you make up your own rules. Unless he's not planning on taking maths. Which would explain why he didn't seem to grasp the concept that one over infinity tends towards zero.

But yeah, that's my interesting little snippet for the day. For now, I will continue to believe that one divided by infinity only tends towards zero, and that .9 recurring not equal 1.0.

He was also willing to bet "all of the US debt" that .9 recurring was equal to one. Rich kid.

Edit at 2:48

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