PoSWW 2: Take a Hike

This Proof of Stupidity Without Words comes courtesy of a smart Year 11 VCE student. It’s an exercise in the Jacaranda text Maths Quest 11 Mathematical Methods (2019). (Just to clarify, the stupidity obviously contains plenty of words; it’s the proof of stupidity that requires no words.)

6 Replies to “PoSWW 2: Take a Hike”

  1. An obvious problem is defining the coordinates as distances and then having a negative x-coordinate ….

    I also would have thought you’d want the person who lands his/her coin *closest to* (not furthest from) the tree to be the winner (why didn’t one of the friends simply drop their coin at their feet. Or in fact, throw their coin *away* from the tree …?)

    And I assume that Anna and Liam (the names introduced towards the end of the question) are the two friends we meet at the start of the question …?

    But the biggest problem is why have such a ludicrous context for such a simple “Find the distance of point A from the origin” question (how have the coordinates even been calculated)? This is a rhetorical question – we all know the answer, even Yr 11 students.

    By the way, neither Anna or Liam carry the rucksack because, while they were busy measuring coordinates of coins and figuring out distances from trees, a thief came along and stole their rucksack.

    1. Do we assume Cartesian coordinates and Euclidean distance?

      Asking for a friend.

      Which is a lie. I don’t have any at the moment.

    2. That’s hilarious! Of course the main point is the interminable and idiotic framing for a trivial distance problem. But i hadn’t noticed that the winner is the person to have their coin end up farthest from the tree, making the game ludicrous. And yes, it’s amusing that “Anna” and “Liam” are introduced to us well into the story.

      There is (at least) one more ridiculous detail in the set up. But I’ll leave that for people to hunt.

  2. Could it be that unless the tree trunk is assumed to have a negligible radius, the coin may well be landing *inside* the tree (after all, the given unit for the ‘distances’ is cm) …?

    1. Oh …. the position of the coin is also accurate to the nearest *millimeter* (which in part assumes, at least locally, a *completely* flat surface. Implied by Number 8).

    2. Yep, it was the astonishingly skinny tree I had in mind. Hadn’t thought of the coins to the nearest millimetre, which is also dumb of course. And Number 8’s observation about the flat Earth is spot on.

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