The PoSWW below is courtesy of Glen Wheeler (who is trying to distract us from another university). It comes from Macquarie University’s new ad campaign.

# Category: PoSWW

## PoSWW 9: You Can Spell, But Can You Grammar?

## PoSWW 8: Easy Solutions

## PoSWW 7: Power Outage

## PoSWW 6: Logging Off

The following exercise and, um, solution come from Cambridge’s *Mathematical Methods 3 & 4* (2019):

## Update

Reflecting on the comments below, it was a mistake to characterise this exercise as a PoSWW; the exercise had a point that we had missed. The point was to reinforce the Magrittesque lunacy inherent in Methods, and the exercise has done so admirably. The fact that the suggested tangents to the pictured graphs are not parallel adds a special Methodsy charm.

## PoSWW 5: Intelligence is not a Factor

The following PoSWW comes courtesy of Franz, who states that “when it comes to ‘stupid curricula, stupid texts and really monumentally stupid exams’ no Western country, with the possible exception of the US, is worse than Germany.” We take that as a challenge, and we’re waiting for Franz to back up his crazy-brave claim.

Franz’s PoSWW, however, has nothing to do with Germany. This PoSSW follows on from two of our previous posts, on idiotic questions appearing in New Zealand exams. Franz wrote to us, noting that the same style of question appears in the Oxford Year 8 text *My Maths*. Indeed, a number of versions of this ludicrous question appear in *My Maths, *all inventively awful in their own way. The two examples below are enough to give the flavour:

## PoSWW 4: Overly Complex

This PoSWW comes courtesy of a smart Year 11 VCE student who, it appears, may be a rich source of such nonsense. It’s an exercise in the Jacaranda text *MathsQuest 11, Specialist Mathematics *(2019).

To be honest, we’re not sure the exercise below is a PoSWW. It may simply be a minor error, the likes of which are inevitable in any text, and of which it is uninteresting and unfair to nitpick. But, for the life of us, we have no idea what the authors might have intended to ask. Make of it what you will:

**UPDATE: **For those hoping that context will help make sense of the exercise, the section of the text is an introduction to factoring over complex numbers. And, the text’s answer to the above exercise is *A* = 2, *B* = 5, *C* = -1, *D* = 2.

## PoSWW 3: Not the Right Angle

This PoSWW (as is the accompanying WitCH) is from Cambridge’s *Mathematical Methods Units 1 and 2*. and is courtesy of the Evil Mathologer. (A reminder, we continue to post on Cambridge not because their texts are worse than others, but simply because their badness is what we get to see. We welcome all emails with any suggestions for PoSWWs or WitCHes.)

We will update this PoSWW, below, after people have had a chance to comment.

## Update

Similar to Witch 6, the above proof is self-indulgent crap, and obviously so. It is obviously not intended to be read by anyone.

One can argue how much detail should be given in such a proof, particularly in a subject and for a curriculum that systemically trashes the concept of proof. But it is difficult to see why the diagram below, coupled with the obvious equations and an easy word, wouldn’t suffice.

## 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.)

## Proof of Stupidity Without Words

As long as we’re busy bashing Oxford, the above graphic and note are from the Australian textbook *My Maths 8*, 2015, published by the esteemed Oxford University Press.