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(The New York Times)   The NY Times decides to put up a "high school science test." See if you can find their mistake   (nytimes.com) divider line 396
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8892 clicks; posted to Geek » on 05 Sep 2013 at 3:06 AM (47 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-04 08:14:21 PM
12/12
Their error was obvious.
 
2013-09-04 08:24:26 PM
Login Required

/um, no thanks. I'll take your word for it
 
2013-09-04 08:27:05 PM

rotsky: Login Required

/um, no thanks. I'll take your word for it


I didn't run into that, and I don't subscribe to the NYT.  Try opening in an anonymous firefox window - that usually works with newspaper paywalls.
 
2013-09-04 08:29:16 PM
I won!
 
2013-09-04 08:40:05 PM
Why?
 
2013-09-04 08:51:34 PM
10 out of 12.

I muffed the heredity question and one of the algebra ones.
 
2013-09-04 08:54:41 PM

dittybopper: 10 out of 12.

I muffed the heredity question and one of the algebra ones.


Same score, but I missed the Mars and 20MPH/40MPH questions.
 
2013-09-04 08:55:40 PM
The answers weren't always C?
 
2013-09-04 08:56:44 PM
Okay, here's the mistake: "A talented math student, while walking his girlfriend home..."
 
2013-09-04 09:15:46 PM
10/12... I missed both Algebra quesstions, one because my mouse slipped (no seriously), and the other I'm blaming on not enough coffee yet today.
 
2013-09-04 09:33:39 PM
I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.
 
2013-09-04 09:48:08 PM

ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.


I'm still hung up on the 20 mile track.
But basically if you go a certain distance at a given speed, and then double the distance, while doubling the relative speed, you have to have run the second lap without using any time, you used up all the time on the first lap.
 
2013-09-04 09:58:19 PM
F*ck that sh*t. I'll be a stripper.
 
2013-09-04 10:06:03 PM

ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.


Personally, I think it is easier to think of it as having a mile track.  There's two laps.  Each a mile.  If you (or rather, the horse), did both at 40mph, that would be three minutes to go two miles.  If, instead, it goes 20mph for the first lap, well, that's three whole minutes just on the first mile (20mph is a three-minute mile).
 
2013-09-04 10:12:12 PM

UberDave: ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.

Personally, I think it is easier to think of it as having a mile track.  There's two laps.  Each a mile.  If you (or rather, the horse), did both at 40mph, that would be three minutes to go two miles.  If, instead, it goes 20mph for the first lap, well, that's three whole minutes just on the first mile (20mph is a three-minute mile).


That style of problem is an old chestnut.  It get's people who don't understand how the 1/x curve bites you in the ass.

The best way to think about it is:
Overall, I have to go X miles in Y minutes to hit the target.
I've already used up N minutes doing X/2.
In my remaining time (Y-N minutes), how fast do I have to go to cover the remaining X/2?
 
2013-09-04 10:13:52 PM
I just wanted the horse to go infintely fast.
 
2013-09-04 10:14:59 PM

ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.


alright so: rate = distance / time
After the first lap you have to double both the rate (2r) and the distance (2d) so 2r=2d/t, for this to hold true the t has to remain the same
 
2013-09-04 10:32:32 PM

ecmoRandomNumbers: I'm still not getting the horse race question. I feel stupid.


If it were based on time, it would be 60mph - 1 hour at 20mph + 1 hour at 60mph would average out to 40mph.  However, it takes an hour to ride 20 miles at 20mph, but that same distance goes by much quicker at 60 mph, so you have 40 miles / 1.3 hours at an average of 30.7 mph.  And since the 40 miles on top of the equation is the goal average speed, 1 hour was already taken in the first lap (so the denominator can't be less than 1) there's no way to get to an average of 40mph with a second lap.
 
2013-09-04 10:42:52 PM
The last question is actually wrong.
Pound is both a unit of mass and force.
Most humans think of a pound as a unit of mass, therefore they both would have exactly the same amount of gold.

The question would have been more properly worded using kilos (mass) or newtons.
The word weight or weigh was not used in the question, therefore the question is ambiguous and unanswerable as is.

farking tards thought they were being clever
 
2013-09-04 10:55:57 PM
Pounds are mass now?

I thought imperial had something else, like grains or stones or something for mass. I always think of pounds as weight and pressure.
 
2013-09-04 11:05:03 PM

doglover: Pounds are mass now?

I thought imperial had something else, like grains or stones or something for mass. I always think of pounds as weight and pressure.


DERP?

when you go to the store and buy a kilo of cheese or 2.2lbs of cheese, you are measuring its mass.
worse, the question is ambiguous, it never states which unit is being used,
pound force or pound mass, which is why the question is silly as state.

if the NYT was smart enough to use the metric system, they could have stated the question as either:

Sam has one Newton of gold on the Moon, while Dylan has one Newton of gold on Earth. Who has more gold?
Sam has one kilogram of gold on the Moon, while Dylan has one kilogram of gold on Earth. Who has more gold?
 
2013-09-04 11:11:21 PM
Who can afford that much cheese?
 
2013-09-04 11:12:22 PM
I think their mistake was that I would give a fark.
 
2013-09-04 11:14:21 PM
The rice question was stupid, since it assumed the student knew something about boiling / simmering rice. Was it a math question or a cooking question? The fark if I know what the hell my rice cooker is doing. I put the rice in, hit the switch and come back and the rice is done. "But did it boil the rice at any given time? Did it ever simmer it?" I don't know, and I don't care to know. Because I bought a rice cooker to do all of that thinking for me. And if I'm ever caught in the middle of nowhere and all I have is a pot, a lid, a heat source, some water and a bag of rice then I'll cook it in a crappy way and eat crappy rice, and I'll get the same nutritional benefit as a rice cooking expert. And this is why science teachers should not be female.
 
2013-09-04 11:22:44 PM

Lando Lincoln: The rice question was stupid, since it assumed the student knew something about boiling / simmering rice. Was it a math question or a cooking question? The fark if I know what the hell my rice cooker is doing. I put the rice in, hit the switch and come back and the rice is done. "But did it boil the rice at any given time? Did it ever simmer it?" I don't know, and I don't care to know. Because I bought a rice cooker to do all of that thinking for me. And if I'm ever caught in the middle of nowhere and all I have is a pot, a lid, a heat source, some water and a bag of rice then I'll cook it in a crappy way and eat crappy rice, and I'll get the same nutritional benefit as a rice cooking expert. And this is why science teachers should not be female.


Or, you know, check it while it's cooking.

At least they gave the description of WHY you had to boil it longer, so even if you didn't know about how to cook rice you could choose the correct answer based on physics.
 
2013-09-04 11:25:49 PM

Lsherm: Lando Lincoln: The rice question was stupid, since it assumed the student knew something about boiling / simmering rice. Was it a math question or a cooking question? The fark if I know what the hell my rice cooker is doing. I put the rice in, hit the switch and come back and the rice is done. "But did it boil the rice at any given time? Did it ever simmer it?" I don't know, and I don't care to know. Because I bought a rice cooker to do all of that thinking for me. And if I'm ever caught in the middle of nowhere and all I have is a pot, a lid, a heat source, some water and a bag of rice then I'll cook it in a crappy way and eat crappy rice, and I'll get the same nutritional benefit as a rice cooking expert. And this is why science teachers should not be female.

Or, you know, check it while it's cooking.

At least they gave the description of WHY you had to boil it longer, so even if you didn't know about how to cook rice you could choose the correct answer based on physics.


I remember food items used to have special instructions for 'high altitude' cooking on the package.  I haven't seen those in a while, not sure if they stopped doing it or if I just stopped buying whatever had it.
 
2013-09-04 11:33:40 PM
FTFA: Two avatars are expecting a baby

I only made it halfway through the movie but I thought avatars were the artificial pseudo-Navi life forms--the Navi were an actual lifeform. How could the avatars have babies?
 
2013-09-04 11:43:58 PM

Somacandra: FTFA: Two avatars are expecting a baby

I only made it halfway through the movie but I thought avatars were the artificial pseudo-Navi life forms--the Navi were an actual lifeform. How could the avatars have babies?


The fake Navi were basically the same as the real ones, except the fake Navi were able to be remotely controlled.
 
2013-09-04 11:45:18 PM

TuteTibiImperes: I remember food items used to have special instructions for 'high altitude' cooking on the package.  I haven't seen those in a while, not sure if they stopped doing it or if I just stopped buying whatever had it.


I think distributors just got better about where those food items were delivered.  I did have a cake mix a few years ago with high altitude instructions, but it's been a while since I've seen one.  However, I was in Utah a few months ago and the Kraft Mac and Cheese had high altitude instructions, so maybe they're just sorting it out regionally.
 
2013-09-04 11:50:04 PM

Somacandra: FTFA: Two avatars are expecting a baby

I only made it halfway through the movie but I thought avatars were the artificial pseudo-Navi life forms--the Navi were an actual lifeform. How could the avatars have babies?



I don't know Navy Aviators make babies, but it has something to do with playing beach volleyball. 

i105.photobucket.com
 
2013-09-04 11:50:35 PM

Lsherm: TuteTibiImperes: I remember food items used to have special instructions for 'high altitude' cooking on the package.  I haven't seen those in a while, not sure if they stopped doing it or if I just stopped buying whatever had it.

I think distributors just got better about where those food items were delivered.  I did have a cake mix a few years ago with high altitude instructions, but it's been a while since I've seen one.  However, I was in Utah a few months ago and the Kraft Mac and Cheese had high altitude instructions, so maybe they're just sorting it out regionally.


It may only matter for non-microwave instructions, so there might be less need for it on recipies.
 
2013-09-05 12:16:41 AM
i did horrible
 
2013-09-05 12:18:30 AM
Like others have said, it's the pounds of gold question. That's the only one I "missed" and it's bullshiat.
 
2013-09-05 12:26:03 AM

log_jammin: i did horrible


Me too.

I blame time and hubris.
 
2013-09-05 12:29:52 AM

show me: Like others have said, it's the pounds of gold question. That's the only one I "missed" and it's bullshiat.


It says pounds, implying weight, not mass.
 
2013-09-05 12:30:16 AM

Lando Lincoln: The rice question was stupid, since it assumed the student knew something about boiling / simmering rice. Was it a math question or a cooking question? The fark if I know what the hell my rice cooker is doing. I put the rice in, hit the switch and come back and the rice is done. "But did it boil the rice at any given time? Did it ever simmer it?" I don't know, and I don't care to know. Because I bought a rice cooker to do all of that thinking for me. And if I'm ever caught in the middle of nowhere and all I have is a pot, a lid, a heat source, some water and a bag of rice then I'll cook it in a crappy way and eat crappy rice, and I'll get the same nutritional benefit as a rice cooking expert. And this is why science teachers should not be female.


I knew that one easily because I live at 7,000 feet. Potatoes, rice, pasta -- anything cooked in a liquid takes longer up here. If you follow the pasta directions of 9 to 11 minutes, you're going to get crunchy spaghetti. Fettuccine takes at least 15 minutes.
 
2013-09-05 12:36:13 AM

show me: Like others have said, it's the pounds of gold question. That's the only one I "missed" and it's bullshiat.


"Pounds mass" are for cretins.  If you are going to use "engineering" units, go all in and use Slugs for mass. Really, though, "engineering" units in general are for cretins.
 
2013-09-05 12:57:59 AM
I got them all right. The second time I took the test. FFS I didn't think Sam was whipping out his space scale and weighing it there. But then I realized when you send in your postage-paid Cash-4-Gold envelope they probably weigh it in space. Clever. I also missed the salt one, which was stupid of me, and the rice boiling which was even stupider. I think I misread the choices because water boils pretty good around 202 where I live. Or I can just admit that I suck at cooking.
 
2013-09-05 01:58:04 AM
Tt x Tt  = TT  Tt  Tt  tt, so 75% of the offspring will exhibit the dominant trait which is turquoise skin.

This is basic Mendel.
 
2013-09-05 02:00:37 AM
Also, there is no info on how often the 98 other chickens lay eggs, so the problem is not solvable.
 
2013-09-05 02:03:20 AM

unamused: Tt x Tt  = TT  Tt  Tt  tt, so 75% of the offspring will exhibit the dominant trait which is turquoise skin.

This is basic Mendel.


Damn, now I'm thinking about titties.
 
2013-09-05 02:11:38 AM
/dnrtt

Is the mistake that the talented math student has a girlfriend?

/former talented math student
 
2013-09-05 02:23:05 AM
I got 11/12, didn't trust myself to go all the way tiny-and-far on the last question. I have no problem with the pound question.
 
2013-09-05 03:29:52 AM

doglover: Pounds are mass now?

I thought imperial had something else, like grains or stones or something for mass. I always think of pounds as weight and pressure.


In engineering undergrad anyway, we used lbm and lbf and a factor gc, which has a magnitude equal to the local gravity, to convert between them. It gets rather confusing when you are first learning it. But I doubt that the writer of the test was thinking in those terms. It is usually easier to just covert to metric, do the calculation, then convert back to imperial. Unless your professor is being a dick and making you work the whole problem in imperial.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_mass
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pound_%28force%29
 
2013-09-05 03:35:50 AM

RminusQ: I got 11/12, didn't trust myself to go all the way tiny-and-far on the last question. I have no problem with the pound question.


Also that question is based upon the assumption that space is infinitely divisible. If they get to one Plack length of their destination then there may not be a way to halve the distance. Plus if spacetime is indeed infinitely divisible then Zeno's paradoxes hold, which could be a wee bit of a problem if you even hope to understand reality as anything but a massive illusion.
 
2013-09-05 03:36:05 AM
The driving question had no loop delimiter, so it wasn't clear whether the 'allow Tim to drive' was within the while loop.  If it was, then the answer should be 2.
 
2013-09-05 03:41:43 AM
I would have scored higher if I took the time to re-read some of the questions. Ended up making simple mistakes and presuming I knew what was being asked.  Ended up being schooled.
 
2013-09-05 03:43:26 AM

Naritai: The driving question had no loop delimiter, so it wasn't clear whether the 'allow Tim to drive' was within the while loop.  If it was, then the answer should be 2.


it's pseudocode.  the loop is clearly contained in the single line.
 
2013-09-05 03:45:09 AM

Naritai: The driving question had no loop delimiter, so it wasn't clear whether the 'allow Tim to drive' was within the while loop.  If it was, then the answer should be 2.


The driving question never qualified the age required to drive. The addition simply stopped once his age hit 17, but in reality it should be 16 in this country unless the laws have changed. Either way it needs to qualify the age to drive.
 
2013-09-05 04:09:10 AM

unamused: Tt x Tt  = TT  Tt  Tt  tt, so 75% of the offspring will exhibit the dominant trait which is turquoise skin.

This is basic Mendel.


The question asks what percent will be blue. You solved it correctly, you just entered the wrong answer. I did the same.
 
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