Hey, Verne! Got a minute?

My cousin Ernest isn’t the roundest cue ball around. Like most people, he is always looking for an easy way to make money. There was the time he was helping a wealthy, yet terminal, Nigerian widow setup orphanages with (for a sizeable, no risk commission she was guaranteeing him) has died. Then there are the technical and security issues involving the millions he won in the Euro Internet lottery which have prevented him from retiring to the easy life, despite all he has spent to try and facilitate the transfer of funds.

Anyway, last night he rushed over, excited like a four year given the key to the candy store.

"Rich, I've finally found the system!"

"Uhm, what system would that be?" I replied.

"Money! Free money! Instant wealth generation. Nobody, especially me, has to ever be poor again. I just haven't worked out all the details."

"Uh-huh", was my sanguine response.

"I need your help to transfer my system from the geometric domain to the money domain. You know I'm not very good at transforming things from one domain to another."

"No, but you are good at specious reasoning, spurious correlations and just out and out wishful thinking."

"Be nice, or I’ll start spilling deep and dark secrets about you”, he challenged.

"All right, indulge me."

"I was playing around with some geometry problems, like you suggested to exercise my mind. I came up with this way to rearrange a rectangle, by cutting it up into pieces and making a new one that has the same size, but has this extra space added. Here, let me show you” and he proceeded to draw the following:

"You see," he continued, "by rearranging the pieces, I am able maintain all the original bits of the rectangle, but I also get a new, hitherto unavailable, square. I just need to figure out how to apply this to money - you know - how to shift it around and - bingo! generate instant wealth," he enthused.

"You know you are wrong," I replied and sat down to figure out where he had done wrong.

A little later, I showed him the error of his ways. Can you?

[Note: this mathematical problem is not of my own invention, only the story.]

Comments

As I am pure artsy, and needed help with even Gr. 13 Relations and Functions Math, I have no clue!!! But the key words I heard were, "I just haven't got all the details worked out yet!" Ain't that almost always the truth?!
Let us know when he's struck oil!!! I might want to invest..or not!
Richard said…
MOI: you can be both artsy and mathematical. My daughter's godmother is a case in point: she just finished a double major at university in both theatre and math. She plans to work in theatre, but pursue graduate degrees in math to "amuse" herself.
Yikes! Yes, I know some special people are blessed with this capacity and this makes them truly all round in perspective, not to mention opening up a much wider scope of opportunity.
I wish I were, but alas, one side of my brain decided to dominate!!! (And the other must just be atrophied and minute!! Lack of exercise perhaps?!!)
Replied to your comments back on mine.
Girl said…
Hey thanks for dropping by. I didn't know that the game is already on? I didn't visit the blog before me oooh no!
charles said…
I am not really good on numbers or graphs representing systems.
j said…
geometry was never my favorite :(
Anonymous said…
Hello, with all the respect that your relative you talk about, deserves, I don't know if you guys know that all those stories you get on the internet saying that if you help to transfer funds and you get a comission, bla, bla, have to do with the Nigerian Scam. all those stories are just to scam people. And the lottery thing is another scam too.

Read... *For info about the Nigerian Scam ---> http://www.snopes.com/crime/fraud/nigeria.asp
*Info about the Russian Dating scam ---> http://www.russian-women-info.com/russian-scam.htm
*Related to the lottery e-mail scams ---> http://www.fraudwatchers.org/forums/showthread.php?p=4662

Lots of people have gotten scamed and it's known by lots of people. How come your relative believes in that? Unless he is making stories on how he has supposedly gotten some extra money?

Okies, hope these articles are useful to you and if you want, you can share them with your relative.

What I have been told is that "If it sounds too good to be true, probably it's not true".

Enjoy your weekend. :)
ghee said…
Ive received lots of emails regarding euro internet lottery telling me I won a million,or 950 thousand euro,just send them the details they needed and I`ll automatically claim my prize.

how i wish they were true!I know theyre hoax,that made my heart jumped for joy!

im not good at it,Richard..I tried to figure it out..but if i say my answer,you`ll laught at it so,I better pass :)
Barbara said…
This is an optical illusion problem. The 3 triangles should all be similar, but in fact 2/5 is not the same as 3/8 is not the same as 5/13. It's difficult for the eye to see, but the numbers don't lie! I was a math major, but I confess that I had to consult with a colleague to come to this explanation.
Okay, Barbara, so in Mortal Math terms,for Math Morons like me, (!!) what does this mean for Richard's cousin's get rich scheme in real life??!! Is the numerical translation, "it ain't gonna work" ?!!!!
(I'm being goofy, I do admire your math IQ!!)
Barbara said…
MOI -- It means that Richard's cousin cheated. He just thought he could pull the wool over all of our eyes!
Richard said…
Aargh!!! Blogger ate my earlier comment. I knew it at the time I left it, but felt too demoralized to try rewriting it. So I browsed a few blogs, until the frustration of trying to leave comments killed that lunchtime activity. My earlier comment did have a hint as to how to solve the problem, but since Barbara has come up with the answer, trying to recreate that earlier comment is moot. Bravo Barbara!

The trick is that neither of the two figures is really a triangle. They look a lot like right angle triangles, but they are not. They are actually 4 sided figures instead of 3 sided ones. The corner your eye misses occurs at the junction where the blue-green and red triangles meet.

My first pass at this problem had me verifying the dimensions of the main triangles and the composite pieces. They checked out, leaving me stumped.

Then I did it the hard way by computing the length of the hypotenuse of the large triangle and the blue-green and red ones and noticing the discrepancy.

And easier way is what Barbara suggested, the triangles are simply not congruent with one another, consequently the blue-green and red triangles cannot have the same slop for the hypotenuse - which means they cannot both be contributing to the slope of the large triangle.

Another way to convince yourself is to calculate the slope - rise / run

Triangle 1: 2 /5 - slope: 0.4

Triangle 2: 3/8 - slope: 0.375

Triangle 3: 5/13 - slope: 0.384615…

They are all similar and not very discernible to the naked eye.
I stand in awe! (alongwith a few other people I know, thank goodness!)

You are amazing ....
Anonymous said…
This is very interesting site...
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