Posted by *dow* on July 13, 2010, 2:47 pm

*> On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:*

*> > Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...*

*> Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by*

*> inviting her to meet him halfway. :)*

*> --*

*> Morris Doveyhttp://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/ *

The problem states that the distance between them can only be halved

every 15 minutes. It doesn't say that the woman can abruptly reduce it

to zero.

But how many women would wait, naked, for an hour or more?

dow

Posted by *Bruce Richmond* on July 13, 2010, 4:31 pm

*> > On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:*

*> > > Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...*

*> > Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by*

*> > inviting her to meet him halfway. :)*

*> > --*

*> > Morris Doveyhttp://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/ *

*> The problem states that the distance between them can only be halved*

*> every 15 minutes. It doesn't say that the woman can abruptly reduce it*

*> to zero.*

*> But how many women would wait, naked, for an hour or more?*

*> dow*

I'll let you know when I've finished my research. Wonder if I can get

a government grant ;)

Bruce

Posted by *Morris Dovey* on July 13, 2010, 5:22 pm

On 7/13/2010 9:47 AM, dow wrote:

*>> On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:*

*>>*

*>>> Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...*

*>>*

*>> Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by*

*>> inviting her to meet him halfway. :)*

*> The problem states that the distance between them can only be halved*

*> every 15 minutes. It doesn't say that the woman can abruptly reduce it*

*> to zero.*

Nyet - the problem states: "Like the difference between an engineer and

a mathematician. Both are placed on one side of the room and a

voluptuous naked women is placed on the other.

They are told that they can only halve the distance remaining to the

women [sic] every 15 minutes."

RTP <grin> - there is no restriction placed on the woman's movement.

The mathematician knows to validate all assumptions, and to test all

hypotheses - and that failure to do so can produce unsatisfactory

(perhaps even painful) outcomes...

...and an assumption that any woman has no preferences or options has an

unacceptably low probability.

*> But how many women would wait, naked, for an hour or more?*

That might depend on the woman, the engineer, the mathematician, and

even the room.

--

Morris Dovey

http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/

Posted by *dow* on July 15, 2010, 12:38 am

*> On 7/13/2010 9:47 AM, dow wrote:*

*> >> On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:*

*> >>> Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...*

*> >> Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by*

*> >> inviting her to meet him halfway. :)*

*> > The problem states that the distance between them can only be halved*

*> > every 15 minutes. It doesn't say that the woman can abruptly reduce it*

*> > to zero.*

*> Nyet - the problem states: "Like the difference between an engineer and*

*> a mathematician. Both are placed on one side of the room and a*

*> voluptuous naked women is placed on the other.*

*> They are told that they can only halve the distance remaining to the*

*> women [sic] every 15 minutes."*

*> RTP <grin> - there is no restriction placed on the woman's movement.*

*> The mathematician knows to validate all assumptions, and to test all*

*> hypotheses - and that failure to do so can produce unsatisfactory*

*> (perhaps even painful) outcomes...*

*> ...and an assumption that any woman has no preferences or options has an*

*> unacceptably low probability.*

*> > But how many women would wait, naked, for an hour or more?*

*> That might depend on the woman, the engineer, the mathematician, and*

*> even the room.*

*> --*

*> Morris Doveyhttp://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/ *

It says "they are told" they can halve the distance every 15 minutes.

Since the woman has already been mentioned, presumably "they" includes

her.

And even if it doesn't, surely asking the woman to move to the middle

of the room would be tantamount to participating in an illegal move.

Never mind. As seen by an observer moving almost at c, they are

already virtually in contact. However, in a finite time, they wouldn't

be able to do anything...

You've probably heard the story about the university scientist who had

a mathematical problem he couldn't solve. He walked across to the

Mathematics Department, to get help.

The first person he encountered was a research student. The scientist

explained the problem, and the student promised to work on it and get

back to him.

Feeling uneasy about trusting a mere student, the scientist found a

lecturer. After hearing the problem, he too promised to get back to

the scientist.

On the way out, the scientist met the professor who was the Head of

the Mathematics Department. He also promised to work on the problem

and get back to the scientist.

That evening, there was a knock on the scientist's door. It was the

research student. He gave the scientist a page of calculations, with

the answer to the problem at the end. The scientist thanked him.

A week later, the lecturer brought a sheaf of papers which contained a

detailed description of the problem in mathematical terms, with

instructions for solving it. The actual solution was not included.

Six months later, the scientist encountered the professor at a

meeting. "Ah!" said the professor. "I've been thinking about that

problem of yours, and I've made real progress. I have managed to prove

that a solution does exist!"

I guess we've all met people like those.

dow

Posted by *Morris Dovey* on July 15, 2010, 5:31 am

On 7/14/2010 7:38 PM, dow wrote:

*>> On 7/13/2010 9:47 AM, dow wrote:*

*>>*

*>>>> On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:*

*>>*

*>>>>> Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...*

*>>*

*>>>> Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by*

*>>>> inviting her to meet him halfway. :)*

*>>*

*>>> The problem states that the distance between them can only be halved*

*>>> every 15 minutes. It doesn't say that the woman can abruptly reduce it*

*>>> to zero.*

*>>*

*>> Nyet - the problem states: "Like the difference between an engineer and*

*>> a mathematician. Both are placed on one side of the room and a*

*>> voluptuous naked women is placed on the other.*

*>>*

*>> They are told that they can only halve the distance remaining to the*

*>> women [sic] every 15 minutes."*

*>>*

*>> RTP<grin> - there is no restriction placed on the woman's movement.*

*>>*

*>> The mathematician knows to validate all assumptions, and to test all*

*>> hypotheses - and that failure to do so can produce unsatisfactory*

*>> (perhaps even painful) outcomes...*

*>>*

*>> ...and an assumption that any woman has no preferences or options has an*

*>> unacceptably low probability.*

*>>*

*>>> But how many women would wait, naked, for an hour or more?*

*>>*

*>> That might depend on the woman, the engineer, the mathematician, and*

*>> even the room.*

*>>*

*>> --*

*>> Morris Doveyhttp://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/ *

*> It says "they are told" they can halve the distance every 15 minutes.*

*> Since the woman has already been mentioned, presumably "they" includes*

*> her.*

Two people separated by a common language... :)

Substituting for your "They":

'The engineer, the mathematician, and the woman are told that they can

only halve the distance remaining to the woman every 15 minutes.'

And substituting for my "They":

'The engineer and the mathematician are told that they can only halve

the distance remaining to the woman every 15 minutes.'

I think the second better fits the context of the problem (attempting a

generalized comparison of engineering thinking vs mathematical

thinking), and I think daestrom's anecdote may reveal more about

engineering thought than about mathematical thought as well as some

error in how engineering types /think/ mathematicians approach problem

solving.

*> And even if it doesn't, surely asking the woman to move to the middle*

*> of the room would be tantamount to participating in an illegal move.*

I can see how the engineer might think so. :)

BTW a /good/ mathematician probably wouldn't /ask/, he'd /invite/ -

functionally there may not be much difference, but my historical data

indicates that 'invite' has a higher probability of producing a

satisfactory outcome...

I'm curious as to why you would assume a "move to the middle of the

room". The are many other possibilities that result in a post-move

distance that is half of the pre-move distance.

<snipperoni>

*> Six months later, the scientist encountered the professor at a*

*> meeting. "Ah!" said the professor. "I've been thinking about that*

*> problem of yours, and I've made real progress. I have managed to prove*

*> that a solution does exist!"*

*> I guess we've all met people like those.*

Mathematicians, like engineers, constitute a full spectrum - and half of

both groups fall into 'below average' groupings. Universities tend to

accumulate those who have a proven aptitude for politics in an academic

arena and for the acquisition of funding, rather than brilliance in

their field or ability to lead students to the threshold of understanding.

--

Morris Dovey

http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/

> On 7/12/2010 8:10 PM, dow wrote:> > Maybe the mathematician doesn't like voluptuous women...> Methinks the mathematician would validate the unstated hypothesis by> inviting her to meet him halfway. :)> --> Morris Doveyhttp://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/