10/11/14

Are we that bad at math?

I get a little upset when I see some of these social media posts that challenge people to do simple math. This one was particularly bugging me.

First, let's start with the obvious errors, 2 is not equal to 5, 3 is not equal to 10, and 4 is not equal to 16. If those things were true, then we know that 5=2 by the reflexive property.
I don't believe that is the answer that is expected, and I don't like redefining a basic piece of notation.
So l we need to fix this problem a little. I going to assume that they are trying to represent some relation by using the equals sign. I'm going to rewrite this:
xy
25
310
417
5??
So looking for any type of patterns, I notice right away it isn't linear. The differences between the outputs are 5 and 7, so maybe the answer could be 26, by adding 9, given the little information that is given.
y = 26
However, there are many functions that can fit just three points.
Here is a parabola, that fits these points. Using this function f(5) = 23.

And then there is this circle: . There are two answers here: 24 or 59.


So so far we have answers of 2, 23, 24, 26, and 59. Are there more? Probably. I bet some sort of periodic function could fit those three points. Comment if you think you know of another answer.

10/4/14

Phone encryption a needed addition

How to resolve this? A police “back door” for all smartphones is undesirable — a back door can and will be exploited by bad guys, too. However, with all their wizardry, perhaps Apple and Google could invent a kind of secure golden key they would retain and use only when a court has approved a search warrant.
How can the author say that back doors and unacceptable in one sentence, and in in the very next sentence say a golden key is the answer. It's the same thing, just a different metaphor! The article is also written in a very US-centric perspective. I'm bet in many countries, like Russia and China, encryption is welcomed by many residents, and people whom are traveling there. Compromise needed on smartphone encryption