Great-Uncle Alfred's Bewildering Formula - Puzzling Stack Exchange most recent 30 from puzzling.stackexchange.com 2019-11-12T16:46:12Z https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/feeds/question/61170 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/rdf https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/q/61170 13 Great-Uncle Alfred's Bewildering Formula hexomino https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/18422 2018-02-28T15:01:05Z 2018-03-01T19:53:56Z <p>My great-uncle Alfred has, for several years, voiced the opinion that the children of today have a much easier life than when he was young. Kids are mollycoddled by their parents, there is no more corporal punishment at school and even mathematics, he claims, has gotten easier. I am pursuing mathematics as a career which means that, at every opportunity, he will try to undermine my ability with a tricky riddle or maths problem to prove his point. </p> <p>On our most recent interaction, great-uncle Alfred cornered me with a devious grin on his face.</p> <p>"So, sonny," he said, "you think you're pretty smart, don't you, wanting to be a mathematician, eh?"</p> <p>"Yes." I said, bluntly, not wanting to get into further discussion about it.</p> <p>"Well," he smirked, "see if you can solve this formula."</p> <p>He thrust a piece of paper into my hand with the following written on it</p> <blockquote> <p>$\left[ \int_{2}^{sa} \frac{dx}{\ln x} \times AXCIX \times \left(\{ t | t \notin (-\infty,\infty)\}\times 2\right)\right] \times \left[ \frac{31}{12} \times \frac{lb}{in^2}0U \times 0.78571\ldots:1\right] \times \left[ \left(\min\{E[X], E[Y], E[Z]\} \gg 1 \right) \times \sqrt{4356} \times F\left(\frac{8 \clubsuit}{E} \right)\right] = \,\,\,?$</p> </blockquote> <p>"The answer is an integer," he explained, "oh, and don't forget to get the correct units!"</p> <p><em>Units</em>, I thought to myself, <em>I can't even make head nor tail of this mumbo-jumbo.</em></p> <p>Has great-uncle Alfred lost his marbles or is there some sense to be made of this formula?</p> <p><strong>Can you detemine the solution with the correct units?</strong> <br> <strong>Can you explain the origin of each term in the formula?</strong></p> https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/61170/-/61181#61181 10 Answer by Bass for Great-Uncle Alfred's Bewildering Formula Bass https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/36023 2018-02-28T19:39:00Z 2018-03-01T09:20:45Z <p>There sure is a lot going on in the formula, so here's a partial answer to get us started.</p> <p>First of all, this looks like it might be some sort of mathematical rebus, or possibly even several of them.</p> <p>At the beginning, the term $\int_{2}^{sa} \frac{dx}{\ln x}$ seems to be the <a href="http://mathworld.wolfram.com/DefiniteIntegral.html" rel="noreferrer">definite</a> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logarithmic_integral_function" rel="noreferrer">logarithmic integral</a> from 2 to "sa": </p> <p>Can't make much anything of $AXCIX$, except maybe</p> <p>$\left(\{ t | t \notin (-\infty,\infty)\}\times 2\right)$ is a bit ambiguous, possibly algebraic notation for "t isn't on the open interval from negative infinity to positive infinity"; the "times 2" might be just to pluralise the word. The ambiguity rises from the parens, which can also mean ordered pairs in set theory, and possibly a couple of other things. A possible interpretation might be</p> <p>$\frac{31}{12}$ looks a bit like a</p> <p>$\frac{lb}{in^2}$ is</p> <p>0U needs work, but $0.78571\ldots:1$ seems to be an approximation of</p> <p>$\min\{E[X], E[Y], E[Z]\} \gg 1$ might imply that even if were the smallest one, the final term would still be a</p> <p>Then,</p> <p>$\sqrt{4356}$ is most likely</p> <p>and $F\frac{8 \clubsuit}{E}$ is most definitely</p> <p>So there seems to be quite a few</p> <p>going on in here.</p> https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/61170/-/61224#61224 9 Answer by Gareth McCaughan for Great-Uncle Alfred's Bewildering Formula Gareth McCaughan https://puzzling.stackexchange.com/users/19114 2018-03-01T17:28:03Z 2018-03-01T19:53:56Z <p>The first [...] indicates the following things (white text, select to see):</p> <ul> <li>$\int_2^{sa}\frac{dx}{\ln x}$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Lisa}}$</li> <li>$AXCIX$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Article 99}}$</li> <li>$\left\{t\,\vert\notin(-\infty,+\infty)\right\}\times2$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Never Again}}$</li> </ul> <p>all of which are</p> <p>The second [...] indicates the following things:</p> <ul> <li>$\frac{31}{12}$: $\color{white}{\textrm{New Year's Eve}}$</li> <li>$\frac{lb}{in^2}0U$: $\color{white}{\textrm{P.S.\ I Love You}}$</li> <li>$0.78571...:1$: $\color{white}{\textrm{11:14}}$</li> </ul> <p>all of which are</p> <p>The third [...] indicates the following things:</p> <ul> <li>$\min\left\{E[X],E[Y],E[Z]\right\}\gg1$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Great Expectations}}$</li> <li>$\sqrt{4356}$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Sixty Six}}$</li> <li>$F\left(\frac{8\clubsuit}{E}\right)$: $\color{white}{\textrm{Fight Club}}$</li> </ul> <p>all of which are</p> <p>The solution is therefore</p> <p>which does indeed consist of a positive integer and a unit.</p> <p>Credit where it's due:</p>