Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last night my sis in Beijing called regarding a maths question. Her eldest 14 year old daughter, who is in an international school there follows the IB method of learning and is already cracking her head on trigonometry, high algebra, geometry, etc.

Her e mail:

Study the following 5 statements:

1. Spoof is the set of all purrs
2. Spoof contains at least 2 distinct purrs
3. Every lilt is a set of purrs and contains at least 2 distinct purrs
4. If A and B are any 2 distinct purrs, there is one & only one lilt that contains them
5. No lilt contains all the purrs


a. Show that the following statement is true - There are at least 3 lilts.

b. If the lilt "girt" contains the purr "pil" and the purr "til" and if the lilt "mirt" contains the purr "pil" and the purr "til" then the lilt "girt" is the same as the lilt "mirt" except in one case. What is the case?

Pls do not hesitate to contact me when u have solve the above problem :)

My reply was:

Are u sure this is geometry? Sounds like a therapy session between a psychiatrist and his manic-depressive patient who is in a manic phase and having one of his grandiose delusion of being Avicenna, Newton and Thomas Edison all put together!!

That is why the problem is unsolvable! Impossible, I tell you! Forget about girt, pil and til, even the first question is not possible! If spoof is a set of all purrs and contains at least 2 distinct purrs and every lilt contains at least 2 distinct purrs A and B, then the minimal number of lilts would be 2 and not 3!

Are you sure there wasn't any typing error or something?

Anyway, I bet this was a trick question, that is why the set was called Spoof!! hehe

Btw, try giving this to Obama or Hilary. No, don't give it to McCain. Definitely not to Bush! Forget P*****h, he'll doze off the minute he gets to the second question!

Her reply:

Thnx (at least u attempted to read the question ....Palin material)...but no thnx for not coming up w the aswer (definitely Dr M qualities....shrug off the immateriality, impossibility, stupidity of the question & try & get other lesser of kretins to attempt the question)...whatever the case thanks for even reading the question. I think u may hv open up my brain cells to come w the answer.

There are no typo errors...But there are at least 3 lilts - 1st lilt is the spoof with any purrs, 2nd lilt is the spoof w 2 distinct purrs & 3rd lilt is the one & only that contains A&B distinct purrs. So min must be at least 3 lilts since every lilt is a set of purrs. Nxt question I will pass to either to Samy Velu or LL Sik

I hope today Nina doesn't come back w any Bio or physics questions...I'm dead. Meng better come back frm Houston quickly.

My reply:

You said :
there are at least 3 lilts - 1st lilt is the spoof with any purrs, 2nd lilt is the spoof w 2 distinct purrs & 3rd lilt is the one & only that contains A&B distinct purrs.

Now, how can that be? It says in the question that Spoof is the set of all spurs. That means lilt is subset of spoof. Your answer shows otherwise. In that case, this is purely a bad worded question!

Any Maths whizz around??


hafiz238 said...

one of your silent reader.

This question is asking on a math concept called set. or venn diagrams

1. Spoof is the set of all purrs.
2. Spoof contains at least 2 distinct purrs
draw a big circle called 'spoof' and draw two circles inside the big circle. The two circles are called 'purrs'.

3. Every lilt is a set of purrs and contains at least 2 distinct purrs
4. If A and B are any 2 distinct purrs, there is one & only one lilt that contains them
draw another circle in the middle of both small circle (purrs). this circle represents one lilt.
But each lilt must contain at least two small circles (purrs), thus, we need to draw another circle (lilt). The easiest way is to draw another circle that combined both purrs again, however, we need to read the last statement

5. No lilt contains all the purrs
Therefore it is not possible to draw another circle called 'lilt' in the middle of 'purrs' again [step 4]
Therefore, we need to draw another small circle(purrs) inside the big circle (spoof). After that, you draw one circle (lilt) in the middle of the two 'purrs' and draw another 'lilt' on the other side.

It is difficult to explain in words and easier to explain in diagrams. I hope this helps.

If you are able to draw the circle per instruction, you will be able to prove that there are at least 3 lilts.

dith said...

Thanks Hafiz. Yes, I too thought the questions was about sets, the topic I learned in Form 1 which incidentally was thousands of moons ago!!

As per my last reply to my sister, after drawing the circles, I still can't envisage that there are 3 lilts. I only thought there could be 2. But you managed to explain that there are 3 lilts.

Yes, drawing would make it clearer. Thanks once again.

p.s. I have e mailed your explaination to my sis. She can't access my blog in Beijing. Blogging is prohibited in China, :p

pycnogenol said...

Going back to the Roman times, Cicero wrote "Ne caput nec pedes" to describe confusion.

Just as I am about to resume leaving comments to your entries again, you have to come up with this one.

Ne caput nec pedes betul !!!! :(

dith said...

Hehe, takpe lah nie caput nec pedes sekali sekala. Biar caput tu active sikit. :p

P5 said...

this is where i find the subject of economy comes useful. when you cant explain the multiple variable, just qualify with the statement: ceterus parabus!

hafiz238 said...

I hope she would understand my explanation. I used to do IB previously.

dyanna said...

Ini soalan trick ni... IB selalu cam tu, nk create distraction sampai student pening. Good luck to your niece :) at least maths is not just numbers anymore and that makes it less boring (to me at least).

I too did IB ;)

dith said...

P5- Bila masa awok ambik economic? Kat Rhodes ke?

Hafiz- Yes, KMB

Dyanna- So how was China trip?

Has said...


you ni so mean, he he he. tapi aku psychiatrist pun terasa nak terkencing (geram..) bila attempting to solve it.

Macam mana you buatkan the blog list to appear on the right side ya?

Nik Aziz sure suko kat background baru. Rumah, I, segala tiang warna ni la.

dith said...


The blog list appears on the right side as the template is designed as such,I just used the layout edit to add in the list.

Yes, green is beautiful, :))

btw, MU grads memang garang kot. My paeds lecturers are the worst and almost all of them are from MU! Imagine paediatricians being mean to their students and yet so nice to their patients! Ironic eh?

Count Byron said...

Wowwwww.. I was spoofed all through.. and lilts thought I are the sounds u make that is delightful to foreign ears.
Really, to be able to get one's head cracking on those mysteries is a bonus.
Salam Ramadhan, and happy sahur


Jamil said...

This is definitely one question that I won't be getting during ward rounds. Or will I...?

By the way, Ramadhan Kareem to you and family :)

Hazia said...

Gosh, just reading the question is enough to make me dizzy, not a Math whiz, no. LOL!

bergen said...

Is it any wonder why I quit school...

simah said...

spoofed! Dont wanna be in ur sis shoes for sure...though i wish her luck... i am sure more of those questions will come her way... u can always answer her...i am a doc..not a matematician :0)

simah said...

by the way akak..salam aidilfitri dari kami di sini.. maaf zahir dan batin...:0)

OOD said...



Anonymous said...

We are a group of volunteers and starting a brand new scheme in our community.
Your website offered us with helpful info to work on.
You've performed an impressive activity and our whole community shall be grateful to you.

Stop by my weblog Email templates samples

Anonymous said...

I am in fact thankful to the holder of this website who has
shared this fantastic article at at this time.

Here is my blog: email announcement templates

Anonymous said...

I think the admin of this site is actually working hard in favor of his web page, because here every information
is quality based information.

My web site - top email marketing

Anonymous said...

Saved as a favorite, I love your site!

Also visit my blog microsoft outlook email templates

Anonymous said...

I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I really loved the standard information a person supply in your guests?
Is going to be again often to check out new posts

my webpage ... Email Invitation Templates

There was an error in this gadget

Bukit Tinggi 2008

Great Wall 2009

Followers the garden of memory grows arid... | Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial License | Dandy Dandilion Designed by Simply Fabulous Blogger Templates