Spend enough time on social media and its likely that youll see what Ive started to call a Bad Math Scam. This is where an account, looking to juice their engagement figures, posts an equation with a challenge for people to solve it. Often, itll say something like Only 80s Kids Can Do This or Brain Power Challenge: Can You Do This Without a Calculator?. The only problem is that the equation is so ambiguously-written that you can come up with multiple answers.Heres one that I found floating around the internet a couple of days ago from an account that seems to re-share a lot of existing content in the hope of going viral. The tweet reads (in true viral bait style) Please dont use a Calculator, use your BRAIN: 50+50 - 25 x 0 + 2 + 2 = ??.Please dont use a Calculator, use your BRAIN:50 + 50 - 25 x 0 + 2 + 2 = ?? Sonia (@Sonia_ar7) October 1, 2021Now, the equation is sufficiently ambiguous in its design that, depending on how you tackle it, it produces a number of different answers. In this instance, users concluded that the answer was definitely 0, 4, 79 or 104. The subsequent chat often breaks out into some discussion about how Order of Operations work and how stupid the other people are. Between argument, counter-argument, and people smugly retweeting about how other people didnt pay attention to high school math, the original poster has succeeded in getting their engagement.But there is a solution, and a neat way of arriving at the correct answer both for this problem and for any others you see online. And Ive enlisted the help of a mathematician to help explain it so that this sort of viral bait never trips you up ever again. Especially if you dont recall your PEMDAS (or BODMAS, if you were raised on the other side of the pond) from high school math.Dr. Helen Crowley is lecturer in mathematics at the University of East Anglia, and took issue with how Id described the equation. The problem shared [above] is not actually ambiguous at all, she said, maths is a very well-behaved subject and there are fixed rules that all problems like this follow. Dr. Crowley is, of course, referring to the Order of Operations, which explains how a multi-part equation like the one above is meant to be broken down and worked out.In the US and UK, Order of Operations is expressed under the acronyms PEMDAS (US) or BODMAS (UK). The terms may differ, but the order in which you calculate each component part of the equation remains the same. You start with anything in Parentheses / Brackets, and then move on to anything using Exponents / Orders, which are figures including square-roots and powers. The equation above, uses neither.Third in the list is Multiplication and Division, which is the first function that we actually need to do. For this problem, we [first] do 25 x 0 = 0, said Dr. Crowley. That 0 then inserts itself into the sum, which now looks like 50 + 50 - 0 + 2 + 2. The last two operations to consider are Addition and Subtraction, said Dr. Crowley, making the final sum 50 + 50 - 0 + 2 + 2 = 104. This is exactly what your calculator does, as it is programmed to know the order, said Dr. Crowley, the above problem certainly isnt ambiguous, we are just forgetting the rules.Now, you may be wondering who was in charge of establishing this order, and when that may have happened. According to the UEAs Dr. Mark Cooker, the current Order of Operations was probably first laid down in their current form in the middle of the 16th century. Before that point, manuscripts were wholly wordy, and free from operational symbols, except abbreviations, said Dr. Cooker. But from the mid-16th century onwards, math texts were first printed in large numbers for education.Cooker then believes that it was the wide-ranging influence of the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London that set new high standards to reduce ambiguity in handling powers, brackets and multiplications or additions, in the correct order. He said that the journal, as it would now be described, spread higher standards of maths typography as far afield as St. Petersburg, where Leonard Euler was working. Euler was one of the most pioneering mathematicians of the 18th century, who published so many papers and influential textbooks, along with clear explanations of BODMAS rules in his elementary texts must have made everyone agree on the current order of operations.Now that you know how to solve those crappy equations people post on social media, dont forget to share a link to this story to serve as a bulwark against folks cynically trying to juice their engagement.
Instagram is testing new tools to make it easier for creators to earn money through its service. The app is now testing affiliate shops, a feature it first previewed at its Creator Week event in June, and a dedicated partnerships inbox.Affiliate shops are an extension of Facebooks existing shopping features, which are already widely available. But the latest version of the storefronts allow creators to link to products that are already part of their affiliate arrangements. Creators will earn commission fees when their followers buy products from these shops (though the exact terms of these arrangements havent been detailed). The company says that for now the shopping feature will only be available to creators who are part of that affiliate program.Instagram is also testing new inbox features it says will make it easier for brands to connect with creators for sponsorships. Instagram DMs will get a dedicated partnerships section just for messages from brands. The company says this will give those messages priority placement and will allow them to skip the requests section where incoming messages are often lost.InstagramSeparately, the app is working on tools to match brands with creators looking for sponsorships. With the tools, creators can identify brands they are interested in working with directly from the app. While brands would be able to browse creators who fit their needs based on factors like age, gender and follower count.The tools are still in an early stage, with only a handful of companies and creators participating for now. But the company has previously signaled such features could expand significantly. Mark Zuckerberg said earlier this year that Instagram is planning a branded content marketplace to help enable a bigger creator middle class.
Sony has announced when its next State of Play stream will take place. You can watch it on October 27th at 5PM ET on Twitch or YouTube.It'll be a short broadcast, clocking in at 20 minutes or so, but as we saw with Sony's blockbuster showcase in September, it can pack a lot into these events. The company didn't say what games will be featured nor did it rule anything out. However, the focus will be on third-party titles for PS4 and PS5.Along with reveals from some of its partners, Sony is promising more info about previously announced games. Here's hoping for a firm release date for Bethesda and Tango Gameworks' delayed Ghostwire: Tokyo, which is scheduled for next spring. Square Enix's Forspoken is also penciled in for that timeframe, so perhaps Sony will reveal exactly when that game's coming too. And maybe, just maybe, we'll learn more about the PS5 version of Grand Theft Auto V, which is due to arrive in March.
Today is the 20th anniversary of the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto III. Although Rockstar Games didnt mark the occasion with a sudden surprise release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy The Definitive Edition, it revealed when youll be able to get your hands on the upgraded versions of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.The bundle arrives digitally on November 11th (the former release date for the PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of GTA V) on PC, PlayStation 4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and Nintendo Switch. Physical editions will be available for consoles on December 7th.Rockstar is charging $60 for the trilogy, which might be hard to swallow for some given that the original versions were often available for a few bucks each before the publisher pulled them from digital storefronts this month. It's worth noting that the remastered GTA: San Andreas hits Xbox Game Pass on November 11th and the upgraded GTA III will arrive on PlayStation Now on December 7th.The most obvious changes to the games are upgraded, richer visuals. Rockstar has added higher resolution textures, enhanced the weather effects, improved character and vehicle models, overhauled the lighting system and increased draw distances all while trying to hang onto each game's original aesthetic. Vice City, for one thing, looks far more vibrant than the original, but it's clearly still Vice City.There are some platform-specific enhancements. PS5 and Xbox Series X players will be able to run the games in 4K at up to 60 frames per second. On PC, there's support for NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) upscaling tech. Switch players, meanwhile, will have gyro controls and can use the touchscreen to to navigate menus and to zoom and pan the camera.Rockstar has tweaked the gameplay in other ways. The controller layout now matches that of GTA V, and there are changes to gunplay and targeting, the weapon and radio station selection wheels and minimaps (such as the ability to set waypoints). You'll also be able to immediately restart a mission after failing too, which is a great quality of life update.