## Wednesday, March 16, 2005

### The Man Who Counted

Well, I'm not much of a math person, but I liked this....math riddle, if you will. Try it out:

A man was on his way to Arabia on his camel. While traveling, he met a man who was pointing at a tree and shouting "6,567! 6,567!" The man on the camel stopped. "What are you doing?" he asked. "What are you shouting about!" "The leaves on that tree," said the man. "There are 6,567 of them!" The man on the camel was astounded. "You know that?" he said. "Yes," said the man. "And there are 12,954,694 blades of grass in that field over there." The man on the camel was even more amazed. "Well," he said, "if you can count like that, you can make a lot of money. You shouldn't be just out here counting leaves and blades of grass. Come with me to Arabia."
So the man who counted joined the man on the camel and together they rode on. Soon they came to three men who were obviously in a heated argument. The two men on the camel stopped. "What is going on here?" they asked. "Why are you arguing so?" One of the arguing men came to explain.
"We are all brothers, the sons of one man, and our father has died. He left us an inheritance of those camels under that tree, but we cannot settle the issue amongst ourselves."
"Why not?" asked the man who counted, "Were your father's wishes unclear?"
"Oh no," said the son. "They were quite explicit. That is, in fact, the problem. You see, our father had 35 camels. He has left half of them to one of us, a third of them to another, and one ninth of them to the third." The first man on the camel puzzled aloud. "Well, you will have to slaughter and divide the beasts amongst you."
"And that is why we argue," said the son. "None of us wants half of a dead camel. We must divide them differently. But my brothers will not go against our father's wishes."
"Then the man who counted spoke up. I can solve your problem," he said.

Okay...you have until the end of this day's blog to figure out how to solve the problem to everyone's satisfaction. You may not kill a camel. Now for other news of the day.

Let's see....today was, of course, Wednesday, and that does not always mean a good day for me. Let me explain: at my school, Tuesday and Wednesday are block days. That means we have half the classes we usually do for double the amount of time. Tuesdays we have periods one through four, and Wednesdays we have periods five through eight. Now here is my schedule:

Period 1: Honors New Testament
Period 2: Early U.S. History
Period 3: Analyzing Writing
Period 4: Study Hall
Period 5: Spanish II
Period 6: Honors Geometry
Period 7: Biology
Period 8: Drama

I love my period 1-4 classes, which makes Tuesday an awesome day. Study hall is especially fun, as my friend Erik and I have a tradition of playing Scrabble or Scattergories during that time frame (an hour and a half). He always wins, but that's okay. I'm resigned to it...and it makes the occasional win all the sweeter! But Wednesday is a a toss-up. I mean, I love Spanish class, but it gets rather boring because my class does not progress very quickly, and I would love to go a little faster. Honors Geometry is very boring because, as I mentioned, I do NOT like math at all! Biology is fun sometimes, especially when we do a lab. But Drama is always fun...we've got a crazy class, and so it is not always like an actual class...we don't do much in the way of notes, for instance. We're allowed to sit on the desks instead of in them...it's much looser. Then, after school, I have Chapel Team practice. Just sitting around singing awesome praise songs for an hour is definitely to be recommended to improve your mood, I'll tell you that!
Anyway, today was a good Wednesday all in all. In Spanish we did a cultural impact story, which was fascinating (at least to me), and Senor was in a really good mood. Often the tone of the class reflects the mood of the teacher, so class today was rather fun. Honors Geometry...well, we were taking a test, which wasn't exactly fun, but at least I wasn't falling asleep. Besides, once I finished I didn't have to do anything else. Biology...we've been dissecting minks, which is a smelly task due to the massive amounts of formaldehyde that they are soaked in, but it's interesting all the same. My partner and I named ours "Big Papi" after David Ortiz...partly because we both love the Red Sox, and partly because he's big and...ahem...fat, like the real Big Papi. Finally, Drama. We did some group improvs, which is always funny because you never know what is going to happen! All we get is a scenario and maybe a rough idea of what should be happening, but other than that, it's totally up in the air. Today's was funny because we had the most staid person in class become a hysterical passenger in a spaceship that was about to crash into the sun! The idea was that we should come up with a scenario in which the people all reacted very differently. So Nate was hysterical, Greg was sad that he hadn't gotten to do everything he wanted to do in life, and Jacqueline was a scientist who was fascinated by the idea of flying into the sun. Oh, and I was the captain, who was terribly bored about the whole thing. :-)

Now for the answer to the math riddle above:

Remember that the man who counted and his companion are riding on a camel. The answer is for them to give the sons their camel. That makes 36 camels. One son then gets half...18. Another son gets a third...12. The last son gets a ninth...4. So all three sons have what they were promised and there are now two camels left over. The first man gets his camel back and there is an extra one for the man who counted.