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October 4th, 2019, 07:26 PM  #1 
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2013 From: New York, USA Posts: 673 Thanks: 88  Questions That Could Make You Waste Your Time
The ACT had an inequality where the answers were number lines. The fifth and final choice was a blank line with the words "empty set." That was the correct answer because the inequality had absolute value < or = 1, so working with x in the absolute value was a waste of time.

October 5th, 2019, 07:35 AM  #2  
Math Team Joined: May 2013 From: The Astral plane Posts: 2,304 Thanks: 961 Math Focus: Wibbly wobbly timeywimey stuff.  Quote:
Could you please post the whole question? Dan  
October 5th, 2019, 08:49 AM  #3  
Senior Member Joined: Sep 2016 From: USA Posts: 670 Thanks: 440 Math Focus: Dynamical systems, analytic function theory, numerics  Quote:
 
October 5th, 2019, 08:59 AM  #4 
Senior Member Joined: Mar 2015 From: Universe 2.71828i3.14159 Posts: 132 Thanks: 49 Math Focus: Area of Circle 
I have a perfect example of topics that can waste your time.

October 5th, 2019, 09:21 AM  #5 
Senior Member Joined: Dec 2015 From: somewhere Posts: 734 Thanks: 98 
Wasting the 4thdimension . lol

October 5th, 2019, 10:56 AM  #6 
Senior Member Joined: Mar 2015 From: Universe 2.71828i3.14159 Posts: 132 Thanks: 49 Math Focus: Area of Circle  A mathematician and his best friend, an engineer, attend a public lecture on geometry in thirteendimensional space. "How did you like it?" the mathematician wants to know after the talk. "My head's spinning", the engineer confesses. "How can you develop any intuition for thirteendimensional space?" "Well, it's not even difficult. All I do is visualize the situation in arbitrary Ndimensional space and then set N = 13." 
October 6th, 2019, 03:49 PM  #7 
Senior Member Joined: Oct 2013 From: New York, USA Posts: 673 Thanks: 88  
October 6th, 2019, 05:04 PM  #8 
Math Team Joined: Jul 2011 From: Texas Posts: 3,034 Thanks: 1621  
October 7th, 2019, 05:12 AM  #9 
Senior Member Joined: Jun 2019 From: USA Posts: 310 Thanks: 162 
Agreed. If you understand absolute value and ≤, and are thinking about the problem statement, the answer is obvious and doesn't waste your time. If you aren't thinking about these things, the problem is training you to do so, and again, not really a waste of your time.

October 7th, 2019, 06:05 AM  #10 
Senior Member Joined: Apr 2014 From: Glasgow Posts: 2,164 Thanks: 736 Math Focus: Physics, mathematical modelling, numerical and computational solutions 
Judging from threads already posted on this forum, something like: "Is Cantor's diagonal argument false?" or "Can division by zero instead be defined as <whatever> instead of undefined?" Mostly because the people asking the question haven't spent the hundreds to thousands of hours researching the existing work relating to those very confusing/difficult/detailed/complex questions, so they spend just as long making stuff up that makes no sense and saying "why not dis?". 

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