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August 17
2015 年 8 月 17 日

土豪的算術

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大陸最近出現的「土豪」一族,給人的印象不外財大氣粗,動不動便搬出一袋袋鈔票,到處展現土霸氣息。許多人看不起土豪,競相揶揄他們。可是,最近聽到一個土豪的故事,也許可以帶給我們一些啟發。他沒讀過書,生意做得相當大,顯然有兩把刷子。

土豪兒子做作業,被一道算術題難倒,題目是:雞兔十四隻同籠,共有三十八隻腳,雞和兔各幾隻?

這個雞兔同籠的故事,曾經難倒不少人。相信不少人還是答不太上來。博士生搶著解答:假設雞有 X 隻,兔有 Y 隻,兩個變數……問題還沒定義清楚,就把人搞得一頭漿糊,反而是土豪先把答案給說得一清二楚。

土豪說:「我也有假設。假設雞和兔都訓練有素,吹一聲哨子,抬起一隻腳,38 - 14 = 24。再吹一聲,又抬起一隻腳,24 - 14 = 10。這時所有的雞都一屁股坐在地上了,而兔子還兩隻腳立著。所以,兔子有 10 ÷ 2 = 5 隻,雞當然就有 14 - 5 =9 隻。」

土豪也許土,可是賺的錢並不是天上掉下來的。他的演算法還真有點學問。雖小道,但依然可觀。也許不要太過輕視土豪。

註:本文曾載於聯合報(2015年8月5日)。

Tuhao math logic

A new class of people on the mainland referred to as "Tuhao" or "the uncouth nouveau riche" has appeared lately.

Tuhao are thought to be arrogant about their wealth, freely showing off their affluence and exhibiting an air of tackiness with their bullying attitude.

Many other people look down on them, ready to pull their legs whenever they can.

But a recent story related to a Tuhao offers food for thought.

This particular Tuhao was really something. He runs a huge business even though he hasn't had any education.

The Tuhao's son was perplexed by a maths puzzle. He was asked: There is a total of 14 chickens and rabbits in a cage. There are 38 legs. How many chickens are there? And how many rabbits?

Quite a number of people have been baffled by this conundrum. I trust many still might not get the answer. A doctoral student might rush in with this solution: "Suppose there is x number of chickens and y number of rabbits. With just two variables… " I bet people might be already at a loss before he finishes his definition.

But the Tuhao came up with a crisp and clear solution.

"Suppose the chickens and rabbits are well trained. With one blow of a whistle, they raise one leg. 38 – 14 = 24. With a second whistle, they raise another leg. 24 – 14 = 10. By this time, all the chickens will be lying on the ground, and the rabbits will remain standing on two legs. Therefore, there are 5 rabbits (10 ÷ 2 = 5). And 14 – 5 = 9. So we have 9 chickens."

Tuhao may appear tacky, but the money they made didn't fall from the sky. And the arithmetic reasoning makes perfect sense.

Though it is a minor story, perhaps we should not look down upon Tuhao so readily.

Note:
This article was originally published in Chinese in the United Daily News (5 August, 2015).

17 August, 2015

 

 

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