AJ. The Pop Quiz

Why 462 is the least interesting number less than 1000, and the students get a paradoxical pop quiz.

(plus, the answer to the census taker’s puzzle)


  1. guywaters said,

    June 18, 2007 at 4:14 am

    Your Census question was wrong. You need to say oldest child not oldest daughter the answer to the question as you posed it could also be 1 9 9 with the one year old being a girl and the two nine year old twins being a boy and a girl. The answer my oldest daughter would still apply for 1 9 9

  2. strauss said,

    June 18, 2007 at 7:22 am

    Yes, a slip o the tongue; thanks for pointing that out.

  3. Shawn said,

    August 8, 2012 at 11:46 pm

    What if somebody reliable like Chaim Goodman-Strauss said something like, “At our next class session, you will have a math test, and it will be a surprise.” Then, surely everyone will be perplexed. This reliable person said something that seems paradoxical. He told us that something will happen, yet he says that it will be a surprise when it happens? There must be some other meaning to what he is saying. There probably isn’t going to be a math test of the kind we are familiar with. What other meanings does “test” have? Maybe we’re going to come into class and the professor will verify some kind of mathematical property or theorem that we’ve never heard of. That could be a way that it will be a surprise.
    Then the next class session comes along, and at the beginning of class, a test is given. And all the students are surprised, because they thought that he couldn’t have actually given a test because that wouldn’t have been a surprise. So the fact that it actually occurred was a surprise. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy?

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