Cubic Polynomial Word Problem: Jenny and the Magic Bean


Here is a PDF version of a math problem I recently created. You’ll have to know how to factor cubic polynomials, so you may want to brush up on that first, or use this problem as a refresher. Just click on the link below to open it up. If you get stuck, a full solution starts on the second page.*



* I know I’m being lazy here not writing the problem directly in the post, but it would take at least an hour’s work to insert all the LaTeX bits and to align things. Most browsers come with a PDF viewer, right ;-)?

Ebook Mystery Word Problem!


I have recently been reading an ebook* that is quite long and has endnotes. Because my ebook reader only tells me my current positions in the actual body of the book and the endnotes, I have been wondering how much of the book I have actually read. Right now, my reader tells me I’m on block 8577 in the book’s body and block 22884 in the endnotes section. Note that a “block” can be thought of as a segment of the book’s text, be it a group of words or characters. For example, each block could be 120 characters, including blank spaces.

To solve this mystery, I gathered the following extra information from the book’s table of contents.

Total number of blocks in book: 24506

Starting block of endnotes: 21434

Can you figure out, to the nearest percent, how much of the book I’ve read?

Continue reading “Ebook Mystery Word Problem!”