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View Diary: The algebra formula that saved an industry (258 comments)

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  •  Great story. But I spot a nit I must pick. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KS Rose, Larsstephens, ariseatex

    *groan*, my students would say.
    The answer to the problem is NOT 24.0000000. It is just plain 24, despite the little white lie our calculator would like us to believe. The reason is that the number "60" that enters as the number of shots per game is NOT 60.0000000. It is "60 ± ?". In other words, the 60, at best, is known only to 2 "significant figures", and so the answer cannot be expressed any more precisely than 2 significant figures. To write down more implies a degree of precision of input data that you don't have, and that is taking liberties with the truth.
    This is a prime example of why the human brain must intercede and override the quick, handy, but still stupid calculating device.

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