A math problem for creative thinkers.

16 05 2007

I’m not sure there’s a word in Portuguese for “efficiency.” There may well be, however the direct translation would probably be something like this: “Uh, how about we try it this way?”

Allow me to explain:

Nearly every morning I go to the padaria. I get myself a cup of coffee to go and something to eat that I bring to school with me in my bag. It is two blocks to school from the padaria and I walk by myself. This has been my routine for nearly 10 months.
In the padaria, there are three sizes of cups: small (insulated), medium (insulated, the standard size for to-go coffee), and large (non-insulated but still appropriate for hot drinks.) When I order a “large” coffee to go, they give it to me in the “medium” cup that is insulated. Okay, fine. When I order TWO “large” coffees to go, they give them to me in TWO “medium” cups that are insulated. The pattern would therefore continue that if I ordered THREE large cups of coffee, I would receive THREE “medium” cups. Got it? That right there, that’s logic: the number of cups I receive are directly proportional to how many cups of coffee I order.

Now, this morning, I ordered TWO large coffees to go. Same as always. But, alas, there was a problem. No “medium” insulated cups. This left two options: small insulated cups and large non-insulated cups.

Keeping in mind the second sentence of this blog post, “…the direct translation [of the word ‘efficiency’] would probably be something like, ‘Uh, how about we try it this way?'”, what do you think the solution to this cuppage problem was?

A prize goes to the reader who responds most accurately.


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3 responses

16 05 2007
Jake

4 small cups! Any career academic would know that! =)

16 05 2007
ginacoggio

Ah yes….but there’s MORE.

17 05 2007
ginacoggio

Okay, Jake, you win. But the answer involves a tray, a box, and saran wrap.

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