## Archive for September 29, 2012

### I’m Only Half-Serious

“I’d like to order a whole chicken,” I said to the man behind the counter at the barbeque restaurant.

“Sorry, dude,” he replied. “We don’t have whole chickens.”

“Oh, okay. Well, what should I get for a family of four?”

“How about two half-chickens.”

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

So I wrote a letter to the manager at Red Hot & Blue:

To Whom It May Concern,

Please be advised that

two halves equal one whole.Sincerely,

A Mathematically Literate Customer

Of course, there are those who could be convinced that 1 = 1/2. Let *a* = *b*. Then,

*a*^{2} = *ab*

*a*^{2} – *b*^{2} = *ab* – *b*^{2}

(*a* + *b*)(*a* – *b*) = *b*(*a* – *b*)

*a* + *b* = *b*

*a* + *a* = *a*

2*a* = *a*

2 = 1

2 ÷ 2 = 1 ÷ 2

1 = 1/2

A lot of confusion about halves and wholes occurs in classrooms, too.

Teacher: Who can give me some examples of whole numbers?

Student: 0, 6, 8, 9.

Teacher: What about 10?

Student: That’s only a half-whole, since 1 doesn’t have a hole in it.