Maths – as teachers are fond of telling anyone who’ll listen – is everywhere. In this difficult second episode of the difficult second series of Relatively Prime, Samuel Hansen shows us a few important places where it can be a help: at the petrol pump, at the birthday party, in the car park and at the bar — or rather, in deciding whether to go.
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Here’s a bar bet you can’t lose. Actually, it’s more of a kitchen bet, being a quiche cutting conundrum.
You’ve just bought a lovely fresh haggis quiche at your local Minus 4 shop and are planning to eat it in one sitting, in your kitchen with a friend. You’ve agreed to share it in the fairest possible way: one of you cuts and the other choses. The quiche is in the usual circular shape.
A coin is tossed—rather unnecessarily, it must be said—and it is determined that your friend gets to cut. You step out of the kitchen for a moment and upon your return discover to your horror that your friend has already done the cutting, but not as you had expected. Instead of making one simple straight cut as close to a diameter as possible, the big oaf has made four straight cuts.
Ariel Procaccia and Jonathan Goldman of Carnegie Mellon University have taken it upon themselves to make fair division problems easier to solve with a flashy new website called Spliddit (eyy, fuhgeddaboudit).