## Chance for a Would-be Bride

There was a tradition in old Russia. A would-be bride gathers six long pieces of straw and grasp them in her hand. She then randomly ties pairs of knots on the top and the bottom. Since there are six blades of grass sticking out above and below the hand, she will tie three knots on the top and three knots on the bottom. If she forms one big ring, she gets married soon.

Estimate the probability that the girl will get married soon.

The problem is mentioned in The New York Times NUMBERPLAY and it is credited to Sunil Singh.

## Secret Agent 007

Seven secret agents are on payroll of a government.

Secret agent 001 spies on a secret agent who spies on secret agent 002,

who spies on a secret agent who spies on secret agent 003,

who spies on . . . spies on secret agent 007

who spies on a secret agent who spies on secret agent 001.

Who spies on secret agent 007?

## Aplusclick Best Puzzles 2019

These are the Best Puzzles published at www.aplusclick.org in 2019.

## Back to School – Friendship Math

It is the first day of a new school year, and this class has only 10 students.  Ashley has 9 friends, Betty has 8, Caleb has 7, Derek has 6, Elaine has 5, Graham has 4, Henri has 3, Ivana has 2, Julie has 1.  Name one of Fred’s friends.

In a group of 4 school children, each child has exactly two friends, just one of which is their best friend. What is the minimum possible number of children for whom their best friend is also that friend’s best friend?

It is the first day of a new school year, and this class has only 10 students.  Ashley has 9 friends, Betty has 8, Caleb has 7, Derek has 6, Elaine has 5, Graham has 4, Henri has 3, Ivana has 2, Julie has 1.  How many friends does Fred have?

It is the first day of a new school year, and this class has only 5 students. Amy has no friends yet. Betty has one friend. Chris has three friends. Derek has two friends.  How many friends does Ellie have?

In a group of five students, Ann has one real friend among them, Betty has two,  Craig has three, and Dianna has two. How many real friends does Edgar have in the group?

## Unrepresentative Voting

Leslie Green explains how our voting systems can be unrepresentative.

Five different parties are standing in an election for one representative. The voting  methods:  First past the post (FPTP): the party with the highest vote-count wins.

Is the voting system representative?

The no-pets party has 30% of the total, whereas parties that want pets are the remaining 70%.  As it stands the FPTP system would vote-in the no-pets party, which does not represent the view of the electorate.  What has happened is that the pro-pet movement has splintered, dividing the vote. In order to overcome this, one can use a transferable vote scheme so people can vote for their preferred option safely, preventing the hated no-pets party from winning.

A more detailed analysis can be found in an example.

## First Woman to Win the Abel Prize

Karen Uhlenbeck to win the most prestigious award in mathematics – the Abel Prize.

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2019 to Karen Keskulla Uhlenbeck of the University of Texas at Austin, USA.

Her theories have revolutionized our understanding of minimal surfaces, such as those formed by soap bubbles.

Niels Henrik Abel (1802–1829) was a Norwegian mathematician. In spite of his short life, he made significant contributions to a variety of mathematical fields.

## Creativity is the Key Skill of the Future

According to Jack Ma:

The key feature skills of the Future are:

– Value
– Believing
– Independent thinking
– Team work
– Care of others

In the future, it is not about a competition of knowledge, it is a competition of creativity, it is a competition of imagination, it is a competition of learning.

## Math Symbols

We use math symbols to express complex mathematical texts in a shorter form.

=   replaces   “is equal to

+ replaces “and

×   replaces   “multiplied by

. . . .

There are many Greek symbols like   π ∑   and special symbols like   √ ∞ ∈   in mathematics.

John David Walters explains where math symbols come from in the video:

## A Self-educated Mathematician Established the Boolean Algebra

George Boole (1815–1864)

The term “Boolean algebra” honors George Boole (1815–1864), a self-educated English mathematician. Boolean algebra captures essential properties of both set operations and logic operations. Boolean logic is credited with laying the foundations for the information age (computers and cell phones).

One of the puzzles on Boolean logic:

There are three balls X, Y and Z. They are colored red, white and blue, but not necessarily in this order. One, but only one, of the following statements is true:

X is red

Y is not red

Z is not blue

How many solutions does the puzzle have?

Think yourself before checking the solution.

## Markov Chain in Every Day Life

The picture shows a subway map.  A team of inspectors verifies passengers’ tickets at a station on a line, or all lines through it if there are many lines.  Then they randomly choose the next neighboring station and move there to make their inspection.

Subway map

How many times higher is the probability of being inspected at station C than at station A?

Are you eager to know the answer? Try yourself before reading how Markov Chain helps to solve the problem. The answer is here.

The perfect explanation is given in the PBS Infinite Series video: