'Ff'lo (fflo) wrote,

I tickled myself with math yesterday.

One of the Learned League questions was this:

"What is the mathematical limit of the expression in this image? (Note, the first decimal place is sufficient if expressing the answer as a number.)"

I had no sense where to begin, and just had that clue about how it was okay to express our answers, suggesting that the answer's not infinity, or zero, or an integer.  I tried simplifying the expression inside the big brackets, but that didn't seem to be leading anywhere, since I lacked confidence, and I'm so bad at exponents I had to do a little experiment with small numbers to remember how exponents raised to exponents work.  So after a bit I thought if I'm looking for what this total tends toward over the course of all n (which I maybe coulda assumed were integers but who knows), maybe I should just start plugging numbers in.  So I did.  I plugged in some numbers up to as many as my calculator could handle without switching notation on me (n = 7 or 8) and at one point (n = 4, maybe) I got 2.7somethin, and other numbers got slightly lower numbers, vs. other numbers getting negative numbers, and it was easy enough to plug in negative integers but then I had a whole digression around trying to remember how to do exponents that are fractions (I remembered) and that have decimals (got too complicated for me, when all I could think was to convert them to fractions, and then if we're gonna get into irrationals who the hell knows), and so at some point I just gave up and put 2.7, since that plus a little was the limit of what I'd come up with.  And I'm so slow I didn't even think, even on pi day, what number that might be, that might be expressed not as a number.  Thus yesterday I felt like I'd just derived Euler's number!  Haphazardly and giving-up-ed-ly, but nonetheless.  Except when I typed it in the box it was Lisa's number.  :)

I'd be more sheepish about bragging if I thought this experience would seem brag-worthily impressive to others.  I don't even know that it wasn't somehow a fluke that my method got me to a Learned-League-correct answer.  But, however braggy, I'm never gonna be as bad as this guy, whose show I've only seen in this clip reel that was going around yesterday, and is sort of a chuckle and disgusting at the same time:


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