snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Urban Legends > Fauxtography

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 25 February 2007, 01:55 AM
snopes's Avatar
snopes snopes is offline
 
Join Date: 18 February 2000
Location: California
Posts: 107,977
Neener, Neener Verizon check

Comment: There was no text with this forwarded picture of a check payable to Verizon using a mathematical equation for the amount. Any idea if it is real or the story behind it?

Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:00 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Default

How come the black handwriting is so much clearer than the red and black type?

Any math whizzes among the snopesters?

ETA: posters on other websites calculate the result as 0.02 of a cent (or $0.0002, I guess), and therefore worth nothing. There doesn't seem to be anything to back up its veracity, though.

Last edited by lynnejanet; 25 February 2007 at 02:09 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:01 AM
Squishy0405's Avatar
Squishy0405 Squishy0405 is offline
 
Join Date: 15 December 2005
Location: Nashville, TN
Posts: 2,298
Default

I am SO fowarding this to the only math whiz I know. He's a college math professor so this should be easy but I will endure the lengthy & tiring explanation for you all. I'll take a hit for the team!
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:07 AM
Chance Chance is offline
 
Join Date: 15 July 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 50
Default

The cheque was made by Randall Munroe, who does the very funny (and geeky) webcomic xkcd, in response to this conflict with Verizon.

Geekiness to the rescue!
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:18 AM
ToadMagnet's Avatar
ToadMagnet ToadMagnet is offline
 
Join Date: 19 April 2004
Location: Virginia
Posts: 1,918
Default

This image usually goes with the story (and recording) about the engineer who could not get across to the Verizon employees that $.002 is not the same as $.02

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Gp0HyxQv97Q

(I think that's the right link.) There was a thread about this last month.

Toad"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right"Magnet

ETA: Gah! Spanked whilst looking for the link!
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:28 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chance View Post
The cheque was made by Randall Munroe, who does the very funny (and geeky) webcomic xkcd, in response to this conflict with Verizon.

Geekiness to the rescue!
That call is hilarious! The pauses between responses by the Verizon staff are priceless.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:49 AM
Chance Chance is offline
 
Join Date: 15 July 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 50
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToadMagnet View Post
This image usually goes with the story (and recording) about the engineer who could not get across to the Verizon employees that $.002 is not the same as $.02

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Gp0HyxQv97Q

(I think that's the right link.) There was a thread about this last month.

Toad"Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right"Magnet

ETA: Gah! Spanked whilst looking for the link!
Wow! I've never spanked anyone before! (Well, not on the Internet, anyway). It was interesting to read the Youtube comments on that.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 25 February 2007, 02:56 AM
CSGirl's Avatar
CSGirl CSGirl is offline
 
Join Date: 20 June 2006
Location: Brockton, MA
Posts: 10,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
That call is hilarious! The pauses between responses by the Verizon staff are priceless.
Wow. I'm listening to it now- there is no way I would have as much patience as he did. Wow. It reminds me of recent conversations with my loan company, and I could not have kept my cool for as long as he did, and with so many different people, repeating the same thing.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 25 February 2007, 03:29 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSGirl View Post
Wow. I'm listening to it now- there is no way I would have as much patience as he did. Wow. It reminds me of recent conversations with my loan company, and I could not have kept my cool for as long as he did, and with so many different people, repeating the same thing.
Go to the link on YouTube of the really bad math teacher, presenting the same problem, and read the comments. There are about 3 people who argue over and over that Verizon is right and the caller is wrong. Hilarious, I tells ya!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 25 February 2007, 03:36 AM
CSGirl's Avatar
CSGirl CSGirl is offline
 
Join Date: 20 June 2006
Location: Brockton, MA
Posts: 10,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
Go to the link on YouTube of the really bad math teacher, presenting the same problem, and read the comments. There are about 3 people who argue over and over that Verizon is right and the caller is wrong. Hilarious, I tells ya!
Which link is it? I don't see it.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 25 February 2007, 03:49 AM
lynnejanet's Avatar
lynnejanet lynnejanet is offline
 
Join Date: 17 December 2003
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 3,465
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSGirl View Post
Which link is it? I don't see it.
Sorry. It's http://youtube.com/watch?v=61J85cHww...elated&search=

I apologize - I still haven't figured out links and embedded quotes.:o
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 25 February 2007, 03:54 AM
CSGirl's Avatar
CSGirl CSGirl is offline
 
Join Date: 20 June 2006
Location: Brockton, MA
Posts: 10,243
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lynnejanet View Post
Sorry. It's http://youtube.com/watch?v=61J85cHww...elated&search=

I apologize - I still haven't figured out links and embedded quotes.:o
Thanks. For links, (in advanced), you can type the word you want to mask it with, highlight it, and click the link button to insert the link. Or, put the link in like you have it, then replace the text between the ] and [ with the text you want.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 25 February 2007, 04:09 AM
Chance Chance is offline
 
Join Date: 15 July 2006
Location: Toronto
Posts: 50
Default

This seems like as good a time as any good time to link to the Randall Munroe's opinion of youtube commenters. Evidence seems to bear him out.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 25 February 2007, 07:16 AM
HerrLip
 
Posts: n/a
Default

I had this forwarded to me recently as "Never piss off an engineer." Given the use of Euler's Formula and a geometric series, I'd say it was most likely cooked up by an electrical engineer. A mathematician could probably come up with some harder formulas.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 25 February 2007, 06:24 PM
Jay Temple's Avatar
Jay Temple Jay Temple is offline
 
Join Date: 25 September 2003
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 8,791
Default

Indeed, I would have worked a trig function in there somewhere.

Jay "We're number tan π/4" Temple
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 25 February 2007, 09:07 PM
Hero_Mike's Avatar
Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by HerrLip View Post
I had this forwarded to me recently as "Never piss off an engineer." Given the use of Euler's Formula and a geometric series, I'd say it was most likely cooked up by an electrical engineer. A mathematician could probably come up with some harder formulas.
As an electrical engineer, I find that comment moderately offensive.

I could probably come up with some harder formulas just from one specific field (antennas), never mind some of the other stuff that I work with more regularly.

I also wonder why you chose to disparage only *electrical* engineers?

By the way, the infinite sum is indeed a geometric series of the form E a* r^k, with a=1, r= 1/2, and with k starting at 1 and not 0. Since 1/(2^0) = 1/1, we can just do the sum via the formula and subtract one.

To wit : (k=0 to inf) E a*r^k = a / (1-r)

For a=1, r=1/2, the sum is 2.

So, (k=1 to inf) E 1/(2^k) = 1, as explained above.

Euler's identity is e^(i*pi) + 1 =0, so e^(i*pi) = -1.

So the check is for $0.002.

Next time solve the problem, and don't insult people.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 27 February 2007, 12:28 AM
HerrLip
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
As an electrical engineer, I find that comment moderately offensive.

I could probably come up with some harder formulas just from one specific field (antennas), never mind some of the other stuff that I work with more regularly.

I also wonder why you chose to disparage only *electrical* engineers?

...

Next time solve the problem, and don't insult people.
No insult intended. I'm an EE. I singled out EEs because Euler's formula is one of the most fundamental concepts in the entire field, and geometric series are about the equivalent in DSP. I'm not aware of any other engineering fields that use these two formulas as extensively, although I admittedly don't know too much about other engineering fields. I'm simply saying that based on what I know of engineering, science, and mathematics, it seems most likely to me that the check was composed by an EE. I think a pure mathematician would come up with something more graceful.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 27 February 2007, 06:25 PM
Hero_Mike's Avatar
Hero_Mike Hero_Mike is offline
 
 
Join Date: 06 April 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ & Hamilton, ON
Posts: 7,103
Quote:
Originally Posted by HerrLip View Post
I think a pure mathematician would come up with something more graceful.
Graceful? Euler's identity is known as the "greatest equation ever", not to mention that it is also touted for its simplicity and "mathematical beauty".

If an electrical engineer wanted to *crudely* express the value of "-1", he would say j^2, because any good electrical engineer doesn't use "i" for the square root of -1. "i", of course, is reserved as an abbreviation for current, in both upper and lower case.

Euler's identity is not for the faint of heart. Amateurs should not be playing with imaginary numbers.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 27 February 2007, 08:19 PM
PallasAthena's Avatar
PallasAthena PallasAthena is offline
 
Join Date: 13 September 2005
Location: Ventura, CA
Posts: 6,621
Default

Very amusing. I was also amused by the comments posted to youtube. Just... wow.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 28 February 2007, 05:02 PM
Neffti
 
Posts: n/a
Crash

Even if other snopesters think he won't be winning any prizes for his choice of equation (not something I'm qualified to comment on), but he DOES deserve a prize for patience on the strength of that linked phone call.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:05 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.