## Frank Morgan's Math Chat |

November 2, 2000

**Answer.** Jonathan Falk suggests that everyone should vote the President
(s)he prefers and vote the opposite party for Congress. In such a close
election as this year, however, that method could narrowly elect a
Republican President for example without losing the Republican Congress.
Joe Shipman suggests a more reliable method, based on the current division
of control: everyone should vote Democratic for President and Republican
for Congress.

**Math Anagram.** Joe Shipman asks for anagram math equations, such as

ELEVEN + TWO = TWELVE + ONE,

in which the letters on the left can be rearranged to yield the letters on the right.

**New Challenge** (reappeared on recent "Green Chicken" math competition
between Middlebury, Simon's Rock, and Williams College).

1. What is the expected (average) length of the shorter piece of a meter
stick with a random cut?

2. What is the expected length of the shortest of 3 pieces from 2 random cuts?

3. What is the expected length of the shortest of 4 pieces from 3 random cuts?

4. What is the expected length of the shortest of n pieces from n-1 random
cuts?

Send answers, comments, and new questions by email to
Frank.Morgan@williams.edu, to be eligible for* Flatland *and other book
awards. Winning answers will appear in the next Math Chat. Math Chat
appears on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Prof. Morgan's
homepage is at www.williams.edu/Mathematics/fmorgan.

THE MATH CHAT BOOK, including a $1000 Math Chat Book QUEST, questions and answers, and a list of past challenge winners, is now available from the MAA (800-331-1622).

Copyright 2000, Frank Morgan.