We’ve all been in that situation where you’re helping a child and/or teenager with their homework, with a sense of smugness and a sufficiently patronising tone, when something… happens.
It turns out you don’t… you don’t know the answer.
Maybe you graduated high school. Maybe you went to university. Maybe you have a Masters degree. But this goddamn question is so goddamn hard there is no logical solution.
Mum Dusty Sappington found herself in this exact situation recently, when her eight-year-old daughter Izzy asked for help with her maths homework.
Except, um, Dusty didn't know the answer. At all.
She posted the problem to Reddit in an attempt to get an answer, but after hundreds and hundreds of comments, no one could come to a general consensus.
Here's the question:
"Janell has 15 marbles," the question reads. "She lost some of them. How many does Janell have now?"
Less... less than 15?
One Reddit user suggested the correct answer was < 15, but alas, that response was contested, because Janell can't have a negative number of marbles left, and simply "less than 15" leaves her open to that possibility.
So, really, the answer should be: 0 < x < 15.
Listen: The great homework argument. Post continues after audio.
BUT THAT'S A RIDICULOUS ANSWER FOR AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD'S MATHS HOMEWORK.
Other users suggested the word 'some' was definitely a typo, and was meant to be 'seven' or, you know, A NUMBER OF ANY KIND.
But it seems we'll never know...
And neither will poor Izzy.
Too much noise and not enough time?