# AQOTW

## Max and Min of a Cubic Without Calculus

Last time we looked at various ways to find tangent lines to a parabola without using calculus. Another standard calculus task is to find the maximum or minimum of a function; this is commonly done in the case of a parabola (quadratic function) using algebra, but can it be done with a cubic function? Yes, …

## Division by Zero and the Derivative

(An archive question of the week) The indeterminate nature of 0/0, which we looked at last time, is an essential part of the derivative (in calculus): every derivative that exists is a limit of that form! So it is a good idea to think about how these ideas relate.

## How Many Different Meals Are Possible?

(An archive question of the week) While gathering combinatorics questions, there were several that stood out. This one will serve well to summarize the topic, showing multiple methods for counting, and contrasting other kinds of problems.

## Six Distinguishable People in Four Distinguishable Rooms

(An archive question of the week) Last time we looked at some elementary problems in combinatorics, where we counted the number of ways to choose or arrange elements of a set. Let’s look at a somewhat more complicated problem, which will demonstrate issues that come up in interpreting such a problem and in choosing a …

## A Very Different Kind of Sequence

(An archive problem of the week) While gathering sequence/pattern questions for my last post, I ran across a very different problem. Here we are told what the pattern is (a good example of one that you would probably never discover on your own), and asked some questions about later terms. It can be understood either …

## Three Times Larger: Idiom or Error?

Having just written about issues of wording with regard to percentages, we should look at another wording issue that touches on percentages and several other matters of wording. What does “three times larger” mean? How about “300% more”? We’ll focus on one discussion that involved several of us, and referred back to other answers we’ve …

## Edges and Faces: A Matter of Definition

(An archive question of the week) Having looked at the matter of faces, edges, and vertices from several different perspectives, I want to look at one more question and answer, to tie it all together.

## What’s the Point of Limits?

(An archive question of the week) Many calculus courses start out with a chapter on limits; or they may be introduced in a “precalculus” course. But too often the concept is not sufficiently motivated. What good are limits? Why did they have to be invented? Are they as simple as they seem? Why is an epsilon-delta …

## Three Meanings of “Percentile”

(An archive problem of the week) Having just discussed quartiles, I want to look at related issues concerning percentiles. There, I briefly mentioned different perspectives on the concept of quartile, and focused on differences in the details of the calculations; here I will focus mostly on the different perspectives, and then touch on variations in …

## Rolling a 6 on Three Dice

(An archive question of the week) One of the discussions we looked at last time involved rolling three dice and getting at least one six. I didn’t go into detail on the calculation there; but I found another place where we discussed it at length. We’ll look at that here. A wrong way and a …