Author Topic: How to cut the cake?  (Read 3489 times)

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Offline Jim Nunziato

How to cut the cake?
« on: May 10, 2014, 03:31:13 PM »
 My neighbor Joan baked some brownies for her two little grandsons, in one of those rectangular Pyrex baking dishes. I don't know the exact size, but it really isn't important. Because she knew her grandsons were very competitive, she would have to cut the brownies exactly in half, which is pretty easy to do with a rectangular baking pan. She takes the brownies out of the oven and puts the pan on the cooling rack. Before she can cut them in half, her husband comes along and decides that he wants a piece of the cake. He wasn't even nice enough to cut off one of the corners, he just took a knife and cut a rectangle somewhere out of the middle of the uncut brownie cake, lifted it out, and ate it. This left a large, uncut rectangular brownie cake, with a smaller rectangular hole in it, located somewhere at random from the middle. None of the sides of the missing piece were parallel to any of the sides of the uncut cake, and the size of the hole is unimportant.
Joan came along and saw what he did and spoke a few "words" with him… She said, "Why did you do this!? Why did you cut a piece out of the MIDDLE???" He said, as he was licking his fingers,  "I don't like crust. I didn't want to cut it from any of the corners, I had to cut it from somewhere in the middle."  She said, "Well, I still have to cut it exactly in half, and now how can I do that?"  He said, "Well, I guess you'll just have to bake another one, and I'll eat this one."

Soon after listing all of her husband's prized possessions on EBay,  she called one of her girlfriends, who just happened to be a mathematician. Her girlfriend said, "Oh, I have a solution for you."  Joan asked, "Does it involve rat poison or itching powder?"  "No no," her girlfriend explained, "You can cut this cake exactly in half using one straight cut of the knife, in one straight line." "Really" said Joan?  "In fact," said her girlfriend, there are TWO ways to do it. One is the easy way, and the other is the hard way." Joan said, "Give me both ways."

What are the two ways to cut the rectangular cake with a rectangular hole somewhere in the middle of it, using one cut, in a straight line?
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend."  Thomas Jefferson

If Hillary was the answer, then it must have been a really stupid question!