Fuzzy Math II
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By Charlie Seraphin
Hi there! Here is another one of your favorite math word problems. We use Mattel’s Barbie and Ken dolls as the subjects in an attempt to shine a light on some of the real-life challenges we’re facing here in Payson. (Hint: Barbie and the town of Payson have a lot in common.)
As you may remember, Barbie has 40 million dollars that were donated to her foundation after the sale of a large building filled with doctors, nurses, and beds. Her male companion doll Ken (created by Mattel in 1961) offered to take care of Barbie’s money for her. Ken explained that he was taking charge of the money to protect Barbie in case things didn’t work out and somebody wanted to sue Barbie. In order to protect Barbie from spending her own money, Ken created two additional non-profits. (Remember, this is a word problem so you have to pay attention to the details in order to answer the question.) So now there are three different foundations and Barbie isn’t really sure where her money is, but Ken assures her that he’s got everything under control, and he is a good steward of Barbie’s money.
In this week’s math word problem Ken tells Barbie that she needs to build a water line that will run to a golf course. He negotiates the deal through one of the three non-profits mentioned above. In the deal, the golf course is supposed to pay the foundation $700,000 to coordinate, design, and build the waterline. When the job is finished, Barbie is scheduled to receive $100,000. Here’s where the fuzzy math comes in: In reality, the non-profit doesn’t build the waterline, Barbie does! Then, instead of giving them $100,000 to Barbie, Ken decides to use that money to fund an archaeological study that will ostensibly benefit the property that he bought with money from Barbie’s original foundation. Question: Why did Barbie build the water line if the deal was between the non-profit and the golf course? Why would a non-profit be negotiating a deal to build a water line in the first place, and how much money (if any) did Barbie save? How much money did the golf course save? Who paid what to whom, and how did Ken get involved? Who was the contractor, and how did they get selected?
This is a two-part question and there’s a bonus if you can answer the second part:
Ken convinced Barbie to sign a contract that sells water to the golf course for less than people who live in town pay for their water. In other words, the golf course (in this hypothetical situation) gets to buy water at a lower rate than you do. Over the last five and a half years, they paid over a million dollars less for water than they would have paid if they paid what you pay. If Barbie paid to build the water line, and the golf course gets cheaper water (and the rate is guaranteed for 50 years!) how much money does Ken owe Barbie? For an extra five points, can you tell how much money Ken might have made on the deal?
Fuzzy math isn’t normally taught in school, and there are few places where you can see it in action. Thank goodness we live in Payson, where fuzzy math abounds. Please share this fuzzy math quiz with your friends and neighbors and watch for a new fuzzy math challenge next time.