Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Are the Irish better at math?

Studies have shown that Irish people are significantly better than non-Irish at solving this math problem. Remarkably, many of them are able to do so in a matter of seconds, without using a calculator or even a pencil and paper. The problem is as follows:

Suppose there is a population of hares which, though every bit as prolific as lagomorphs generally are, are heavily hunted and thus increase in numbers very, very slowly. In fact, from one year to the next, the hare population only increases by an average of 0.005615%. To the casual observer, the hares' numbers appear to be static, but in fact the population is slowly but surely growing and, given enough time, will eventually double. It's a long road, but in the end they will arrive there. Assuming the rate of increase does not change, precisely how many years will it take the hare population to traverse this rocky road to doubling?

Hannah Gifford, Hare and the Blackthorn Blossom

Note: I just bought a new pair of wingtip shoes, which is what brought this problem to mind. No, really, that’s what prompted this post.


cae said...

Okay, 'if' there is an actual, mathematical answer - as opposed to this merely being the set up to an early April Fool's Day joke -

I'm going to say: Five thousand, six hundred, and fifteen years....that's my 'off the cuff', no 'calculating' involved answer.

No Longer Reading said...


I'm going to guess 12345

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

What did I tell you?

(For those who don’t know, NLR’s real name is a very Irish one.)

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Carol, sorry, you’re clearly not Irish.

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

Just after posting this, I checked New World Island and found that Bruce had posted on “Irish Folk Music” shortly before. Quelle coincidence!


ben said...


Not bad but most English can count to ten (using fingers)

Wm Jas Tychonievich said...

1.00005615^12344 = 1.9999
1.00005615^12345 = 2.0000

Go to the window; it’s dark but clear

In a period of just a few days, the following things happened: On May 30, William Wright proposed that the beings I know as Joan of Arc (Je...