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Australian Air Force's Recruiting Puzzle Shown To Be Unsolvable

timothy posted 1 year,26 days | from the we-meant-to-do-that dept.

Australia 113

KernelMuncher writes "Australia's Royal Air Force has been left red-faced after a job ad asked applicants to solve a complex math problem that was revealed to be unsolvable. The service posted the puzzle in a bid to attract the country's best minds to its ranks. 'If you have what it takes to be an engineer in the Air Force call the number below,' it read, above a complicated formula which candidates had to crack. But there was a slight difficulty: The problem had typos and ended up not giving potential operatives the correct contact information."

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113 comments

I know where they got the idea (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142247)

Re:I know where they got the idea (1)

auric_dude (610172) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142537)

We need you for a new recruit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InBXu-iY7cw [youtube.com] well it worked for the navy.

Re:I know where they got the idea (4, Funny)

bkmoore (1910118) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142811)

I prefer the Muppets version [youtube.com] . It almost makes one want to sack France.

Re:I know where they got the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44145567)

Why *wouldn't* one want to sack France?

Re:I know where they got the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44146453)

Because they'd form a resistance who would absolutely murder you in ways that would make the Taliban look like bored amateurs?

Re:I know where they got the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44146469)

Wow she really can't act. Must be all those Thetans messing things up.

It's the Kobayashi Maru! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142249)

It's the Kobayashi Maru!

Re:It's the Kobayashi Maru! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142459)

Trance, is that you?

Re:It's the Kobayashi Maru! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143001)

That's the Eureka Maru.

Re:It's the Kobayashi Maru! (1)

sigxcpu (456479) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145659)

It was designed to be solved by people down under.
you are holding it upside-down.

You're in the army now (5, Funny)

HeadOffice (912211) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142267)

When people pointed out two key typos, the military bosses thanked them and said they were 'exactly the kind of people they are looking for.'

"Eh, sarge, I think this war is a mistake..."

Re:You're in the army now (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142329)

well you signed a 4+ year commit so keep in the way or face an dishonorable discharge.

Re:You're in the army now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142447)

But I only signed up so I could go to trade school!

P.S. Australians can spell.

Re:You're in the army now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142753)

Nope, it's an 8 year commitment. Unless it changed since I got out 23 years ago.

I joined the National Guard in 9/84. Went Regular Army 5/86. ETS 5/90.

Recalled 6 months or so later for Desert Storm. Since I joined 9/84, I was on IRR
status until 9/92.

Re:You're in the army now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143033)

9 years in the RAF- which is a long bloody time when you join at seventeen.

Re:You're in the army now (1)

HJED (1304957) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145393)

Parent and OP are talking about RAAF which is Australian. The commitment is four years, unless you do a degree at ADFA in which case you are required to serve the length of your degree after you graduate.

Re:You're in the army now (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143093)

When people pointed out two key typos, the military bosses thanked them and said they were 'exactly the kind of people they are looking for.

And the people were from Reddit...yeah, exactly the kind of people you should be looking for!

Re:You're in the army now (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44144869)

Why the hell did we just start world war 3? Better double check the formula for bomb trajectory.

Re:You're in the army now (1)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145609)

Now if they has typed it in correctly, they would only have had the add in the papers they had paid for and only for the number of times they had paid for it. By making the error, that add has now gone global and. appeared many more times than they had paid for. Not to forget there are certain countries around the world from whose citizens the Royal Australian Air Force will accept applications.

Reminds me of high school (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142291)

My AP Statistics teacher used to say the best part about advanced math equations is that you can say (and prove!) there isn't an answer.

Re:Reminds me of high school (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142361)

One thing I love about fresh water school of economics, not only do they claim they can write an equation describing a modern industrial economy, but solve it too.

If you can solve the un-solvable... (5, Funny)

anyaristow (1448609) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142299)

...and contact us at our secret phone number, we *really* want you.

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142397)

. . . and I was thinking that they were looking for someone for Australia's Area 51, someone whose father was an alien, who met a lovely, lonely Australian girl on a brief stopover on his travels through the cosomos, with alien math problem solving ability, who can fly the spaceships buried by the Aborigines during The Dreamtime, etc . . .

. . . does Australia have an Area 51 . . . and will iMaps take you there . . . ?

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142541)

Dunno about iMaps, but there have been rumours. [wikipedia.org]

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (1)

speederaser (473477) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142559)

..does Australia have an Area 51..

The answer appears to be yes:
http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net/esp_sociopol_pinegap.htm [bibliotecapleyades.net]

I'm not Australian so it's the first I've heard of it.

That's ECHELON, not UFOs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142589)

I simply can't type more than that for my comment.

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (1)

Wild Wizard (309461) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145449)

Wrong base

UFO's are here :- http://goo.gl/maps/1gSWW [goo.gl]

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (1)

auric_dude (610172) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142719)

We *really* want you, 'cos we cant afford one of those D-Wave Systems.

Re:If you can solve the un-solvable... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144819)

Never mind, if you're the right sort of candidate, the government already has been monitoring you and will be in contact shortly.

It's not their fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142303)

The specs clearly specified the correct LaTEX version, but instead somebody put it up in PowerPoint.

Employment Agencies? (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142353)

My guess is they will find good people for less cost than the government program/s.

How they found out... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142357)

Several potential recruits complained after getting error messages from the Wolfram web page that reduces integrals.

To: Royal Australian Air Force Recruiting Command (5, Funny)

cold fjord (826450) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142359)

Your problem may be solved by means of a most ingenious proof I have, which the margin of your ad is too small to contain.

I have to go lie down now, I'm not feeling well.

Metaproblem (2)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142379)

You find out that they are mistaken. So, you don't solve it, do a fake solving, or report them that they made a mistake? Considering how they approach to vulnerability reports the last option could get you in prison, while the problem will still have the same mistake.

Maybe they're actually looking.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142383)

...for people who can bullshit their way thru impossible circumstances, and are trying to seek out whoever is the most convincing bullshitters.

It was solvable (2)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142385)

It was solvable, just the solution wasn't the intended phone number.

Re:It was solvable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142475)

Nope, due to the free variables there was too little information to reduce it to a single number. You could simplify the formula, but not solve it (for reasonable meanings of "solve").

Re:It was solvable (2)

stewsters (1406737) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142509)

I think they were looking for an answer in the form of:

for(PhoneNumber number : allPhoneNumbers){
if (satisfies equation){
autodial from google voice
}
}

Re:It was solvable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143503)

It was not an equation. It was supposed to be something like 123+45+x-x, where you can clearly see that there is a "solution", because the value of x doesn't matter. Instead it was something like 123+45+x+x.

Re:It was solvable (1)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144943)

123+45+x+x

if I were given this as a question i would probably just draw a graph of y=2x+168

not really what i would call "unsolvable"

Re:It was solvable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44144977)

Maybe because just an equation is not a question, and without some context (even if assumed/implied) can't be unsolvable or not by itself. There are plenty of potential equations where such a plot would not amount to anything, and you might as well give "y-168=2x" in response, or any other equivalent form.

Re:It was solvable (1)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145013)

you might as well give "y-168=2x" in response

but that's just rewriting the question... the question may lack definition, but at least a graph illustrates all possible answers

Re:It was solvable (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44146223)

It's supposed to give you a phone number. Who you gonna call?

Re:It was solvable (2)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,25 days | (#44146483)

Ghostbusters!!!

Re:It was solvable (1)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142661)

I guess it depends on your definition of solution. If it contained an integral that can't be expressed in a closed form, I would call that unsolvable.

This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142393)

You see? There's no qualified candidates domestically. This is why we need more H1b visas, to hire the only qualified indentured servants...I mean employees available that we gave the phone number to.

Yes, I know it's Australia, not the US.

Re: This is why (1)

sr180 (700526) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144037)

Its an even bigger issue here known as 457 visas. Even the government knows they are being widely abused however the opposition likes the status quo. Supposedly its only for job types that people are in short supply how ever almost every job you can think of is on the 457 pre approved list.

Re: This is why (1)

FirephoxRising (2033058) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144637)

457 is just our H1B, plenty of people want the jobs, even in remote areas, but 457s are cheaper, so they make it artificially hard/unattractive to Australians, then say they cant find people and use 457s.....

and the prize is? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142461)

WTF does Australia do with its Air Force anyway? They're hopefully not teaching algebra.

Re:and the prize is? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142823)

WTF does Australia do with its Air Force anyway? They're hopefully not teaching algebra.

Apparently they don't have to teach algebra since they seem to be looking for candidates that already know Algebra and Calculus.

Typical military arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142463)

"If you have what it takes..." ... i'll go into the private sector, pay is better, far less assholes that i have to salute and nearly zero chance of beeing shot at in my job.

Re:Typical military arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142489)

Well, what the military really means is "you have what it takes, but your parents don't," because what they want are essentially capable people who are too poor and/or undisciplined to attend college.

Re:Typical military arrogance (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143059)

The thing I found interesting was that the problem requires requires an understanding of at minimum a Calculus I college level course. I didn't look at it too closely though, could require a bit more. Sure, you very well could get the kids that were in accelerated learning programs that ended up taking some sort of calculus class in high school. However, most people learn calculus in college... If they are already in an engineering path with the ability to solve this, I can't see the logic of joining the air force.

Re:Typical military arrogance (1)

HJED (1304957) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145433)

Looking at it briefly all of the calculus for this appears to be covered in the NSW Curriculum Maths Extension 1 course, although an average students doing that course would not be required to solve a problem of that length.
Certainly if it is not solvable using what's taught in Maths Extension 1, it is certainly solvable for Maths Extension 2 students. For reference if you are doing a maths or computing degree in Australia most universities require you to have completed at least extension 1 maths (or equivalent in another state) in High School.

oh the humanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44142471)

What's the physical exam - jumping through a hoop the size of a doughnut?

"We hope you still enjoy the inherent fun of blindly serving a misguided master. This is just the type of person we're looking for"

A strange game ... (4, Funny)

BenBoy (615230) | 1 year,26 days | (#44142479)

... the only winning move is not to play.

Re:A strange game ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142999)

Hey look, I finally won at something!

They only think it is impssible to solve (2)

gsgriffin (1195771) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142543)

You just need a cocky young man that can reprogram the test and then casually win the test while eating an apple.

Re:They only think it is impssible to solve (1)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144951)

most Australians would probably look at an unsolvable problem and think the guy that came up with it was a dick head

in reality he's probably a "scientist"

Wrong demographic (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142555)

Typos in the problem aside, most engineers I know wouldn't have either the inclination or ability solve that kind of problem. The reactions to it would vary from x "I forgot that shit as soon as I graduated".to a full blown "wtf".

And between both my wifes job and my own, we actually know actually quite a lot of engineers.

That is clearly a problem for mathematicians, not engineers.

Re:Wrong demographic (2)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142707)

Mathematicians don't bother with such low-level expressions. This is indeed a problem for engineers. A good engineer would know how to load the problem into Matlab (or whatever symbolic solver engineers use), and lean back while it computes the answer.

Re:Wrong demographic (2)

imjustmatthew (1164609) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143373)

A good engineer would know how to load the problem into Matlab (or whatever symbolic solver engineers use), and lean back while it computes the answer.

This. Most of what I'll -- for lack of a better term -- call applications engineering is done this way. You learn the math in high school and college so you understand the problems, not so you can solve them in your head. Even in research fields it's unusual to solve equations of this size by hand.

Re:Wrong demographic (1)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145001)

i've forgotten most of what i was taught at school/uni.

the real purpose of uni isn't to teach you anything in particular... it's purpose is to teach you how to learn independently, manage your time, work with others effectively, communicate, meet short-term deadlines, work hard to achieve a distant goal, etc, which are many of the attributes that employers are looking for.

most employers after formally educated staff don't give a toss if you can solve a quadratic equation (or whatever TFA was about - i didn't bother reading it), so the ADF is possibly merely trying to weed out these people to find the plebs with a basic level of education that they can shape into obedient grunts with their own education programs

Re:Wrong demographic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142709)

Mathematicians only know enough calculus to be able to teach it. Most professional mathematicians would think that problem is incredibly boring and a total waste of time. Even plugging it into Mathematica is too much work.

Re:Wrong demographic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143703)

You must be joking. The problem involves only elementary mathematics that any first-year science/engineering student could easily accomplish. The problem is tedious more than it is difficult.

Re:Wrong demographic (1)

crutchy (1949900) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144981)

most engineers I know wouldn't have either the inclination or ability solve that kind of problem

apparently you don't know many/any engineers...

they are often crafty buggers that know how to get the best of people in all positions (that's why they are often employed in management), but they are also themselves easily manipulated... if you want to get the attention of an engineer (or a whole office full of them), just mention that you have an unsolvable problem. they will then likely proceed to throw as much time and resources as they can muster to trying solving such a problem, and will likely come up with at the very least some kind of workaround if only to save face.

engineers aren't usually outwardly egotistical (compared to say lawyers or bankers), but on the inside they are as full of themselves as anyone else

engineers are the compliment of scientists... scientists love chasing problems, engineers love chasing solutions

Re:Wrong demographic (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145131)

I could test my theory after this weekend and see if any of the ones I know from work would have shown any interest in taking a serious stab at this kind of problem, but the image is too blurry to be useful. I can still recognize the symbols that are there, like integration and summation, but the actual values and limits associated with them are illegible.

Re: Wrong demographic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44146537)

I doubt you know any real engineers. Never employ an Engineer that states that we never revisit the math we did at uni, they suck at what they do or simply gravitated to marketing/non technical management.

All-too common? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142571)

Reminds me of the time I applied for a job at Paychex [wikipedia.org] (a payroll company in the States). Their accounting test had an order of operations [wikipedia.org] error.

Perhaps that WAS the intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142575)

They wanted to see who was smart enough to figure out that there was no solution, AND had the balls to say so in an interview.

Re:Perhaps that WAS the intent (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44145651)

Uhhh Beavis? The solution was supposed to be their phone number. If it's wrong how do they get in contact?

Is there a version that isn't blurry? (1)

mark-t (151149) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142629)

[nt]

Obviously they need brighter people (2)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,25 days | (#44142795)

And in particular people that know the limits of their own skill. Dunning-Kruger effect at work. People that know the limits of their own skill get help when faced with something beyond them. People that do not know these limits mess it up.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142913)

And in particular people that know the limits of their own skill. Dunning-Kruger effect at work. People that know the limits of their own skill get help when faced with something beyond them. People that do not know these limits mess it up.

Or, the put things a little differently, perception of ability approaches infinity as actual ability approaches zero.

There's no excuse for not knowing your limits. That's why L'Hôpital's Rule was invented.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (3, Insightful)

Glenn Deles (2967947) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143103)

A wise person knows what they do not know. I used to interview entry level programmers. I would ask harder SQL questions until they could not provide a good answer. Usually "what is a left outer join". The best non answer was "I am not sure, it is similar to this, and I know were to look it up". The worst answer (in a valley girl voice). "It is like a regular join, except like outer.".

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (2)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143475)

Indeed. Good test. In this day and age, you cannot know everything, and how you deal with not knowing becomes critical for actual ability to solve problems.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144475)

I'd think the correct answer would be the best answer. Does this really qualify as a harder SQL question? I know what a left outer join is just from stuff I've done in my free time.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144825)

It's a personality test not a technical test, the technically correct answer tells the interviewer nothing about the person's character. The SQL question is just an example of a point where a bullshitter would likely start trying to fake their level of knowledge. It's not hard to do if the interviewer knows the subject, simply keep thinking up questions based on trivial information you have had to look up in the recent past. I've used the same technique in the past when hiring C programmers. Most times it takes less than five minutes to find some esoteric trivia that the prospect does not know off the top off their head, how they handle not knowing will clearly separate the confident (and knowledgeable) professional from the cowboys.

Also get it done early in the interview, no good wasting everyone's time if they fail the "arrogance test".

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144553)

I've used the same technique myself, it's a very effective way to screen out bullshitters.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (1)

arth1 (260657) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145413)

Yes, that it's "left outer join" here is not what's of value. It's how the applicant answers when faced with something he doesn't know, which might or might not be valuable to the employer. You could ask what the benefit of an orcish maneuver is, or when Goroud shading is preferable to Phong shading, or a boatload of other things. The point is to stump them, but not come across as bullshitting them.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44144737)

If "left outer join" is the end of a series of questions going from easy to hard, this series have to be pretty short or the job has nothing to with databases.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143833)

And at what age do people gain that kind of wisdom?

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (1)

gweihir (88907) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144429)

Most: never. Most that have it have it from the start. A very small group learns it at some indefinite time in their lives.

Re:Obviously they need brighter people (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144865)

Age? - Wisdom emerges from experience, experience is whatever fails to kill you.

Where is the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142809)

The solution to the problem was, that it wasn't solvable. It may not have been their intent, but there is no difference in getting the correct answer as "problem X results in 3" or in the correct answer "problem Y has no result". They didn't want to have people to solve one specific problem but people who solve problems. So - where is the problem?

Why does Australia have an army? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44142959)

Australian special forces have been directly responsible for some of the worst atrocities against Muslim civilian populations during the last few decades. White Australians can be trusted to be every bit as much inherently racist as the white population in nations like South Africa, and as such, soldiers from this nation consider their targets to be sub-Humans.

Australia itself is still a testing ground for British social engineering projects. When the British originally colonised this continent, they set up experimental prisons where British 'scientists' were given a completely free hand to experiment on the inmates (in the name of 'penal reform' of course). The experimentation was sometimes physical, sometime psychological. The native population was subject to the same wholesale kidnap, rape and torture of its children as was the native population of Canada.

Today, Australia has more mainstream media barons per unit of population than anywhere else on the planet. Australians are subject to endless mass media propaganda campaigns, as part of a giant ongoing sociological experiment. The intention is a pure 1984 one- Newspeak and a 'policeman' permanently planted in the mind of every Australian citizen. A police-state programmed into the heads of a passive population, so that overt uniformed goons beating on the people are unnecessary.

Australians consider themselves a mild, laid-back people- like the population of a reasonably well-to-do suburb in satellite around any major city in proper Western nations. They define the term 'subservient middle-class'. As such, they do their best to ignore the pitch-black side of their society. Alpha abusers have free reign. Their army recruits so of the most vile racist murderous psychopaths in the world.

Australians are subject to continuous 'compliance training'. Not voting is a crime in Australia. Australians are so thick, they do not understand that a refusal to vote is the citizen's right to refuse to support the current system. In decent nations, if the numbers of citizens turning out to vote falls below a certain level, the government if FORCED to change the voting system. In Australia, this can never happen, and worse, idiot Australians are taught to CHEER the voting law.

Australians are also forced to experience appalling privacy abuses by an Orwellian department of the government called the Board of Statistics (or some such). This department can send thuggish men to the homes of single women, forcing them to undergo intimate physical examination, and detailed questions about their sex life. Refusal to participate means jail. While few victims are jailed for acts of refusal, the threat of jail makes the vast majority of vulnerable Australians simply give in and accept the abuse.

The usual shill scum will try to deny many of the above points, so as usual, if you don't believe me, have the decency to do some Googling. The part about the statistics bureau will have even the most cynical of you doubting the veracity, but it is absolutely true. Similar abuses are seen in Africa, where programs supposedly put in place in schools to help young women were turned into further opportunities by males teachers to humiliate and abuse the female pupils. For instance, when an African government stated that pregnant girls at school might need special treatment, male teachers used the new regulation to frequently strip down girl pupils to look for signs of pregnancy.

There are some truly horribly people in this world, and the worst of them work for the state. When they are smart as well as evil, every government initiative is a chance to invent new ways of abusing people.

Re:Why does Australia have an army? (1)

ozduo (2043408) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144397)

and yet thousands risk their lives in leaky boats just to reach our shores to be oppressed!

Re:Why does Australia have an army? (1)

HJED (1304957) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145439)

[citation needed]

My guess for the answer (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143035)

42

Facebook... (1)

Macchendra (2919537) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143121)

:-> Maybe they were just trying to facebook comment bait. You know, like those "95% of people get this wrong." posts, lol.

I Answered Newspaper Ad for Air Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44143161)

I is answerred ad in paper to join airforce. They made me direcotr of advertissment! They sed I had right stuff!

Actually: (2)

Hartree (191324) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143321)

They were looking for someone with enough common sense to not bother solving it and just look up the recruiter's number in the phone book or on the web.

Re:Actually: (1)

The Dark (159909) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144957)

Or possibly someone with enough common sense to just call the only number in the equation that looks like a phone number - 131901
It does say "call the number below", not solve the equation.

Re:Actually: (1)

Wild Wizard (309461) | 1 year,25 days | (#44145477)

After reading the article (yes I did) it would seem that the phone number was the solution to the equation but due to 2 typos on the last 2 lines it didn't work properly.

If you ignored the last 2 lines on the original then you would have still got the number as the last 2 were supposed to solve as 0.

Though if you need to solve the equation to get the number then they probably want you in intelligence anyway as anyone else would have known what it was due to it been advertised everywhere for years now.

This is what happens (1)

pieisgood (841871) | 1 year,25 days | (#44143683)

This is what happens when you have engineers attempting calculus without mathematicians around.

Re:This is what happens (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44144145)

I didn't understand why they were doing this, it just didn't make sense.
Looking past the math puzzle I thought this was strange.

So, maybe I missed something, so I looked up the Australian Air Force.

I am NOT trying to be cute, mean, or nasty.

I just don't understand why they need engineers, much less spending their money to test for them.

No wonder.... (3, Funny)

countach (534280) | 1 year,25 days | (#44144239)

No wonder I kept getting a Chinese take out joint.

How hard is it to "solve" an algorithm, anyway? (1)

davide marney (231845) | 1 year,25 days | (#44146649)

IANA Mathematician, but all those big hairy equations just look like code to me. Doesn't "solve" just mean "to compute", i.e., you read the symbols, do what they tell you, wash, rinse, repeat? If I gave someone a function that executed some huge, gnarly block of code and then asked them to tell me what it would return, what would that really tell me? That they know how to read? Third graders know how to read.

And what kind of person, exactly, would such a test attract? Puzzle-solvers, people in love with unnecessarily complex, convoluted algorithms. The kind of people who would write unnecessarily complex, convoluted algorithms.

No thanks. Give me a Feynman any day.

Typically Australian (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,25 days | (#44146667)

We have a HUGE bureaucracy over here. Much of which is visibly, provably incompetent...

There were probably 20+ meetings and 200+ people involved in getting that ad out of the door.

Our tax dollars are well spent, yet again!

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