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Ok, I’m getting sick of all the ill-informed arguing over this math problem. I’ve been seeing replies everywhere trying to prove one answer correct, and even some replies from youtube channels claiming to specialise in maths. Everyone is missing the one, fundamental truth. But let’s save the bombshell for later.

This is the equation: 6/2(2+1) = ?

Now, stop quoting your calculators and Wolfram or any other crap like that because the program is only as accurate as you make the equation. And that’s the answer. This equation is wrong. A maths equation should never be written like this – the point of the parentheses is to make the equation easier to solve, and the point of the equation is to lay out an easy to solve problem. If you make it obscure what you mean, the equation is written incorrectly. This is something I’ve confirmed with two university professors (just to make sure I was right, which I am as usual). In reality, the equation should have been written either as (6/2)[2(2+1)] or 6/[2(2+1)].

Now, I know people have been arguing over the “two answers” to this, one going left to right after parentheses, making the answer 6/2*3 = 9 and the other using multiplication first making it 6/6 = 1.

As I’ve said, the correct answer is that the equation is written wrong. However, if you were to force me to pick one incorrect answer over the other, I would pick 1. Why? Because it’s more intuitive.

First of all, 6/2(2+1) implies 6/[2(2+1)] because the entire point of factorising the 2 with parentheses is to make it a single term (drawing from algebraic mathematics). That makes the 2(2+1) a single term, and thus the denominator of the fraction.

Second of all, nobody writes 6/2(2+1) and expects people to interpret it as (6/2) * (2+1). That’s just a retardedly queer way to write an equation. You would clarify it by writing the fraction properly (with the 6 over the 2 and the (2+1) at middle height).

But again, this is precluded by the fact that the equation is just written wrong. I hope this clears up the issue.

People on the internet have been alternating between excessive incorrect usage of the word swag and frustrating confusion over its meaning. And no, those stupid acronyms aren’t funny or accurate. I’m here to shed some light.

The English definition of the word swag is an ornamental arrangement of flowers, fruit and greenery. So yes, from a linguistics point of view, the little kids online posting swag pictures sound very stupid now.

Forgive me the shoddy work, I was too lazy to open Photoshop so I did this with an online editor. Anyway, swag can also be slang for loot, promotional items or a bundle of belongings.

These days, swag has taken on a new meaning that is roughly encapsulated by the synonyms “attitude” and “style”. However, I have seen some ridiculous usages of the word swag that not only violate their English definition, but also have nothing to do with their new “definition”.

As for how the word came to be used in this way, I’m not absolutely certain but based on my understanding, it originated from the LA style dance scene in which studio dancers would compliment their peers on having “swag”, as well as by throwing kicks and caps at them, which was basically the shortened form of swagger (moving with attitude and confidence).  I heard this term used frequently when I started getting into LA style about four or five years ago, which (I think) pre-dates the incorrect usage of the word now. Keep in mind, LA dancers were probably using that word long before I started getting into it, so I’m quite certain this is the origin of the contemporary usage of “swag”.

Now, how did the word spread outside of the dance scene? Hip hop artists like Chris Brown sometimes associate with LA dancers. Ian Eastwood choreographed for “Cat Daddy” (that’s what he told us at his workshop anyway) and I’m sure many other dancers frequently work behind the scenes for singers. In addition to dancing, they adopted the LA style’s clothing and eventually, their language. That includes the word swag. These hip hop artists then spread the word “swag” to the mainstream through their music. As we all know, the mainstream comprises of 99.99% impressionable idiots lacking any sense of their own identity, and as a result, they were all quick to jump on the “cool wagon” like ignorant, mindless zombies.

Now, I profess to using the word swag in its new definition too, but that’s only because I use it in a street dance sense. I don’t want to sound like a self-entitled prick but I think I’m allowed to use it more than some kid who uses it as an excuse to drop out of school, knock up some girl, work a minimum wage job to pay for her and the child, get divorced because it’s too tough and pay child support, bounce between minimum wage jobs for the rest of his adult life, and die a lonely man. Oh, but a lonely man with “swag”, apparently.

 

Recently, any 9gag post featuring the usage of the word “America” to represent the United States of America and “American” to refer to a person from aforementioned States has been met with a lot of tears, frustration and broken hearts in the comment sections. This could very likely be an internet-wide phenomenon, but 9gag is the only place where I really read comments (because there are so many idiots there it’s amusing).

Well, I’m here to end this crap.

These arguments usually revolve around something along the lines of “America is not a country, [insert profanity and remove appropriate punctuation], it’s a continent”. Wow that’s dumb. America is less a continent than it is a country. In short, using the word “America/American” to describe the US and its inhabitants is perfectly correct – and I’ll proceed to prove it to you.

Ok, so here’s some history. The term “America” was first featured on one of four five (as of July 4, the fifth was found in a German university library) maps of German cartographer Martin Waldseemueller, who died in 1522. At the time, it was used to mark a boomerang shaped strip of land that is now modern-day Brazil. Here’s a picture for reference.

That’s America there on the right. If you don’t believe me, Google it yourself. Anyway, it should be pretty obvious that there’s more to South America (and indeed North America) than what is shown there. Over time, the term “America” became used to describe the “New World”, which pretty much just included the Americas (gasp, there’s a hint!) and sometimes Australasia. This was mainly due to the expanding of the geographical horizon that existed in the European Middle Ages, in which they believed that the whole world consisted only of Africa, Asia and Europe. Eventually, after all was discovered, and scientists did their thing with tectonic plates, they divided North and South America into two different continents – and rightly so. Why? Because the two landmasses are on separate tectonic plates. Again, a picture for you as reference.

In case you can’t see, the brown plate is North America and the purple is South America. Well, now that we’ve established a well-documented, existing definition (that North and South America are two different continents) we can continue with our proof. And yes, I am aware that people around the world are actually taught different things. There’s a five continent model (old mode from the 60’s in Europe – hence the five Olympic rings), a six continent model where North and South America are combined into one (mainly taught in Europe and Latin American countries), and finally the seven continent model where North and South America are separate. However, most geographers and scientists now agree on a six continent model – but North and South America are still separate continents (refer to tectonic plates if you want to know why). The true six continent model (true as in geographically and scientifically endorsed) combines Europe with Asia (Eurasia) as they are technically one single landmass on one single tectonic plate. So either way, if someone tries to say North and South America are just one continent (America), then that’s how they were taught so it’s not their fault that they’re wrong. Yes, they are still wrong.

Let’s go back to our original claim “American is a continent not a country”. Wrong. Here’s where the previous hint comes back; the Americas (notice the plural) are two continents. They can also be collectively known as Pan-America, which consists of North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean. America (notice the singular) is not a continent. The continents are North America and South America, remember? Cutting the first half off a word does not make it the same thing, especially when the second half is the same for two different continents. In fact, these stupid claims are defeated by their very own logic. They argue that we cannot call the United States of America by the shortened term “America” but they say America is continent when it is itself shortened by cutting off the preceding word. In both cases, we’re ignoring the first half of the name, so “America is a continent, not a country” is already wrong by its own reasoning. So what makes it more correct to use America/American to refer to the US and its people? I’m glad you asked.

First of all, “American” is a demonym. A demonym is basically a term for the populace of a certain locale, based on the name of that region. Thus, Chinese (from China), Australian (from Australia) and American (from America). Now, here’s the fun bit. Let’s just say for an instance that the word America does not, by itself, have any meaning – thus nullifying the semantics of the word American (ignoring the fact that some people do already say “North American” and “South American”). What then would you call a person from the US? United States of American? United Statesian? Here’s my personal favourite: USAsian. It even sounds like “You is Asian”. If we ever change the word “American” it should be to USAsian. If you want to blame someone, blame the people who decided to name a country “the United States of [landmass]”. They obviously didn’t foresee the difficulty of naming things when they came up with that name. As a result, we just have the word American, which is a nice, simple demonym.

Second, and here we get into a bit of the etymology and semantics of language itself, what is the meaning of a word? If you think about it, a word is really just a wavelength emitted by our vocal chords. That’s the scientific way of saying “words are just sound”. So how does this sound have a meaning attached to it? It’s meaning is given to it by its use. If it’s used to represent something, it will come to mean that thing. The word “American” has already had a few hundreds years of usage to describe people/things from the United States. Not only that, it was popularised and utilised by the media and government (the American Dollar and the American Dream), so really, the word has already established its meaning and the media, people and government were the ones who created the word’s meaning, as well as ensuring that it sticks. So yes, America is the shortened word for the United States of America, and American is the word for a person/thing from the US. Its usage as such is perfectly correct.

Before I forget, I remembered someone saying “stop claiming the entire continent for yourselves”. I’m guessing that the other people belonging to North and South America (the continents) are feeling left out of their own continent. Well, in response, I say: chill out. You should be glad that you’re not lumped in with the US and have a country name and appropriate denonym for yourselves. That means you don’t get dragged into the American image of archaicness, obesity and stupidity (among other things). Now stop trying to argue that America “is a continent not a country” or you mind end up being considered stupid after all.

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