14 March 2008

Daytime television

For $1,000, on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire:

If four out of five dentists say that they recommend a certain kind of gum, that is exactly what percentage of dentists?

A) 60%
B) 70%
C) 80%
D) 90%

(I'm not quoting the question perfectly, but the word "exactly" was in it. Those definitely were the choices. A specific kind of gum was named but of course that's irrelevant.)

Contestant nervously giggles and says "I'm not that good at math".
Audience laughs.
Contestant answers correctly.

No comment.

Okay, one comment: chances are "four out of five" in those surveys doesn't represent exactly eighty percent. Notice that you never hear, say, "nine out of eleven" or "seven out of nine" in these contexts.

5 comments:

Flooey said...

Perhaps I'm more cynical, but I think that it's quite possible it's exactly 80%. They could have only polled 5 dentists :)

Charles Tye said...

Recently, an one of the first questions on the Danish edition of the show was "What is -6 times -2"?

The contestants (there were actually two of them) had no idea and needed to take a 50/50 chance. They then reluctantly chose (guessed?) the correct answer. I was a bit depressed for the next hour or so.

I also agree with flooey. As you have stated the question, the answer is exactly 80%. You are only inferring that the "four out of five" refers to a larger survey from the general nature and context of the question. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Can I be even more anal? Who says the fifth dentist doesn't recommend the same gum? I feel great.

Kea said...

Ah, ha! I need to practise those eyelash batting, lipgloss applicating and hip swinging skills. This sounds like a good way to make money. Er, tho I might need Google's help in deleting most web references to me.

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