How many holes are there in a straw? It was the subject that was recently asked to the 4,116 British adult citizens by the polling firm YouGov. It turned out that it is a highly controversial issue.
How many holes are there in a straw?
The two-holers might argue that there is one hole at the bottom of the straw and another hole at the top, while the one-holers might insist that this was, in fact, just one long hole
The answers given to respondents included “one”, “two” or “don’t know”. A mere 4 percent of people claimed they weren’t sure, while the remaining 96 percent were fairly evenly divided. 54 percent opted for one hole, and 42 percent opted for two.
Two-holers could claim that there’s a hole at the lower end of the straw and another one at the top, while one-holers could claim that this was in fact only one large holes. When I repeated the Twitter poll on behalf of myself, I offered respondents the option of selecting the hole that is zero. From the approximately 2000 people who responded in my study, around 14 percent chose this option, and the majority of respondents chose one hole, and 22 percent for two holes.
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what’s the best answer?
That is dependent on the interpretation you give to the question. To a mathematician or mathematician, the challenge of defining the number of holes within an object is into the domain of topology. Topology can be thought of as geometry which is that is the mathematics of shapes – however, where the shapes are constructed out of dough.
In topology, the exact shape of objects aren’t important, instead objects are classified according to the amount of holes they have. For instance topologists see no distinction between a cricket ball or a baseball, or even the Frisbee. In the event that they all were made from dough it is possible that they could be stretched, squashed or otherwise altered to appear similar without creating or closing gaps in dough, or connecting different pieces that are made of dough together.
To an expert in topology, these objects differ fundamentally from the bagel, doughnut, or a basketball hoops with holes in the middle. An eight-pointed figure that has two holes, and a pretzel that has three holes are topologically different as well.
An effective method of getting into mathematicians’ method to think about straw issue is to imagine the washer. How many holes can you consider it to have? It’s difficult to argue that a washer can have multiple holes. What is it about an Polo mint? It’s likely that you’d agree with Polo’s marketing team in their advertising of the mint with the tagline “the mint with the hole” (not holes). It’s not common to take a look at a doughnut for instance, and then claim that it has a hole on the top and another at the bottom.
The wide, thin and long proportion of the straw and the possibility both openings distant, could be what give rise to the idea that there are two openings. However, to a topologist washers, doughnuts, and Polos are all topologically similar to a straw that has only one hole.
That’s the way that topologists could use to answer the question however, what is the manner non-mathematicians will perceive the term “hole”? So, if my kids and I decide to make an ocean-side hole, the goal isn’t to go all the way into Australia. Many would interpret the word “hole” as referring to an opening in the body of a solid. This concept is distinct from what the Topologist would call a “hole”, but the definition is the same. You can tell a golfer that the area in which they’re aiming to put their ball isn’t really a hole.
Two-holers could suggest that the term “hole” is synonymous with the word “opening”. There aren’t many who would be able to argue with straws with two openings. It is true that the Channel Tunnel was born in existence as two openings (one located in England and the other in France) that eventually joined. From the point of view of the perspective of a French person as well as an English person at the opposite one of them, and unaware of the tunnel’s plan to go under the sea it is difficult to judge either as they regarded the tunnel they were standing in an opening.
Similar to the manner, I am able to discern the meaning of “zero” from a colloquial perspective. If someone tells that you “my straw has a hole in it” What do you get from that statement means that your straw has been damaged and is no longer functioning in the way it was intended to. It is possible that you would be happy to own a straw in the initial “hole-free” state.
I believe this is essential to comprehending the various responses to the question – semantics. Mathematicians’ definition of “a hole” is more like the common definition of tunnels. If you ask someone “how many tunnels does a straw have?” (despite the fact that it’s a bit jarring terms) I’m sure that the majority of people will give the answer expected by topologists of one. The most important thing to agree on the correct answer is to clearly define the meaning of words used in the question.
YouGov released the results
When YouGov released the results of their study via Twitter, there was a plethora of responses from those who fell in those who fell into the “one”, “two” or “zero” camps and would accept no debate. The ones I am most impressed with, but, the ones I admire are those who dare to say that they “don’t know”, expressing the acceptance that there are a variety of options to answer this question dependent on the situation.
The survey, however it was never intended to gauge the knowledge of the population of topology or straw production process, but rather to start a discussion. Based on the responses on Twitter, the poll succeeded in its purpose.