### Midweek Challenge - PIRATE SHIP

 Robin Hill Park (Jon Forster) / CC BY-SA 2.0
What an annoying weekend I had. It's all my own poor planning, but the Math Guide went temporarily out of stock this weekend. Hopefully, everything will be back to normal by tomorrow, which means I can get right back to giving books away!

This weekend challenge is about those crazy pirate ship rides they have at amusement parks. If you've never seen one of these in action, here's a video. They basically swing you around in a big circle.

Since there are so many ways to win a Math Guide these days, I'm not gonna go easy on you guys with the challenge questions. Just remember: Challenge questions are not SAT questions, they're just for me to have fun writing and you to suffer through solving. :)

Anyway, here we go.
Note: Figure not drawn to scale.

Larry is seated at point L on a Pirate Ship ride that has not started moving yet, as shown. The measure of ∠ABC is 60Âº, and the distance between points A and C is 35 feet. With the ride at rest, the lowest point of the pirate ship is 5 feet above the ground, and Larry is 6 feet off the ground. Once the ride is in motion, how long is the arc Larry travels between the two points at which he is 40 feet off the ground? (Assume that the ship is a 60Âº arc.)

Put your answers in the comments. First correct (non-anonymous) answer gets a Math Guide!

Good luck!

UPDATE: wgreens got it! Nice work.

Solution below the cut

### 5-Paragraph Essay: Part IV: How to Write Deep Analysis

This is Part 4 of a multi-part essay series. Check out those other parts first, if you haven't already.
[part 1, part 2, part 3]

Deep analysis avoids claim and summary as much as possible. If you make a claim, you back it up with examples and reasoning. If you give a summary, you also explain the purpose of telling us that summary.

If you make a claim, then you have to tell us why you believe that, then you have to tell us so what if it’s true (in other words, why should we care?) If you make a summary, you have to tell us the purpose or role of that summary in your overall argument.

One of the telltale signs of weak writing is the repetition of the same claim in different words. Take, for example, an essay trying to argue for placing stricter regulations on factory pollution output to save our planet.

This weak writer might say something like:

Pollution is bad. Not only does it hinder our breathing, but it also hurts the world. We will not have a place for our children at the current rate of pollution, so pollution is a serious concern. We must pass laws to ensure that factories, cars, and other pollutant-producing agents do not continue to harm our planet. If we stop pollution, then we can have a clean, safe earth to enjoy.

Think long and hard about what that paragraph actually said. In a nutshell, it told us in no less than five ways that pollution is bad and that we need to stop it. Every sentence is a claim. Not once did this writer explain WHY he feels pollution is bad or HOW it is hurting our world.

Sure, he claims that we will not have a place for our children with such high levels of pollution, but did he explain why not? No. He expects the reader to make the connection himself that pollution leads to ecosystem death which leads to an impoverished earth with little natural resources left for our children. This writer completely omitted that crucial link, that critical middle step that connects his claim to true analysis.

He is betting on his readers already agreeing with him that pollution is damaging the world, so he is in effect, singing to the choir. But what happens if his reader is the pro-factory businessman who argues that if we stop pollution, then you can kiss your iPhones and fancy laptops goodbye? Maybe the truth is we need some pollution in order to advance our world technologically.

Here’s how I would go about fixing things:

### Why do essays that are very different often get the same score?

 Katelyn's 10 essay (in the comments)

Because even though you only get one score, your essay can fail or succeed along 5 axes. The above is something I'm working on to try to help people understand a little better how, even if their grammar is perfect, for example, their essay score might not improve. It may or may not factor heavily into an Essay Guide I may or may not be working on.

Because I want to see if this works and makes sense, the first 3 practice essays left in the comments on this post will be scored and represented with a similar star. My favorite of the three will receive a copy of the Math Guide. Please note that, by submitting an essay to here, you are giving me permission to take it apart and use it as an example. Criticism will likely be involved. I won't be mean about it or anything, but still. Be forewarned. ;)

Here's your prompt:
Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms—greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge—has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the U.S.A.
-Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
Assignment: Can acting in one's own self interest make the world a better place? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

### Summer-long Challenge - Video

As you might have noticed, I'm trying to give away books like crazy this summer. Here's a contest for you creative types. :)

Your mission is to produce an educational video about the SAT. You may work alone, or in teams of up to three people. If I think your video is helpful, in the sense that if your peers watch it they might learn something, it's a winner! If you win, everyone on your team will win a Math Guide.

### Weekend Challenge - Father's Day

In honor of Father's Day, this weekend challenge is inspired by my dad's hobby business. He sells wooden flags, like the one above, on Etsy. Basically, he finds discarded pallets (this is a pallet), chops 'em up into pieces of the size he needs, and mounts them.

As usual, these challenge questions are not really SAT questions, they just require you to work the same muscles that you need to exercise to do well on the SAT. Consider them cross-training. Here we go.
The creation of one of these flags requires 13 solid strips of wood that are 1 inch thick, 2 inches wide, and 36 inches long. If my dad makes as many flags as possible out of a pallet with 10 usable slats that are one inch thick, 7 inches wide, and 40 inches long, what is the volume of the leftover scrap in cubic inches? Disregard sawdust loss and any part of the pallet that was not originally deemed usable.
Put your answers in the comments. First correct (non-anonymous) answer gets a Math Guide. Good luck, and don't forget to wish the fathers in your life a happy Father's Day!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Shahriar, who got it first. I'll be in touch shortly to get your shipping information, Shahriar, so I can send you your Math Guide.

Solution below the cut.

### I wrote something for Forbes.com

It's an idea that I've had kicking around for a while, but that never really seemed appropriate to post on this site. Basically, I made a bunch of assumptions, did a few rough calculations, and tried to put a dollar value on SAT score improvements. I hope the post inspires some conversation about high-stakes testing, the value of education, and the role money plays in both.

You can check it out here. I'm super grateful to Caroline Howard at Forbes for giving me the opportunity.

### Summer-long Challenge: Grammar Police

One of the things you should be doing this summer if you want to improve your critical reading skills is making sure to read some sophisticated writing (newspapers, magazines, books) every day. You should be doing your best to understand the arguments made (if possible, by discussing what you read with others), and you should be making flashcards for words you don't know.

You should also keep your eyes peeled for the occasional grammar error. Why? Because once in a while, even in sophisticated writing, you'll find one. And if you do, I'll give you a Math Guide. Yeah, seriously.

### Weekend Challenge - Have You Seen Me Lately?

I went back to my old high school last night to attend the final concert of the choir director that presided over so many of my formative moments. I got to hang out with some of the same people with whom I used to have the kind of deep, meaning-of-life conversations that only happen in movies or in real life when you're between the ages of 15 and 17. A good number of them are teachers now, as it turns out. Their students are lucky to have them.

I went back with a few of the people who helped make me into me, to honor a man who helped shape all of us. I saw a fantastic concert. I had a lot of hugs and handshakes. I found a plaque that still has my name on it. And then I drove home listening to a record I listened to a lot back then. Now I'm sitting in my apartment back in New York, wistful and weary. HOLD ON TO THESE MOMENTS WITH BOTH HANDS. DRINK FULLY AND RICHLY FROM THE CUP OF YOUTH. AND RETURN FOR SECONDS.

Anyway, here's a challenge question! First correct response gets a free copy of the Math Guide.

Louis and Rebecca each had x dollars on Monday morning. On Monday afternoon Louis paid Rebecca 20% of his money for a computer that she was selling. On Tuesday morning, Rebecca paid Louis 20% of her money for a lawnmower that he was selling. On Wednesday morning, both Louis and Rebecca paid 20% of their money to Steven for...something. I don't know. Steven was selling something. Assuming they did not spend or receive any other money in that period, how much money did Steven receive, in total, from Louis and Rebecca in terms of x?

Leave your answers in the comments. I'll post a solution on Monday (assuming someone gets it by then).

In order to win a book, you must not comment anonymously. I need to be able to get in touch with you to get your shipping info, etc. Also, while you can still win a free book if you don't live in the US, you're going to have to pay for shipping. So the book is only sorta free if you're international.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Jason, who nailed it with alarming speed, and to whom a Math Guide will be en route. Solution below the cut.

### Mark your calendars: Google+ Hangout announcement

Honestly, this makes me really nervous because I have no idea how it's is going to work and also because I hate looking at a moving image of my face while I talk—my mouth moves weirdly—but I'm gonna dive in.

So mark your calendars, homies. Monday, June 11 at 8 PM EST: SAT prep Google+ hangout numero uno. For this first one, I want to talk about plugging in on math questions. We'll talk briefly about the technique, and work through a few questions from my book together. You won't need the book to participate, but it'd make me feel good to see a few people hanging out with Math Guides in hand. (I have this fantasy of one day getting on the subway and seeing some kid working through my book as he heads downtown. I'll be like, Hey, is that book any good? And he'll be like, Who are you, weirdo? It's OK I guess. And then I'll be all, AWWWWW YEAAAAAHHHHHH.)

If you want to participate, make sure you get a Google+ account if you don't already have one, and add PWN the SAT to your circles on by Sunday, so I can invite you when things get rolling.

##### Important notes
• There are a limited number of seats. Google+ limits Hangouts to ten people at a time, and one of them is me. That means there can only be nine of you. I cannot reserve seats, so if you get locked out, you get locked out.
• This is for high school students only. Due to the above, you'd be occupying a seat that a student could use. Sorry.
• Please test out the hangout feature with your friends ahead of time so we can avoid tech issues. I like you guys a ton, but I don't want to be your tech support, and if this thing devolves into a bunch of I can't get the sound to work! then it's probably not worth doing. So please make sure you can get all that working before Monday at 8.
• There's no guarantee that this happens more than once. If it goes well, I'm excited about doing it again. I just don't want to commit myself to doing something crappy all summer. I'll do my best to make it good. You do the same? Cool.

### Good luck tomorrow, friends.

I've been feeling pretty mushy lately about you guys. This blog started a little over a year ago because I was bored, and has grown into something that I'm really proud of and spend all day thinking about. I have you to thank for that. So thank you for continuing to come back to this site. Thank you for asking me questions, thank you for telling your friends about me, and thank you so much for supporting my work. I am beholden to you.

So if you're taking the June SAT, I wish you the best of luck. Get in there tomorrow morning and PWN the stuffing out of it.

If you're just gearing up for a summer of SAT prep, then stay tuned. I've got some neat stuff planned.

### Weekend Challenge - Hula hoops

 Have you seen this movie? I liked it.
Nobody's answered the last challenge question yet, but whatever, here's another one. And I'll tell you what: First person who gets this one right gets a free Math Guide.
Norville has four different colored hula hoops around his waist, each with a diameter of 3 feet. He is standing on a flat surface. He drops a red hula hoop so that he is standing exactly in its center. He then walks 5 feet, stops, and drops a blue hula hoop (again, so that he is standing in its center). Norville then walks 10 feet in a different direction, and drops a green hula hoop in the same way. Finally, he turns and walks 8 feet in another direction before dropping his last hula hoop, a purple one, in the same manner he dropped the others. What is the greatest possible area of overlap the purple hoop can have with another hoop, and with which hoop can it have that overlap?
You can't answer anonymously to win, but don't like leave your address in the comments or anything—we will take care of the shipping arrangements once I declare a winner. If you live outside the US, you can still win, but you are going to have to help me cover shipping costs. Sucks, I know.

Also, I want answers in terms of Ï€. Don't give me any decimal approximations.

Good luck!

UPDATE: Congratulations to "Sjfour4," whose book is en route! Solution below the cut.