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Our in-house calculator
How much resistance do you get from a 1000 ohm and 2000 ohm resistors, wired in parallel? (Answer below. Hint: It's not 3000 ohms.) Longnee Her knew the formula and calculated the right answer. Did you?
Longnee was born in Kiu Kajam, a predominantly Hmong town set on one of the highest points between Luang Prabang and Vientiane. He's the youngest son in a family with nine children. He failed first grade twice. Not, obviously, from lack of ability, but because school is taught in Lao, while he and his family spoke Hmong. He almost quit school entirely, but his parents moved the family to Luang Prabang thinking that a larger city might provide better opportunities for all of their children's education.
Today, Longnee has strong skills in three quite different languages: Hmong, Lao, and English. Among other responsibilities, he helps us check the accuracy of translations, and is adapting a book of number puzzles. He also adapted text for three beginning-reader picture books, which tell about the daily lives of ethnic minority children; each book is suitable for a different level in our "I Can Read!" program. One example is We Live in Attapeu.
Answers: Here's how to express 791 using seven 8's: 637=88+(88x8)-(8/8). We decided that was a bit challenging for the audience we had in mind for this particular book, but it gives you some insight into Longnee's thinking. As for the resistance question: You can't just add the numbers, as you would if they were in series. You first calculate the total conductance by adding the reciprocal of the two numbers. The reciprocal of the conductance is the resistance. The answer, rounded off, is 667 ohms. If you didn't get this, don't feel bad. We often have science activities for young people, and no one else has been able to calculate this even after seeing the formula; Longnee did it without needing that help.