Issue 5: Independent vs. Representative Voice
A Publication of the USF MFA in Writing Program

Applied Algebra

Harbeer Sandhu

Mina's parents have bought life insurance policies for Mina and her siblings. Mina's policy is worth $10,000, her older sister Rina's policy is also worth $10,000, and her younger brother Amarjit's policy is worth $50,000. Artificial insemination with sperm sorting costs $4,000, but is not 100% guaranteed to yield a male child. Abortion costs $500. If both Rina and Amarjit were to get hit by a truck and Mina's parents got a package deal on the funerals totaling $13,000, what is the maximum number of attempts they could make at artificial insemination/abortion to birth a boy with the remainder of their life insurance claims?  

Math Club meets before school on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 7:00 am. Speech & Debate Club meets before school on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7:00 am. PSAT tutorials are held weekly on Friday mornings at 7:00 am. School hours are 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, and the volleyball team practices after school, daily, from 3:00 to 5:00 pm. Mina's father eats dinner at 10:00 pm, after which she can wash the dishes and get ready for bed by 10:30. In the morning, Mina takes 30 minutes to shower, braid her hair, and put on her modest clothes. She requires an additional 15 minutes at school to do her hair and makeup and change into her real school clothes. The walk to school would also take 15 minutes. If Mina can convince her father to allow her to walk to and from school, what is the maximum number of waking minutes she would have to spend at home?  

Mina's father cites safety when he prohibits her from walking to school, but Mina thinks he's afraid that people will think he's poor. Her father insists on driving her in his cab in the morning, but Mina is afraid her friends will see her and tease her for being a cabby's daughter. In the time that Mina's father diverts from work to drive her to school, he could make at least one airport run, which would earn him $30. If auto insurance for Mina costs $150/month, what is the maximum car payment her father could afford for her by working and applying that extra money towards her car payment? If Mina finds a car for $300/month, how much will her father be able to save for her brother's education?  

Mina tells her parents she needs to spend the night at Luan's house so she and Luan can cram for the PSAT on Saturday, but really she wants to go to her boyfriend Sean's kegger. Her mother agrees to let her stay at Luan's, but she has to help her sister Rina pack ladoos for the guests at their cousin Tina's engagement party before she can go. They have a total of 700 ladoos, and each family is to receive 11 ladoos apiece. It takes Mina three minutes to make one package, whereas Rina requires four minutes per package. How long will it take Mina and Rina to pack all the ladoos? How many packages will they make in the process? How many ladoos will they have left over?  

The Punjabi School teacher, Bina Auntie, suspects Mina and her best friend Sammy of dating each other and threatens to tell Mina's mother. A train leaves Toledo at 6:45 pm, heading north at 50 mph. Punjabi school lets out at 7:30 pm, and the railroad crossing near the Punjabi school, which lies 13 miles south of Detroit, is a two-minute drive by car. Detroit lies 60 miles north of Toledo. How long should Mina detain Bina Auntie after class with questions about her homework so that Bina Auntie gets hit by a train on her way home?  

Mina's grandfather gives her an allowance of $5 every week when she visits him at her uncle's house. Mina's father gives her and her siblings $2 for every A they get on their report cards, and guilt-ridden curses for every grade below an A. Mina's brother, Amarjit, gets straight As on every report card, but Mina and her sister Tina usually get more Bs and Cs than As. Report cards come out every six weeks, but Mina's father usually does not remember to ask for them unless reminded. If Mina saves up all her money from her grandfather and Tina agrees to share the $20 bribe for Amarjit to hide his report card along with them, how much money will she have left to purchase makeup and clothes?  

Mina has just started working on her last math homework assignment for the semester when the phone rings once and stops. Her boyfriend Sean is signaling her to call him. Mina's homework grades for the grading period so far are 97, 96, 93, and 97. Her test grades for the grading period are 99, 100, and 93. Homework counts for 20% of her grade and tests count for 80%. Mina needs to maintain a grade higher than 90 to enlist her father's older brother's help in convincing her father to let her go out of town to State College when she graduates in two years. Mina hears her father curse before slamming his receiver down. What grade will Mina earn for the period if she neglects turning in this assignment in favor of returning Sean's call? What is the difference between that and Mina's grade if she earns a perfect score on this assignment?  
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