Flat Earth: Maths test with street cred

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The Independent Online
QUESTION One: Jose wants to cut his half-pound of heroin to make 20 per cent more profit. How many ounces of cut will he need?'

Question Two: Rufus is pimping for three girls. If the price is dollars 65 for each trick, how many tricks will each girl have to turn so Rufus can pay for his dollars 800-a-day crack habit?

Question Three: Willie gets dollars 200 for stealing a BMW, dollars 50 for a Chevy and dollars 100 for a 4X4. If he has stolen two BMWs and three 4X4s, how many Chevys must he steal to make dollars 800?

Question Four: If the average paint spray can covers 22sq ft and the average letter is 3sq ft, how many letters can a 'tagger' spray with three cans?

These are a selection from the High School Maths Proficency (sic) Exam for the city of Los Angeles, the teenage gangland capital of America. Well almost. The examination paper was put together by young barristers filling in time between defending and prosecuting Jose, Rufus and Willie, and has spread by fax through the city's legal profession and educational establishment. Kenny Cutler, an investigator who deals in teenage gangland crimes, said the questions were 'an accurate descripton of the only way LA teachers can reach these kids'.

An appropriate bottle of California plonk, or if you're lucky, superior New Zealand white wine, to the reader who sends in the first correct answers. Postcards please to Flat Earth, c/o The Foreign Desk, 40 City Road EC1Y 2DB.

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