It's dividing the internet. No, it's not politics. It's a math problem

8 divided by 2 (2 + 2). 

Some people are getting 16. Others are getting 1.

Think of it as the numerical version of the blue and white dress.

According to Mashable, the issue comes from two different ways of solving math problems. 

  • The PEMDAS method calls for problems to be solved in this order: Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction.
  •  The BODMAS method calls for them to be solved in this order: Brackets, Orders, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction.  

If you do PEMDAS, you get 16. Do BODMAS, and you get 1.

So technically, both answers are correct. But that isn't stopping the arguments online.

Mike Breen, the Public Awareness Officer for the American Mathematical Society, also weighed in explaining how to solve the problem to Popular Mechanics.

"According to order of operations, you solve whatever is in the parentheses first. That gives you 4. Then, in PEMDAS, multiplication and division take equal precedence, so you’d do the first that occurs from left to right. So you’d do 8 divided by 2 first, which is 4. Thus, it’s 16 according to classic order of operations. 

But the way it’s written, it’s ambiguous. In math, a lot of times there are ambiguities. Mathematicians try to make rules as precise as possible. According to strict order of operations, you’d get 16, but I wouldn’t hit someone on the wrist with a ruler if they said 1."

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