It’s one of those Facebook posts that’s all over the place, and — like “the dress” or the hidden panda — everyone seems to have a different take on it.
What is half a coconut plus one apple plus three bananas?
On the surface, it would seem the apple has a value of 10, the bananas a value of four and the coconut a value of two. And if that were the end of the story, the answer would be 2 + 10 + 4 = 16.
But in the final frame, the fruit are slightly different.
There is half a coconut, instead of two halves in the earlier example equation that establishes a value of two. And instead of the four bananas representing the value of four, there are just three bananas.
If the numbers are reduced along with the portions of fruit, you get a totally different answer: 1 + 10 + 3 = 14.
With the given information, the single coconut and the 3 bananas are completely new symbols. There is no clear unambiguous mathematical reason to suppose that their values are 1 and 3. Deducing that from the other symbols is nothing but a guess. This is especially true since the single apple has a value of 10. You might as well just say they have values of 14 and 12 or anything else you want.
Therefore the final equation has two unknowns. This system of equations is therefore unsolvable.