Back in the day, before approximation methods like splines became vogue in my line of work, one way of computing the area under an empirically drawn curve was to painstakingly sketch it on a piece of graphing paper (usually with the assistance of a French curve) along with the axes, painstakingly cut along the curve, weigh the cut pieces, cut out a square equivalent to one square unit of the graphing paper, weigh that one as well, and reckon the area from the information now available.
One time, when we were faced with determining the area of a curve that crossed the horizontal axis thrice, I did the careful cutting of the paper, and made sure to separate the pieces above the horizontal axis from the pieces below the horizontal axis. Then, my boss suddenly scooped up all the pieces and weighed them all.
I argued that the grouped pieces should have been weighed separately, and then subtract the weights of the "below" group from the "above" group, while my boss argued that we were calculating the total area, and thus, not separating the pieces was justifiable.
Which one of us was correct?