Free Books at Project Gutenberg

There are a lot of good books to read for free at Project Gutenberg. According to their home page, they have over 53,000 titles which can be read in a variety of formats.

I have read many science fiction books there that are now out of copyright. A recent read of mine is mentioned in my current Odd Language item: Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?, namely, Andre Norton’s The Time Traders.

Have a look, and let me know if you find any gems.

Odd Language #188: Proving for Whom?

‘Kurt snorted. “That they do not tell you until just before you take your first run. I do not want to know why. But I do know that I am not going to be sent into any wilderness where a savage may run a spear through me just to prove something or other for Major John Kelgarries, or for Millaird either. I will try my plan first.”‘ — The Time Traders, chapter 3 by Andre Norton

The issue: Yet another misplaced modifier. The way it reads Kurt is complaining about a savage trying to prove something for the major. This story is available at Project Gutenberg. Here is the link for The Time Traders.

Puzzle #191: Temperatures

Just a bit of chill outside, eh? As you may know, -40°C = -40°F. What is the value for x where x°C = -x°F or where x°F = -x°C?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, February 1, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #189 Solution: Yet More Marbles

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

*ing in a Winter Blunderland

(For “*”, read “walking”, “driving”, or whatever other things you have to do in the bad waether.)

For me, Monday had interesting weather in the Chinese curse sense.

One of my co-workers was turning over a company vehicle to me. The apartment complex I live in is on a somewhat steep hill. The entrance is at the top. My apartment is at the bottom. He came down, and got stuck in freshly-fallen snow. (Yes, the maintenance people are very good about plowing, but first, the snow has to fall. It was doing a very good job of that, too.) It was a bit of an adventure getting him out.

While doing so, other vehicles got in the way. He said that he initially got stuck because of another vehicle cutting him off. At one point, while we were trying backing up, a man and child came walking by and did not even move aside out of the way.

I saw a few other cases that day of people just not paying attention to the winter conditions.

Hey, folks! Not allowing for winter conditions can cause accidents. Please take care.

Puzzle #190: More Alphabet Sets

Each letter of the alphabet has been put into one of three sets.

Set 1: A, F, H, K, M, N, P, Q, R, T, X, Y
Set 2: B, D, O
Set 3: C, E, G, I, J, L, S, U, V, W, Z

What is the rule for which set a letter goes into?

Hint: The solution has to do with the shape of the letter. Depending on the exact shape of I that you consider, I might belong in set 1 instead.

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <genew@telus.net>. Your answer should be in the form of a proof. That means to show how your answer must be correct. The deadline is Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #188 Solution: 2, 0, 1, 7

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Corner Cases

Have you ever examined a situation and wished that people had considered the unusual cases just a bit more?

Look at this week’s Odd Language. Normally, whether to put commas inside or outside of quotation marks makes little difference, but in the case shown, inside makes it less clear. It would have been even worse if some of the names included nicknames (Gene “the Nitpicker” Wirchenko?).

Something that works 99.9+% of the time can still blow up. Electrical power does go out occasionally. People do get hit by lightning.

Then what do you do?

Odd Language #186: Weird List

I have been reading Heinlein’s Expanded Universe. One sentence (on page 377) is ‘I happen to be personally aware of and can vouch for the scientific training of Sprague de Camp, George O. Smith, “John Taine,” John W. Campbell, Jr., “Philip Latham,” Will Jenkins, Jack Williamson, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, E. E. Smith, Philip Wylie, Olaf Stapledon, H. G. Wells, Damon Knight, Harry Stine, and “J. J. Coupling.”‘

The issue: Do you put commas inside of quotation marks or outside? I prefer outside, but inside is common in Canada and the U.S.A. I typed in the sentence as it appears in the book, and the pseudonyms being quoted makes the list somewhat difficult to read. What exactly are the list items?