Monthly Archives: December 2014

Puzzle #82: Buttons

Sally has some old buttons. They are each one of white, blue, or black. Each button has either two or four holes.

1) There is only one button colour and hole combination for which there is exactly one button.
2) For each colour, there are more four-hole buttons than there are two-hole buttons.
3) There are one, two, or three of each of the two-hole button colours.
4) The number of two-hole buttons is the same as the number of black, four-hole buttons.
5) There are exactly as many two-hole buttons of one colour as there are two-hole buttons of the other two colours combined.
6) There are two blue, four-hole buttons.

If the number of white four-hole buttons is as small as it can be (fitting the other clues), how many of each type of button are there?

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, December 31, 2014 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

The Importance of the First Mark

You have put a lot of effort into a piece of writing. It looks pretty good to you. Before you get into the last round of editing, how about getting someone’s else input?

There are two likely scenarios.

Scenario one is where you show the fresh copy to Someone Else. SE is likely to say that your work looks fine.

Scenario two is where you show a copy with some editing marks on it. SE is much more likely to make suggestions.

I ran into this phenomenon at university. I learned that, if I wanted some actual input, I had to first mark up the copy I showed. Somehow, people do not want to make the first mark.

So make it for them!

Puzzle #81: More Coloured Blocks

You have some blocks with each block being a solid colour of one of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

1) There are more violet blocks than orange blocks.
2) The quantities of blocks of each colour are in a five-number range and each of the five values is used.
3) There are fewer violet blocks than yellow blocks.
4) The quantity value for orange blocks is the value used twice.
5) The number of yellow blocks is a prime number.
6) Exactly three of the quantity values are primes.
7) There are more blue blocks than violet blocks.
8) The quantity value used twice is not prime, but the total number of blocks is prime.
9) There are fewer red blocks than green blocks.

Given the above, how many blocks are there of each of the six colours?

[A prime is a number with only two factors: one and itself. 5 is a prime, but 6 is not a prime (since 2 times 3 = 6).]

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, December 24, 2014 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #79 Solution: More Puppies

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

You Get What You Measure

In http://www.infoworld.com/article/2848873/certifications/that-paper-msce-holds-more-value-than-you-might-think.html, J. Peter Bruzzese makes some interesting points about the MSCE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) program. One, in particular, to me, is extremely perverse:

“But there continues to be a disconnect between the real work of an admin and the questions they get in an exam. This has led to the proliferation of sites where the questions and answers are posted online for all to debate and study because the possibility of passing the exam based on real-world knowledge is nil. In a perverse response to these sites’ publication of questions and answers, exam creators have made the questions even more obscure, thus propagating the cycle.”

You get what you measure, but just what is being measured by an MSCE exam?

Odd Language #77: Porn or Not?

A few quotes from a widely-known work:

“‘The answer to the second question,’ said Merry, ‘is that we could get off in an hour. I have prepared practically everything. There are six ponies in a stable across the fields; …'”

“They could not catch the words, but evidently Merry was aroused.”

The issue: These quotes could definitely be taken as having sexual connotations. However, they come from _Lord of the Rings_. The first is Merry describing trip preparations, and the second is when Merry and Pippin are trapped by Old Man Willow.

Puzzle #80: Prime Plus

My credit union charges interest on some loans at prime plus 5%. Suppose that the prime interest rate in percent is a prime number. Obviously, prime plus 5 is not the prime interest rate. Almost always, it is not a prime number either. Why is this? What is the exception?

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, December 17, 2014 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #78 Solution: More Kittens

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow