# Monthly Archives: June 2015

In my neck of the woods, it is getting warm and dry: fire season.

It is all too easy to start a fire by flicking a cigarette butt into dry grass or other tinder.

Several years ago, it was a rough fire year in Kamloops. We were surrounded by fires. Fortunately, they were not right close, but there was enough smoke in the air that visibility was very bad. It even overpowered the HVAC system at the end of one of the buildings at my alma mater.

Shortly after the air cleared up, I made a trip east. Near the village of Chase was a burnt patch. It looked as if someone had flicked a cigarette butt out of his vehicle and it had caught in the dry grass. The person who did so probably never knew what he had done.

# Odd Language #106: Oh, De[ea]r!

Recently, travelling with co-workers in southeastern British Columbia, we nearly hit a deer. I got to thinking about what is the best way to state that a deer collision is imminent and to take action.

The issue: Because “deer” and “dear” sound the same or similar, it could be difficult between loved ones “Look out! Deer!” could be taken as “Look out, dear!” and followed by a thud. What would your short, understandable wording be?

# Puzzle #109: Little, Green Apples

There are some apples in a bowl. All of the apples are little, green, or both. There are twice as many little apples as green apples. There are exactly three apples that are both little and green.

The following numbers are not prime: the number of green apples, the number of little apples, the number of green apples that are not little, and the number of little apples that are not green.

What is the minimum number of apples that could be in the bowl?

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, July 8, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

# Some Should Not Be on the Roads

On a trip this last weekend, we narrowly escaped hitting a deer. Had the deer been attempting suicide, it could not have timed its jaywalking better. We ended up missing it by inches.

In British Columbia, there are a number of warning signs for wildlife. All of them have sedate-looking animals in profile: moose, bear and cub, etc. Well, except for the deer warning. Now, I know why. (You can see lots of examples at http://www.roadtrafficsigns.com/animal-crossing-signs.)

Also on the same trip, we saw a dead deer on the side of the highway.

Some should not be on the roads.

Drive safely. The life you save may be someone very deer. Or even dear.

# Odd Language #105: Blowing Things Up

Some people delight in pointing out grammatical errors. For example, “Some people delight in blowing things up really good.” is likely to attract them.

The issue: However, the sentence is grammatically correct. It does not discuss being skilled at blowing things up. A villain might delight in blowing up good things, especially things that are really good. Adding a few words will make the point clearer: “Some people delight in blowing things up [that are] really good.”

# Puzzle #108: Truth and Lies

Tom, Dick, and Harry each made two consecutive statements. Truthtellers always tell the truth, Liars always lie, and Fencesitters alternate between telling the truth and lying.

Tom stated, “Dick is a Liar.” and “Harry is not a Fencesitter.”

Dick stated, “Harry is a Liar.” and “I am not a Liar.”

Harry stated, “I am a Fencesitter.” and “Tom is a Fencesitter.”

Determine the truth of each of the six statements.

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, July 1, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

# Point of View and Communication

Too many times, I have seen communication that just does not work out. One way for communication to fail in this way is for the person communicating to not consider point of view.

An example of this is the Odd Language post for this week: http://genew.ca/2015/06/10/odd-language-104-next-saturday. Which Saturday? The person who prepared the poster probably did not think past the “next Saturday” that was when prepared the poster.

I have also read computer documentation that pretty much assumed that the person already knew the material. I was installing a program recently, and because of little details left out, it took a lot longer to install than it should have. I also had to do some trial and error before I finally got it to work.

If you have something to communicate, it is because others do not already know it. If they already know it, there is little need to communicate. Please consider the point of view of someone who does not already know what you are going to communicate.

# Odd Language #104: Next Saturday

On a power pole, near my home, until recently, there was a poster for a garage sale “next Saturday”.

The issue: Context. There was no date on the poster, and it was up for weeks. I wonder how many Saturday mornings got interrupted by prospective buyers.