Monthly Archives: July 2015

Losing Beginner Perspective

I am trying to learn Japanese. I am not that good at learning languages, but I am trying anyway. I like to stretch my mind. And who knows? Maybe, the horse will sing.

A Japanese-language forum that I participate in is filled with people who seem to have lost perspective of what it is like when one starts.

I made one post where I put in as much Japanese as I could. I got lambasted for it. Apparently, doing what I did will not help me. Really? I figured that I was using what I knew as best I could. Apparently, my view is heresy.

If you are dealing with people who are starting in an area that you are familiar with, please remember that people who are starting do not know much yet. Something that is trivial for you is not trivial for them yet.

The Japanese word for the Japanese language is “にほんご” in Hiragana, “ニホンゴ” in Katakana, and “日本語” in Kanji. I am curious as to what WordPress is going to do with it and what your browser is going to do with it. Please E-mail me, and let me know.

Odd Language #111: Prejudice Which Way?

Kamloops This Week, Thursday, 2015-07-23, p. B6: “History lessons from Hat Creek Ranch”: referring to Donald McLean: “Despite the fact he was married to a native woman, the chief trader of the Hudson Bay Company assigned to the Thompson’s River Post (now Kamloops), was prejudiced toward First Nations people.”

The issue: “prejudiced toward” can mean favours or is prejudiced against. According to the article, it was the latter.

Puzzle #114: Marbles

Yet another marbles problem! You have some marbles which are each of one colour of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. From the clues below, determine how many marbles of each colour you have.

1) The total number of orange marbles and green marbles is equal to the number of yellow marbles.
2) Three of the colours have an even number of marbles; the same for odd.
3) The numbers of yellow and violet marbles are both even or both odd.
4) There are at least two of each marble colour, but no more than nine.
5) The numbers of red and blue marbles are both even or both odd.
6) There is a different number of each of the six colours.
7) From lowest to highest numbers of marbles is the same order as the colours in ascending alphabetical order.

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, August 12, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #112 Solution: Bombs

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

A Small Matter of Programming?

http://qntm.org/gay (entitled “Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective”) is an interesting article on the issues around programming changes necessary to accommodate same-sex marriage.

It is not simply a matter of allowing anyone to marry anyone. There are still laws against incest. But what of two brothers marrying? There is one complication that does not occur when one of the marriage partners must be from one category and one from another, namely, that there was no need to test if some was trying to marry himself. You think this a silly case? There are tax breaks for people married.

The cases in the previous paragraph are only some of those mentioned in the article.

If you have ever wondered how complicated a “simple” system can be, read this article. If you have ever wondered how a “simple” change to a program can be so complicated, read this article.

Odd Language #110: Might Not or Can Not?

From a posting in USENET’s alt.folklore.computers newsgroup: ‘Many employer-based pension systems require _not_ working (at least for that employer) for at least a year as a condition of starting to collect benefits, but the rules naturally vary by employer. For instance, many teachers become substitutes for a year, to supplement their pension, and then return to full-time teaching so they can “double dip”–but those extra contributions may not increase their future pension payments.’

The issue: What does the “may not” mean? Is it “might not” or “can not”? The difference could mean a lot of money.

Puzzle #113: Date Digits

Here are two puzzles dealing with dates.

If a date is expressed as digits, there are a number of formats that can be used. One, called ISO 8601, is YYYY-MM-DD. For some years, there are a number of dates where all eight digits are different. For 2013, however, there were no such dates. Why not?

If the format YY-MM-DD is used instead, there were dates in 2013 where all six digits were different. How many such dates were 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, August 5, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #111 Solution: Even More Marbles

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Unintended Consequences

Face-to-face meetings can be expensive to get all of the people together. Video conferencing can be a very useful and inexpensive way of having meetings.

How is it working out? http://www.itbusiness.ca/blog/where-have-all-the-people-gone-they-must-have-gone-on-mute/56769 relates how it appears to have taken a twist.

“However, the novelty of digital face-to-face discussions seems to have worn off as participants started turning off their video cameras and began engaging in the discussion only through the audio feature. Most importantly, they remained as part of the discussion with the mute button turned on! And thus enabling them to multitask while, in parallel, shuffling paper and replying to emails.”

The telephone has been reinvented.