Monthly Archives: November 2015

Sideswiping Oneself

Sometimes, you just “know” that things are a certain way. And they turn out not to be. You might never find this out, because you did not check.

I had an example of this almost happen to me just recently. I was up in Grande Prairie, Alberta. When I am out of town, I like to check out the local game stores. I did a cursory check on Saturday, but did not see anything near the hotel I was staying at. Monday, I wanted a slushy. I already knew that the local Esso did not sell them and found out that the Petro-Canada did not either. I asked where a 7-11 was. It turned out it was 24 blocks away. I almost did not go. When I got most of the way there, I found another convenience store that does sell slushies. I wanted a BIG one, and the biggest size was not that big. (I thought that if I was going to walk all that way, I was getting a BIG one.) I continued walking downtown.

And saw a game store. It turned out that within one block, there were three game stores and a game cafe. I spent time checking them out. It turns out that Gande Prairie has a very active gaming community. A relocatee from Edmonton (Alberta’s capital) said that Grande Prairie has a better gaming community than Edmonton.

As it was around 5 P.M., I also thought that they would be closing soon. It turns out that the game stores are open late every weeknight, and the game cafe is open until midnight. I am used to game stores closing at 5:30 or 6:00 most days.

And to think that if I had not been so pushy about getting that slushy, I never would have walked downtown. And if I had not decided to check anyway despite the hour, I never would have known about some excellent stores.

Odd Language #128: Rejection

Odd Language #128: Rejection

<>, section Countries and groups at war with ISIL has the sentence, “International rejection of ISIL as a terrorist entity and rejection of its claim to even exist have placed it in conflict with countries around the world.”

The issue: “rejection of ISIL as a terrorist entity” can mean rejection of ISIL because it is a terrorist entity or rejection of the designation of ISIL as a terrorist entity. By context, it is the former, but the latter is a possible interpretation.

Puzzle #131: Nonsense

Start with 10. If tomatoes are a fruit, add 5; if not, add 3. If prinna foet yong, multiply by 2; if not, add 6. If haronnasark ipset blinda, multiply by 2; if not, add 2. If yanna op decidand, add 3; if not, add 2. If rezan orsha dem, multiply by 3; if not, multiply by 2. Is your result prime?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <>. 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 9, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Abolishing Daylight Saving Time

Some people in my area have recently been proposing abolishing Daylight Saving Time.

I could go for that.

Twice a year, I have to fiddle with my publication time so that my articles are released at noon Pacific Time and just after. Every time, I have to stop to think about it to make sure that I get the direction of the change right. And now that I think about it, I think that I have had the time wrong for the past few weeks.

I have to change my clocks. I had a problem with one of my computers where it appears that it switched a week or so early.

More seriously, people have to adjust their sleep schedules. This can be difficult. I got hit by this on the last switch to DST. On the Monday after, I had a 5 AM meet-up time for an inventory counting job out of town. It still felt like 4 AM, and that was the time I had to be there. I effectively had to get up at about 2:30 AM (instead of a “sensible” 3:30 AM). Fortunately, I got to sleep on the two-hour drive there, but the driver did not. I recently qualified to be a company driver, and now, as I joke, I only get to sleep on a drive once.

I think that we would be better off without Daylight Saving Time.

Puzzle #130: Secret Number

I am thinking of a three-digit number. Of the numbers that fit the other clues, the solution is the one with the largest prime factor. The sum of two of the digits is equal to the third digit. None of the digits are 1, prime, or 0. What is the number?

Submit your answer to Gene Wirchenko <>. 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 2, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #128 Solution: Ages

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Odd Language #126: Identical Triplets Will Be


The issue: A Kamloops couple is expecting identical triplets, and naturally, the news made it into the local newspaper. The article is spread on two pages: pages A14 and A15. The kicker is that section B is in between. All I saw at first was “IDENTICAL TRIPLETS WILL BE”. True enough, but not what was meant and somewhat confusing.