Monthly Archives: December 2015

Puzzle #134: Whodunnit?

The murder. The suspects. The detective: you.

There are three suspects: Tom, Dick, and Harry. One of them always tells the truth, one always lies, and one alternates between telling the truth and lying. They each made two statements.

Tom:
1) “Dick always lies.”
2) “I sometimes lie and sometimes tell the truth.”

Dick:
1) “I didn’t do it.”
2) “Harry did it.”

Harry:
1) “I am innocent, innocent I tell you!”
2) “Tom always lies.”

Whodunnit?

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 30, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #132 Solution: Five Balls

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Promotion, Again!

I have written in the past about the importance of promotion in hobby areas.

If you have something that you are interested in, others might be, too. If you do not say anything, you might never find those others and might never have the great times you could have with them.

Here is another example. I was contacted Tuesday by Darren Hiebrecht, the president of Ride North America.

Here is part of what he wrote on his LinkedIn page: “We created RideNorthAmerica.com, out of pure frustration. Ride North America hereafter referred to as RNA was designed to provide you the end user the information, location, dates and more to wide variety of motorhead related activities for all four seasons. RNA is an all inclusive website that incorporates all aspects of motor related events throughout North America. Our directory has been growing at an incredible rate since our official launch on January 15, 2014. RNA is becoming a toddler and we are hitting the ground running towards 2016. Our team has reached a whole new level of excitement thanks to all you who have submitted and supported the RNA vision. Our team wants to thank those of you that are now just discovering RideNorthAmerica.com Submissions are free so get them in today. If its got a motor we want to hear about it. RNA, it’s the right idea at the right time!”

It is the right idea at any time.

Disclosure: I am currently being considered for employment by RNA. That is partly why I am making no further comment about RNA. Check them out if your interests run that way, and make your own decision.

Odd Language #130: Evacuate What?

http://www.3mm-crisisstrike.com/3mmcomic/striking-sparks-page-forty-one/ has the phrase “evacuate outside the collapse zone”.

The issue: Is the meaning “evacuate to outside the collapse zone” or “evacuate the area that is outside the collapse zone”? From context, it is the former, but imagine how unclear language could cause problems in an emergency.

(3 Minute Max is a great story!)

Puzzle #133: What’s Wrong?

I am thinking of a three-digit number. It has at least four distinct prime factors, and it is odd.

What is wrong with the above?

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 23, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #131 Solution: Nonsense

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Common Misdesign

Put this in the category of “What were they thinking?”

How many USB memory sticks do you have?

They are quite useful. You might think that such a common thing would be well-designed. They are not.

Every time I use a new-to-me memory stick or computer, I have to look to see which way to insert the memory stick. A good design would work both ways.

What do you do with the cap while using the memory stick? With some memory sticks, you can attach the cap to the other end of the memory stick so the cap does not get lost. In some, you can not. Bad!

Or there is no cap. That lets dirt and crud get to the inadequately protected connectors. I have lost at least two memory sticks to this.

Technology can be very useful, but with a bit more effort, it can be much more convenient. What common item do you use that is unnecessarily difficult to use?

Odd Language #129: Pull Off That Top

One of the on-line comics that I follow is Puck. Earlier this year, there was a comment in http://www.puckcomics.com/?comic=puck-292 which included the sentence “She is also very pretty and has a good figure, but I don’t think even Mer could pull off that top Phoebe is wearing.”

The issue: “pull off that top” could mean to remove the top, but in this case, it means to be successful with.

Puzzle #132: Five Balls

This week’s problem comes from Dr. Mahnhoon Lee of TRU’s computing department. He says that this problem was given on an exam at one of the big U.S. universities, maybe MIT.

You have five balls. They are identical, except that one is different by weight. It could weigh more or less than each of the others. You have a two-pan balance scale. You are limited to three weighings. How do you detect which ball weighs differently and whether it is lighter or heavier?

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 16, 2015 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #130 Solution: Secret Number

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow