Monthly Archives: March 2016

Getting It Right vs. Getting Something

A common model on the Web is for a site to return some result regardless of how wacky it might be.

Google Maps used to occasionally do this to me. I would specify a place in Canada, but maybe misspelled it badly. Google Maps would sometimes display a place in California. Not terribly useful.

They have gotten better. I have not had this happen lately and now sometimes see suggestions or, if Google Maps has none, “We could not find _____”. I find this much more useful. I am glad that they have switched to this approach.

Remember that just because you get an answer does not mean that it is right.

Odd Language #146: Well Well

I hope that you are well well before then.

The issue: the word repetition. I used this sentence in an E-mail to my boss who is ill. I stated that I am going out of town and when I will return. After that, I put the above sentence. I meant that I hope that he is well (healthy) again and that this happens well (a goodly amount of time) before I return.

Puzzle #149: Another Murder

I have arranged for another murder. Again, the puzzle comes courtesy of Dan O’Reilly, formerly of the Philosophy department at the University College of the Cariboo (now Thompson Rivers University).

Sherlock Holmes considered the following evidence and then announced correctly who the murderer was. What did Holmes conclude?

The maid was the murderer only if the murder was done neatly. But, it was not done neatly unless it was done with the revolver. The butler was the murderer just in case his affair with the maid needed to be hidden. If the butler didn’t do it, then either the maid did it, the gardener did it, or the cook did it. Neither the gardener nor the cook did it provided that it was done with the revolver. A necessary condition that the murder was done with a knife is that the cook did it. However, it was not done with a knife. Although it was done neatly, the butler’s affair with the maid did not need to be hidden.

Therefore, Holmes concluded that the ___[who]___ did it with the ___[weapon]___ ___[neatly/unneatly]___.

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, April 13, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #147 Solution: Age Problem

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Paging Mr. Kafka

In Order That One Does Not See, I wrote of my appreciation for the infrastructure that helped me deal with aspects related to my mother’s death.

I just had something happen which made things more difficult.

I do want to see things wrapped up properly, but my mother’s estate is very small to the point where I am very likely going to be out-of-pocket for handling her estate.

I need to have her mail redirected to me so that I can handle final bills. Canada Post did not consider her death certificate enough. I had to swear a statutory declaration which cost me $50. They then would process a mail redirection which cost just over $50. To get my mother’s mail redirected, thus, cost me over $100. I expect that this will end up costing me over $10 per item.

There is something rather screwy about this.

Puzzle #148: Reading in the Dark

Consider a seven-segment LED display (used by many calculators). You wish to use one as an indicator in the dark. Because it will be dark, anyone reading it will not be able to distinguish between shapes that are shifted. For example, one can not distinguish between only the top-left or only the bottom-right segment being lit; they are the same shape, just shifted. Similarly, the top-left and top segments being lit can not be distinguished from the bottom-left and middle segments being lit. No segments lit can not be used either; you might not even be looking at the indicator.

Normally, there would be 128 possible lighting patterns. 1) In this scenario, how many are permitted? 2) What would be a simple way around this limitation?

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, April 6, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #146 Solution: Alphabet Split

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

If You Want Something Done, Give It to a Busy Person

I am uncomfortably busy these days. It feels as if I have n things to do and about time enough to do n – 3 or n – 2 of them.

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” or something similar has been attributed to a number of people.

Yes, I do feel a bit hectic at times, but I am getting in better control of my time. I am also having a lot more fun than when I was not so busy.

Odd Language #144: Outside Of

A Wikipedia Did-You-Know of earlier this year was “… that Newry City Ladies F.C. were the first team for 14 years to win the Women’s Premier League outside of Belfast?”

The issue: Does “outside of Belfast” mean that the winning team was from other than Belfast or that the victory occurred in a place other than Belfast?