Monthly Archives: October 2016

Creating One’s Own Ghetto

There have been a lot of Chinese people settling in Richmond, British Columbia. There are commercial areas that are largely Chinese. Among the names bandied about on this is “Lichmond”.

But it is not just the Chinese who are responsible for this.

In the fall of 2003, I was on a co-op work term at a company in Richmond. I rented a room in a house that was just off No. 3 Road (Richmond’s main street). To get to work, I would bus north to the Richmond bus loop in downtown Richmond then catch another bus to go further north then east. In the evening, I would reverse this.

Where I was staying, I was responsible for getting my own supper. Early in my work term, I noticed a Chinese restaurant near the main bus loop on No. 3 Road. I had spent ten weeks in China on another co-op work term the year before and was hoping to get some of the food I had enjoyed.

I did not get exactly what I had had, but I got something good. I was never treated other than politely in my visits. I was in there many times.

Despite this restaurant being right by the bus loop and on a main street, I only ever once saw another non-Chinese in the restaurant and he was with a group of Chinese.

Go figure.

Often, we create our own ghettos.

Odd Language #176: Back Home

I wrote this sentence recently and then noticed something odd about it: “I was doing something for an organisation back home.”

The issue: As with many of these Odd Language items, a modifier is awkwardly placed. Was the action done back home or is the organisation from back home? “I was doing something back home for an organisation.” or “I was doing something for an organisation from back home.”?

Many times, words can be dropped out of English sentences with no loss in meaning as in “I think that you are right.” can be trimmed to “I think you are right.” The above shows yet another case where this is not safe, and the word should be kept (“from” in the second version).

Puzzle #179: Puppies

Puppies are also so darling and so prone to disappearing. You have been busy trying to count them.

You know that three of them have black fur, three have brown fur, and three have white fur. Each puppy is of at least one of the three colours and maybe more.

Two puppies are black and white, and maybe each one has brown, too.

There is one puppy each of just one of the three colours, except for one of the colours where there are two of the darlings.

How many puppies are there of each colour combination, and how many are there in total?

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, November 9, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #177 Solution: More Marbles

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

The Importance of Good Rules

Many times, people do not know how to handle a situation. Many times, it is because they do not know the rules or do not have any rules.

I was recently playing a game with a friend of Smash Up by Alderac Entertainment Group. We were having a good time. It is a great game. Unfortunately, we came across a case that we did not know how to handle. The rules did not seem to cover it.

I have since found out that the rules do cover it, but at the time, we did not know how to handle the case, and it was frustrating.

An example in a larger sphere is meetings. Some people do not like meetings, because they do not know how to handle them. The basics of Robert’s Rules of Order are not complicated, nor are a few basic rules of organisation for meetings. If you do not know the rules though, you may have very unproductive meetings. Here are some of the rules for meetings:

A meeting is not for doing things; it is for making decisions and monitoring the results of implementing the decisions. In and of itself, a meeting is of little value.

A meeting must have a purpose. If the purpose of the meeting is to discuss marketing plans, discussing office furniture purchases is off-purpose.

A meeting must have an agenda. Without a plan of what will be discussed, it is all too easy to go off-course and waste time. Attendees should know, in advance, what is going to be discussed, and should have the opportunity to research the issues.

A meeting should have only the attendees required for making the decisions. People who are affected by the decisions can be informed of the decisions after they are made. Concerns that they may have can be addressed through the research the attendees do before the meeting.

Unfortunately, there are some who will try to derail meetings or who look upon them as time off. Therefore, the above and any other rules must be enforced.

You may disagree with some of the details, but can you really see a meeting working without a set of rules?

Good rules are important to getting good results.

Odd Language #175: Taking Over

“The executive officer in his acceleration couch had taken over when Riedel regained full consciousness.” – David Drake, The Miltary Dimension, p. 194

The issue: When Riedel regained consciousness, he found that the executive officer had taken over OR the executive officer took over when when Riedel regained consciousness. Presumably, it was the former, but the latter is also a valid reading.

Puzzle #178: Kittens

Kittens are so darling and so prone to disappearing. You have been busy trying to count them.

You know that four of them have black fur, four have grey fur, and three have white fur. Each kitten is of at least one of the three colours and maybe more.

One kitten is grey and white only.

One kitten is black, grey, and white.

If there is a kitten that is just of one colour, then there are two of them that are just that colour.

There are no kittens that are black and grey only.

How many kittens are there of each colour combination, and how many are there in total?

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, November 2, 2016 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #176 Solution: Race to the Ice Cream Truck

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Important Games

I like playing board games. They are a lot of fun. Working out how to use the rules effectively is good, mental exercise.

Not everyone agrees with me. I sometimes run across people who do not particularly care about the rules. A common line from such people to excuse their behaviour is “It’s only a game.”

Try that line on one of their games, and watch the explosion.

Games do have rules. In the interests of peace, if you are playing a game, play by the rules. Do not give someone else a hard time for playing the game correctly. If you really do not want to play the game, then do not play it, but please do not ruin someone else’s game.