Monthly Archives: May 2017

Point-of-View Blindness

You have a point-of-view. It lets you see some things. Unfortunately, if you use it wrong, it can prevent you from seeing things.

I was recently talking with someone (Dan) who is having trouble with math. He sees that. He tried to get help from another student who does understand the math Dan is having trouble with. The other student, though, does not understand how Dan does not understand. Because of that, his explanations confused Dan more than ever.

That other student would not make a good math tutor. Understanding math is not enough. One also has to understand how someone else could fail to understand. That requires stepping past one’s immediate point-of-view.

There is nothing special about your point of view other than it being yours. It might not be enough when you are dealing with others. Consider that the next time you try to teach or persuade someone else.

Odd Language #207: The Check?

One sequential art title that I follow is Misfile. A recent strip had one character describing her relationship with her parents: ‘”There’s very little I can’t do as long as it’s legal and they don’t have to be involved outside of a check.”’

The issue: Bad parenting aside, this sentence is ambiguous. The word “check” could mean a check by the parents (that things are OK) or a cheque (as in “Pay to the order of …”). I was puzzled briefly as to which.

Note that in my written style (which leans to British spellings), this would not be ambiguous since the second type is spelled “cheque”. (And I spelled it that way above. I was going to correct it, but since I think that “cheque” is the correct spelling, I did not.)

Puzzle #210: Class Groups

There are eight students in a class. There is a project assignment which is to be completed by teams of two students. How many ways can the students be grouped into four pairs?

(Warning: 1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8 and 4&3, 7&8, 2&1, 6&5 are the same grouping.)

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, June 14, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #208 Solution: Seventy-Five Cents

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Unnecessary Change

The computer field has a lot of change. Personally, I think that there is too much. Quite often, changes appear to be made for the sake of change. When this breaks something that was working, it is somewhat irritating.

My local corner store is a combination Esso/7-11. I have an Esso loyalty card.

It used to be that I would be prompted to swipe my card; the swipe would then be acknowledged with a message.

Obviously, this was too easy.

Now, there is no prompt. There is an acknowledgement of the swipe (I think): the display blinks once.

Who thought that this would be better?

It is not as if there are not other changes that would be more useful. For example, if I wish to redeem points and make a purchase, it has to be done as two transactions. My Petro-Canada loyalty card does not have that limitation.

Odd Language #206: Yet Another Double

I posted this recently on a programming forum in a thread on puzzles: “What both solutions are are questions where the truthteller and the liar will answer the same.”

The issue: The “are are”, of course. The first one is part of the subject of the main clause (“What both solutions are”) and the second is the main clause verb.

Puzzle #209: Olde Money

With decimalisation in 1971, British money became much more sane/boring. This puzzle uses the old system of coins: 1/2 d., 1d., 3d., 6d., 1/-, 2/-, 2/6, and 5/-. (The values are, respectively, 1/2, 1, 3, 6, 12, 24, 30, and 60 pence. There might have been a few other varieties – it did change over time – but we will ignore them.) How many ways can you make change that adds up to 1 pound (240 pence) if you can use no more than two of any one denomination?

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, June 7, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #207 Solution: The Chicken Race

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

The Not-Scam E-mail

How are you doing with keeping up with all of the minutiae of modern living?

My latest grade is a D.

I received a failed billing E-mail. I was inclined to think it probably a typical scam.

It wasn’t.

My domain’s registration had expired. I found out when I went to prepare this week’s posts: my blog was not there. This led to a frantic phone call to reregister and then many browser refreshes until it came back.

There are a lot of scams out there, but every so often, the notice is actually valid. Unfortunately, this was a surprise.

I hope I have not forgotten about this in two years.

What have you set aside that you should not have?