Author Archives: Gene Wirchenko

About Gene Wirchenko

I am a computer programmer / systems analyst living in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada. I am naturally analytical and like figuring things out. I like reading (mainly science fiction and fantasy) and gaming (mainly board and card games, some RPG).

More on Fires!

It is the worst summer for wildfires in the Kamloops area that I have ever seen. In Kamloops itself, we have been OK. There has been smoke fairly constantly, but we are not threatened by fire. (For some reason, Kamloops gets a lot of wildfire smoke in the summer.)

Elsewhere nearby, it has not been too good. The community of Cache Creek was evacuated, and on July 18, the evacuation order was lifted; they are still on evacuation alert though. On Saturday evening (July 15), an evacuation order was issued for the city of Williams Lake which has a population of 11,000!

Repeating from last week: The Kamloops area is not the only area suffering. If you are in a dry area, please take care, extreme care.

Odd Language #214: Domestic

Recently, a Computerworld article had this paragraph: ‘At the briefing, a senior administration official said: “Just to illustrate a little bit more how the lottery works — so some companies oftentimes are called outsourcing firms. You may know their names well, but … the top recipients of the H1B visa are companies like Tata, Infosys, Cognizant — they will apply for a very large number of visas, more than they get, by putting extra tickets in the lottery raffle, if you will, and then they’ll get the lion’s share of visas. Which is very different than I think how most people think of the H-1B program — they imagine it for more — being for — again, they would think of it as being for skilled domestic work, rather than contract work.”‘

The issue: I first read “domestic” as in housecleaning. I wonder how many others might have, especially those who are less aware of the H1B system. Of course, it means within the country.

Puzzle #217: Bleach

I encountered this problem at work recently.

You have some bleach which is 4.1% sodium hypochlorite (and thus 95.9% water). You need to dilute the bleach so it is 3% sodium hypochlorite.

If you start with 100 parts bleach, how many parts water (to the nearest integer) are needed to dilute to 3%? There is a simpler form that is close to 100:x; what is that?

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, August 2, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #215 Solution: Divvying Up Candy

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Fires!

Summer in Kamloops, unfortunately, includes forest fires. Every so often, it gets rather bad. The smoke smell is obvious, and visibility is rather low. That is just the surface.

Kamloops This Week had several articles on the situation in its Tuesday, July 11, 2017 issue. Many of these articles are available on their Website.

From KTW: “Historically … 40 per cent of fires are human-caused each wildfire season.” The local towns of Ashcroft and Cache Creek have been evacuated due to fire. The front page story was about a trailer park being all but destroyed by a wildfire; just one home is left.

Even a tossed cigarette butt can start a fire when it hits dry grass. (Several years ago, I saw where a fire had started just off the Trans-Canada Highway. I suspect that a tossed cigarette butt was exactly what started this fire.) Operating some machinery – that creates sparks – can cause fires, too.

The Kamloops area is not the only area suffering. If you are in a dry area, please take care, extreme care.

Odd Language #213: Sample Error?

At my new job, there are two sets of log books labelled “Sample Drying Log 60º +” and “Sample Drying Log 40º”.

The issue: “Sample” refers to rock and soil samples, not that this is a sample of a type of log. At first, I thought that, since there are two of each log, one of each log was a sample of how to fill out the log. Nope.

Puzzle #216: Sandwiches

The local corner store has 12 sandwiches in the cooler. Five have corned beef, seven have cheddar cheese, and six have Swiss cheese. Each sandwich has at least one of the three ingredients, and there is at least one sandwich of each of the seven ingredient combinations. Exactly three sandwiches contain both types of cheese. Two sandwiches contain all three ingredients.

How sandwiches are there of each type?

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, July 25, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #214 Solution: Cookies

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

How Much Do You Know? and Training

At my new job, I am still learning how to do things. One of my co-workers, who is a nice enough person, does not seem to understand how much he knows about the job that I do not.

He said that he had told me everything about a weighing program we use. He actually had not. I have had to fill in the details so that I can use the program effectively.

I see this situation quite a bit.

Another example is games. You have a board game that you like playing. How easily can you explain to someone else how to play it?

Some people can not explain very well at all. One can get very confused trying to learn from them.

Some are very good at it. I am in this category, because I have worked at it. One of the benefits of a background in systems analysis is that I am good with how systems work. By breaking things down into their component parts, one can make a complex system simpler to understand.

That person who does not get how something works when you know quite well how it works is probably not stupid. He could just be missing a few details that are obvious to you but not to him.

How about giving him those details?

Odd Language #212: Who Is Authorised?

There is a sign at my new job:
FIRE ASSAY
EMPLOYEES ONLY
NO UNAUTHORIZED
ENTRY

The issue: This is on a door to the Fire Assay area. Should it be read as “This is the Fire Assay area. Only employees are allowed in.” or “Only Fire Assay employees are allowed in.”? I had to ask, and it is the latter because of the lead compounds used.