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).

Job Fairs Are Fairer

These days, it can be very difficult to get any response from a job application. Many employers only reply to those they short-list.

Last week, I attended a job fair. It was the first time in quite a while that I had the opportunity to speak to employers about employment.

It felt good to be treated as if I mattered.

I think that employers should do this more often.

Puzzle #205: SOS

Consider a tic-tac-toe grid. Instead of three X’s or O’s, how many ways can you put SOS in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row?

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, May 10, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #203 Solution: Holding Marbles

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Odd Language #201: No Passing

A British Columbia road sign I have seen many times: “DO NOT PASS SNOWPLOWS ON RIGHT”

The issue: Due to elision of words to fit, it is ambiguous. Does it mean to not pass snowplows that are on one’s right or to not pass snowplows on their right? Actually, neither is a particularly good idea, but it is the latter. Where do you think they throw their snow?

Puzzle #204: $17.35

How many ways can you express $17.35 in Canadian bills and change?

There is one additional proviso: any combination may not have more than two of any 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, May 3, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #202 Solution: Weird Coins

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

Perversity

I sometimes get a bad sore throat — which I call “fire throat” — when the seasons change from winter to spring. This year was yet another case. Break out the Fisherman’s Friend. (I need enough throat cooling that I can get a sugar buzz from cough drops.)

Some time later, my voice gets rather froggy. Interestingly, this is a good sign. Oddly, my voice is quite normal when I have the sore throat; it only gets froggy when I am recovering.

Have you ever seen something that is similarly deceptive?

Some people can have what looks to be a frown on their face and be in quite a good mood. (I am one of them.)

What have you seen like this?

Odd Language #200: Initial Reading Declined

“There would be no more overpopulation; the hordes in East Asia would decline to adjust themselves to the food supply.” — Misbegotten Missionary by Robert A. Heinlein

The issue: When I first read this sentence, it seemed to mean the opposite of what it should. Then I caught that there were two meanings of “decline” to consider. It was meant in the sense of “to go down in number”; I had initially read it as in the sense of “deciding against something”.