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).

Puzzle #219: Still More Marbles

You have some marbles, each of one colour of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

The number of green marbles is one-quarter of the number of all of the other marbles.
The number of blue marbles is the square root of the number of orange marbles. (A square root of a number is a number that multiplied by itself equals the original number. The square root of 4 is 2 since 2 × 2 = 4.)
The number of red marbles is the cube of the number of violet marbles. (27 is the cube of 3 as 3 × 3 × 3 = 27.)
The six numbers of marbles are all different, and each is in the range of one to nine.

Given the above clues, how many of each colour do you have?

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 16, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #217 Solution: Bleach

Spoiler Inside: Solution to Puzzle SelectShow

The Dying Post Office

The post office is not doing so well these days. I hardly ever have to mail anything, and neither do many others. The common wisdom is that this situation was caused by E-mail. I had occasion to think over the matter recently, and I have concluded that it was not E-mail and that E-mail was not even the second thing contributing to the decline of snail mail.

I think that the decline started with the telephone. Whereas before the telephone, one might use the mail to invite someone to visit or to arrange a visit, with the telephone, one can simply call.

Shortly after the telephone was invented, one official stated that it would never catch on, because there were a lot of messenger boys. We know how that worked out!

When telephone callers could place their own long-distance calls, this accelerated. This happened back in the 1960’s.

Still, I would pay bills by mail. The second nail was when one could make payments where one banked. I think I was first doing this in the 1980’s. I have done this for years. I pay my telephone bill and my credit card bills at my credit union.

Then, E-mail became commonplace. Sure, it has had an impact, but I think that the telephone and being able to pay bills where one banks were there with the daggers first.

Odd Language #215: Walk Into

I was recently solving a crossword puzzle, and one of the clues was very odd to me: “Walk into” (five letters). I could not figure it out until I had some crossing words worked out. Suddenly, I realised that I had been using the wrong sense of “Walk into”.

The issue: The word was “enter” as in walking into a store. I had been thinking of “walk into” as in walking into a wall or other obstacle. Unlike a store, you are not really in the wall after you walk into it, but “walk into” is the expression for both.

Puzzle #218: The Job Offer

You have just been offered a job paying $50,000 per year. You have your choice of two different raise packages. Plan A is a raise of $2,000 per year after every year. Plan B is a raise of $950 per year after every six months. The maximum salary for the position is $60,000 per year.

Assuming you want to make as much money as you can, which plan should you take? Why?

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 9, 2017 at noon Pacific Time. I will post the answer shortly after.

Puzzle #216 Solution: Sandwiches

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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