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Category: QotD/Puzzles

May 8, 2007

I scored a zero (Elephant, Giraffe, Refigerator quiz)

The following short quiz consists of 4 questions and will tell you whether you are qualified to be a professional. The questions are NOT that difficult. [Ed: the answers are in the extended. It's best if you read the answer to each question before proceeding to the next]

1) How do you put a giraffe into a refrigerator?

2) How do you put an elephant into a refrigerator?

3) The Lion King is hosting an animal conference. All the animals attend.... except one. Which animal does not attend?

4) There is a river you must cross but it is used by crocodiles, and you do not have a boat. How do you manage it?

reformatted from Jeremy Zawodny's blog (I had trouble not reading the answers with the question).

Continue reading "I scored a zero (Elephant, Giraffe, Refigerator quiz)" »

September 28, 2005

Tea facts

I was extolling the virtues of my green tea that mom gets for me from Japan and decided to do a little bit more tea research so that, like wine, I could put on snobby airs while talking over a cup.

All tea comes from the same tea plant, Camellia sinensis. While there are three main varieties of the plant in use, the differences in taste mostly relate to when the tea leaves are harvested, how they are fermented, the size of leaves used, and the environment in which the tea was grown. My preferred tea is shincha, a green tea with a name that translates as 'new tea.' Depending on the region, tea plants can be harvested multiple times per year. Shincha tea is produced from the very first pick of the year, which is considered the best pick because the buds have been absorbing nutrients throughout the winter.

  • Black tea: leaves are laid out to dry, macerated (soaked, softened, and rolled), fermented, then fired/dried to halt the fermentation. The rolling process encourages the release of chemicals for the fermentation process.
  • Green tea: leaves are laid out to dry, heated/steam for rolling, and dried. They are not allowed to ferment. In China, green teas are sometimes pan-fried and then rolled into various shapes such as twisted, flat, curly or balled. In Japan the leaves are steamed then rolled by hand or machine.
  • Oolong tea: leaves are laid out to dry, shaken or rolled to bruise the edges, and shade-dried. The shaking and drying steps are repeated multiple times and the leaves are then allowed to undergo a short fermentation process. The fermentation is less than that of black tea and can vary depending on the type of oolong.
  • White tea: leaf buds covered with silvery hairs are used to make white tea. The buds are steamed and dried, which results in buds with white fuzz.

June 2, 2005

code zen

A friend of mine ran into these two Java code samples in code she has to work with. The first example is one I've encountered before in intern code. The second example is so bad that it's nearly optimally bad -- it's hard to make any line worse than it already is.

Example 1:

Runtime.getRuntime().exec("java Foo");

Example 2:

while (true) {
  int i = 50;
  if (i == 0) {

April 20, 2005

QotD: Delay's Evil Internet

"Absolutely. We've got Justice Kennedy writing decisions based upon international law, not the Constitution of the United States? That's just outrageous," DeLay told Fox News Radio on Tuesday. "And not only that, but he said in session that he does his own research on the Internet? That is just incredibly outrageous."

AP/CNN article

April 6, 2005

Living in the SV

Screw the O.C., this is the S.V.


Update: this is the day for S.V. license plates. ln m spotted 3DSTUD and honeyfields spotted GOTMAYA. Also, back in the archives there's good ole KILLAOL.

March 7, 2005

Fun, quick experiment

Some of you may have done this before, but it's a fun little experiment that takes only several seconds to do.

1. While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles.

2. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction.

(via the coffee list)

February 15, 2005

Jigsaw puzzle for Valentine's Day

This one's a day late due to flaky DSL...

I'm not even close to finishing this one as it's terribly difficult and I do have a job, but it looks pretty nice when it's all together. To keep with my policy of not posting solutions, I'm going to have to leave out Susanne's nice photo of the completed puzzle, as that is, effectively, the solution. You get the idea, though, right?

The puzzlemaker for this heart has a website, where you can find this as well as yin-yangs, huge rectangles, human heads, and other variations. The maker claims each to be "unique" in that no two are cut the same.


November 4, 2004

Reaching out

"I'll reach out to everyone who shares our goals" -- George W. Bush, November 4, 2004

September 1, 2004

Abundance of commas, dearth of vowels

I got Jay a copy of Eats, Shoots & Leaves, being that he has a pedantic attention for grammar and punctuation. Within four days of that purchase, I now find my self in possession of two e-mails that either demonstrate that the authors have broken keyboards, or they are engaging in some form of performance e-mail art.

Good Morning Everyone!

Hope everyone is well and had a good weekend.

STUDENTS ONLY - (Name removed)'s computer system is not fully functional, at this time. She has requested that I ask you to please, if you have orders, to be placed, to walk your orders to her and she will place them, for you, at another computer. For those of you who sent e-mails, with your orders, last week, to also, please hand carry them, fully composed, to her, for submittal, in Oracle.

Thanks so much.

(Name removed)

and this one from a shipping company, which is apparently bill their e-mails by the vowel or sends them via telegraph:

good morning i have been advd by your agent overseas that we have a cod due at this time on your shpt from the steamship lines that is for documentation and terminal handling charges

the amount for this is usd xx we have been advd that is is to be collcted from you at time of dely so be prepared at this time to pay this amount day of dely of your goods

if you have any questions on your move, please contact (name removed) at (number removed) he will be following up on your shpt thanks

August 20, 2004

Kakutani's theorem

This post on Kakutani's theorem broke my brain for a bit:

Take two pieces of 8*11 paper and lay them on top of one another so that every point on the top paper corresponds with a point on the bottom paper. Now crumple the top piece of paper in anyway that you wish and place it back on top. B's theorem tells us that there must be a point which has not moved, i.e. which lies exactly above the same point that it did initially.

Proof: Spam is Evil



July 2, 2004

Word of the day: antwacky

Adj. Old fashioned. Possibly from antique(y). E.g."Oh no way! I'm not wearing those shoes, they're so antwacky." [Merseyside/West Lancashire use]

Example usage:

Real-estate agents rarely pick up the phone to hear Kate Beckinsale on the other end, complaining that her yem's looking right antwacky and she'd like a bit of a posher gaff.

(yem = home, gaff = home/work place)

(via kelarskye)

April 27, 2004

Book: How Would You Move Mount Fuji

book image

This book is targeted at people who are preparing for an interview. Although it is a book about interview puzzles, the puzzles take up very little of the book. Most of the book is dedicated to interview guides (for the interviewer and interviewee) and the history of the logic puzzle, from its use in IQ tests to its adoption by job interviews. The history was a little bit interesting to me, mostly because it talked about Shockley, and it also happened to mention Jim Gibbons name, which made my world a little bit smaller. The main reason I picked this book up, though, is that I happen to like the puzzles that they give you during interviews, and I'm too lazy to find them on the Internet.

There are plenty of Fermi estimation questions in the book (the title of the book ends up being one). Fermi estimation questions ask you to estimate the value of something you don't know, like the number of redheads in Ireland. When I was in high school, we had an entire unit on this in chemistry. My chemistry teacher introduced the unit by telling the anecdote of Fermi at one of the nuclear bomb tests. As the shockwave approached, Fermi threw some scraps of paper into the air and watched their deflection. From this observation, he came up with an estimate of the megatons of the explosion that was reasonably accurate.

It's really not much use searching for examples of Fermi type problems; pretty much any type of estimation will serve as practice. Although it's nice to have estimation skills, as puzzles I find these a bit boring.

Another class of problems they have are design-type questions, where you get asked how you would design/build some sort of item. While I think these are good interview questions, as they allow the interviewer and interviewee to interact back and forth, I don't find them too interesting to solve in my freetime.

The last class of problems, logic problems with actual solutions, are the ones that I was shooting for when I got the book. There are some good ones in this book which made it worth the price of admission. Here are some of my favorites:
- 5 pirates have 100 gold coins to divide. The senior pirate proposes how to divide the coins, and the pirates then get to vote. If at least half of the pirates agree to the proposal, the division is made; otherwise the senior pirate is killed and the process is repeated. If you are the senior pirate (pirate #5), what should you propose?

- There is a village of 50 husband and wife couples. All of the husbands have been unfaithful. The wives know when men other than their own husbands have cheated, but they don't know about their own husbands fidelity. If a wife can prove that her husband has cheated, then she is required by law to kill him. Also, all of the wives are blessed with Spock-like logic skills. One day, the queen stops by and announces, "at least one of your husbands has been unfaithful." What happens?

- How many points are there on the globe where, by walking one mile south, one mile east, and one mile north, you reach the place where you started?

- Count in base negative 2 (doesn't have a "correct" solution)

- You have five jars of pills. Normal pills weight 10 grams, while poisonous pills weight 9 grams. One of the jars is filled with poisonous pills. Measuring once on a scale, how do you find the poison jar?

April 14, 2004

One billion dollars

This is mind-blowing to me that I never knew this (this was mind-blowing to meta as well). I found this out while reading Neil Gaiman's Journal.

In the UK, a billion is 1,000,000,000,000 (i.e. 1012)
In the UK, a trillion is 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 (i.e. 1018)

April 9, 2004

Tile puzzle

puzzleI'm only posting this b/c I got it on my first try with the minimum number of moves, and I like to brag:
No-Off by Nob Yoshigahara
(via BoingBoing)

April 7, 2004

QotD: Food Babies

meta left this quote on rcp's blog. I find it touching:

You're much nicer than me. I would have punched him. I would have ordered a second entree and smeared it all over my face and clothing as I gorged myself. I would have made a point of ending the date carrying a full third trimester food baby.

February 7, 2004

Puzzle: ELEVEN

I was digging through my archives and found this is one that a nice girl named leahbraids gave me in 1997. It goes as follows:
You should be able to replace the letters such that the statement is also true numerically.

January 11, 2004

Law of Internet Invocation

metamanda reads John Scalzi's WHATEVER blog all the time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find this comment from Scalzi on Making Light (poppy z. brite thread)

Also, as a general rule, if you don't want someone to show up on your site, or in your discussion (or whatever), don't name the discussion (or whatever) after them (and especially, I would think, don't name them after authors, who are by nature curious about being fictional creatures in someone else's universe). Thanks to the twin powers of search engines and personal vanity, putting someone's name on something on the Internet is tantamount to inviting their presence, not unlike (depending on your perspective) invoking angels or demons. And we all know how much trouble that class of creature can be.

Henceforth, the above observation is to be known as the Law of Internet Invocation: "If you name them, they will come."

This is assuming no one else has yet made this observation (which I'm sure someone has). Posted by: John Scalzi on January 11, 2004 06:09 AM

I searched for "If you name them, they will come," and all I turned up was an Oct 2002 police report mentioning the names on a police warrant, so at the very least attributing this to Scalzi passes the Google Test, which does carry a certain level of omniscient certitude.

I found this quote to be serendipitous, given that metamanda's postings on her blog have summoned Scalzi, Paul Dourish, and others, which for me brings everything full circle. One of my postings attracted Eric Meyer's attention, but only due to it's incorrect attribution which he kindly corrected (by giving the credit to someone else). My postings have also managed to attract the attention of submitters to the Style Invitational, Khleo generics fans (but probably the man himself?), and who knows who else. Go Google/Technorati/Trackback!

Update: Scalzi's own post on the matter. Also, more on eponymous laws in the next thread.

December 12, 2003


You know it's been a bad train ride when the conductor says

Now arriving Menlo Park. We made it to Menlo Park

December 8, 2003


This one took two trips to the airport to get the photos.

First, San Jose Airport security line. We were about to go through the metal detectors so we couldn't get a good shot of the sign behind the screener.
this entry contains a photo, click to view

Turns out, a couple months later, that the sign is still in the airport, though no longer as well placed. Read for yourself.
this entry contains a photo, click to view
"Colorectal cancer screening saves lives." Thanks TSA!

November 15, 2003


this entry contains a photo, click to view

November 10, 2003

Word of the day: callipygous

I learned this one reading Catch-22.

callipygian ( P ) Pronunciation Key (kl-pj-n) also callipygous (-pgs)

Having beautifully proportioned buttocks.

May 12, 2003

Funny /. Post

The following post was made with regard to Microsoft's new Longhorn OS plus HP's prototype PC being imitation of Apple's OS X and Cube. I thought it was funny, but, then again, my office uses thirty-six reams of Xerox paper to prop up my monitors and table.

Re:Flattery and Imitation (Score:5, Funny) by B3ryllium (571199) on Monday May 12, @03:45PM (#5938675)

Xerox. In fact, it's rather ironic that everyone copies Xerox.

original post

To give proper credit to my employer, however, it's, "Xerox (PARC). In fact, it's rather ironic that everyone copies Xerox (PARC)."

May 8, 2003

Zen Monk Internet Koans

(this was meant to be a test of the trackback system, but I think wu-tang's blogger site is busted)

Wu-tang is building a Web site for a Zen monk. I find this slightly odd, unless the Internet is sufficiently ethereral to not be considered an earthly binding. However, in my experience, any tie to the Internet only increases one's suffering.

My favorite is:

"and so wu-shu made the tag blink, and the students saw, and then did not see, and then they saw again..." (ad infinutum)

The other was:

"and so wu-shu said, 'What is the sound of TCP/IP over fiber?'"

That one seems a little too dorky to be funny just yet. Perhaps with some refinement.

You can find the rest of the conversation here.

March 28, 2003

Caples Lake

Arrived at Caples Lake. Joke of the night:

Knock knock

Who's there?

Interrupting Bryan



October 14, 2002

Puzzle: The Game: Buffyphilia

Original puzzle:

Buffyphilia solved (well, almost):
One word unsolved: "TEN EFFS" or "STEFFEN"
(the 'S' should have been an 'I', giving FIFTEEN)

Description of puzzle: seven pages of screen captures of Buffy and Gilmore Girl episodes. On each page the screen captures are arranged in a cross. The first page serves as a link to each of the other pages. On the other pages, it is noticeable that the sizes of the images don't line up perfectly, this turns out to be the key to the puzzle (it turns out that the names of the episodes is not meaningful). The other key to the puzzle is to ignore Gilmore Girl episodes. The baseline dimension of the images is 240x180. The encoded character is determined by the offset from that size, so 241x180 = A, as does 240x181.

X - Gilmore Girls episode, ignore

Index 0: establishes baseline for character decoding
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180
240 180

Index 1
BLVD (If you include Gilmore Girls, you get BEDEVIL, clever)
244 180 D
240 182 B
240 202 V
252 180 L
X 240 185 E
X 245 180 E
X 249 180 I

Index 2
FIFTEEN (originally decoded wrong as TEN EFFS/STEFFEN)
240 185 E
240 186 F
240 186 F
240 185 E
260 180 T
254 180 N
249 180 S (This should be an 'I')

Index 3
240 183 C
240 200 T
249 180 I
265 180 Y
x 248 180 H
x 240 199 S
x 258 180 R

Index 4
254 180 N
240 185 E
240 184 D
240 188 H
261 180 U
258 180 R
244 180 D

Index 5
260 180 T
240 181 A
240 185 E
240 196 P
258 180 R
255 180 O
259 180 S

Index 6
258 180 R
240 195 O
240 195 O
240 184 D
263 180 W
244 180 D
245 180 E

March 2, 2002

Adam's "Pope Joke"

(approximately as told at Jeff's housewarming)

The Jews and the Catholics are having a debate about religion and decide that they can each send one representative to prove that their side is right. The only rule is that words are not allowed.

They each decide on their representative. The Vatican decides to send their best - the pope - while the Jews pick one of their best rabbis to represent them. As a sign of respect the Jews allow the debate to be held at the local cathedral. The time for the debate comes and the rabbi walks into the cathedral and up to the pope. The pope waves his hand towards the sky. The rabbi responds by slamming his fist into his palm. The pope holds up three fingers. The rabbi responds by holding up his middle finger. The pope then pulls out bread and wine. The rabbi then reaches into a bag and pulls out two fish. At this point the pope holds up his hands and walks away.

After the debate the pope heads back to the Vatican to talk it over with the other cardinals. "Man, those Jews have it all figured out. First I said to him, 'God is everywhere,' and he responded, 'God is right here.' I was taken aback, so I held up three fingers representing the Holy Trinity, and he responded, 'We all worship the same one God.' I didn't know what to do so I showed him bread and wine representing the sacrifice of Jesus, and he responded with two fish, representing that Jesus provides.

The Rabbi headed back to the synagogue to tell the others his version what had happened. "Man, you wouldn't believe those Catholics. The moment I walked in this guy with a weird hat gestures at me 'No Jews Allowed.' I said 'I'm staying right here.' Then he said, 'You have three minutes.' I said, 'fuck you.' Then he pulled out his lunch, so I showed him mine."