Author Archive

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

A hat puzzle

This is a hat problem. The participants are supposed to be infinitely clever Mensa members, each wearing a hat bearing a number, such that they can see each other’s numbers but not their own. The hat numbers are integers, greater than zero. There are 3 participants (A, B and C, or Albert, Brian and Clarence […]

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Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Does god exist?

Sometimes people ask me this question, and this is the answer I give. Obviously I’m not going to do the whole topic justice, but here is my simplistic way of looking at the question. First: what do you mean by “god”? If you mean “god” as a concept, obviously it exists. Virtually everyone on the […]

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Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Should we award honours for just doing your job?

I personally know a handful of OA or similar award recipients, and in many cases what I see is the effectiveness of the networks they belong to in rewarding their own, rather than any intrinsic worth. Is it enough if their peers think it’s enough? I am directly involved in the awarding process in two […]

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Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Banning the burqa

Laws generally fall into 3 categories: (a) protecting the rights of individuals or minorities (b) regulating conduct (c) operating the state. Type (a) laws only limit freedom to the extent that rights are in conflict: the protection of the rights of the victim restricts the rights of the perpetrator. Most laws in this category are […]

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Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

Scary driving, mechanics and maths

As a youngster, a friend of mine owned a Datsun 240K automatic. Some of his friends had V8s. He discovered however that he could do some impressive burnouts by selecting reverse at highway speed & flooring it! The argument is over the relative speed of one back tire spinning, compared to the road below. The […]

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Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Useful words missing in English

Just ran across these incredibly useful words that English lacks. Utepils (Norwegian) means “outside beer”. It refers to the highly pleasurable activity of sitting outside enjoying a beer, especially the first warm day of spring. Drachenfutter (German) means “dragon fodder”. This is the gift a husband gives his wife when he’s been a naughty boy, […]

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Thursday, July 1st, 2010

Odds puzzle with a twist

Here are two puzzles, superficially similar, but different answers. A. Alf meets Bert, and asks him how many children he has, and of what sex.The puzzle: if Bert has two children and at least one of them is a boy, what are the odds that he actually has two boys? B. Alf now asks the […]

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Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Be careful with superglue

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Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Propositional logic puzzle/game

Anyone fancy a logic puzzle/game? I just ran across this one. It’s a download, text-based propositional logic with a cute back story. Only 10 questions, but it certainly made me think. Enjoy!

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Friday, May 21st, 2010

A self-referential multiple choice puzzle

Multiple Choice Question: If you choose an answer to this question at random, what is the chance you will be correct? A: 25% B: 50% C: 0% D: 25%

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