The Watering Hole: April 2 — Spring has sprung

Photo by Zooey

I kind of feel bad about being so relieved that it’s finally Spring, since we basically had a six month Fall in this area.  I think it’s the browns and grays that get to me after a while.

When I rented this apartment in February, I was SO excited to see daffodil shoots sticking out of the ground, in the planter boxes in front.  They’re blooming now, and just looking at them makes me smile.  🙂

I took this picture of one of the first buds on the tree across the driveway.  I think it might be an apple blossom, but I’m not sure.  I don’t want to ask the landlady, because I want it to be a surprise.

I know, I’m a friggin’ weirdo.  Tell me something I don’t already know!

I’ve been pretty much gone from TheZoo for a few months, but I’m working my way back.  Just finally starting to remember that I have something to say now and then, and there might be a few people out here that might like to hear it.

This is our daily open thread — Go for it, all y’all.

Watering Hole, Friday, October 21st: O-C-C-U-P-Y W-A-L-L S-T-R-E-E-T

As I believe I’ve mentioned before, the one redeeming feature in “The New York Post” is the puzzle page, particularly the word game in which you’re given a particular word and have to make as many five-letter words as possible out of that word.  The rules are simple:  no proper nouns, no plurals ending in ‘s’, no foreign words.  For my own amusement, I often play this game with a word or phrase of my own choosing.

The other day I sat down and started playing around with the phrase “OCCUPY WALL STREET.”  As I started jotting down five-letter words, I noticed that many of the words were pertinent to the actual OCCUPY WALL STREET movement.  Obviously, many were not, but there seemed to be a striking number which were applicable to the protests.  I’ve listed all of the words that I came up with, in vaguely alphabetical order, below the fold.  If anyone comes up with a word that I missed, please let me know and I’ll add it. Continue reading

The Watering Hole: September 10, 2001 – What Were You Doing?

I will give you a hint, 09/10/2001 was a Monday. The sure thing was that I was hauling in the trash cans like I do every Monday. Beyond that I can not bring anything else to mind.

The Human Mind


I remember September 11 vividly. Strange how ones mind sets its own priorities.

This is our Open Thread. What pops up in your memory of the day before?

The Watering Hole: March 19 – Pluto

You may wonder why I am bringing up Pluto at this point in time.

A while back, I was taught that Pluto was the ninth planet orbiting our Solar heater – the Teabagger’s sole source of what science now calls global warming.

Just yesterday, NASA scientist orbited the innermost “planet” orbiting the solar mass.

But this is Pluto:

Mercury actually ranks among the four largest objects orbiting the Sun with Ganymede and Titan being sure contenders and Eris being a close third or forth. Should Mercury drop down to a 3rd or the 4th and be declared a minor planet? After all, Mercury is not mentioned in the scriptures. In any case, where will Eris fall in the true picture of things?

Current ignorance has now identified the carbon footprint in our atmosphere as a non-issue.

In spite of the fossil evidence, the Biblical legend provides the only explanation of what is is. The existences of scientific and evolutionary evidence to the contrary are but a ruse to question the doubts of non-believers.

This is our Open Thread. Please feel free to present your thoughts on any topic that comes to mind.

The Chicken McNugget Problem

picture source

While waiting for Music Night, you might as well train your math a bit. Here we go:

At McDonalds you can order Chicken McNuggets in boxes of 6, 9, and 20. What is the largest number such that you can not order any combination of the above to achieve exactly the number you want?

The solution is coming tomorrow, but I’m sure you’ll manage without any help.

Update: Music Night is on, but maybe you’ll try this anyway.

Saturday Morning Open Thread – Stupid Math Puzzles

To keep everyone occupied until the Cesspool Party begins, I offer a simple math puzzle whose answer is obvious. The only clincher is that the person who offers the answer will have to offer a similar puzzle (no angle trisections or squaring of circles).

Here is number one:

We have all heard the adage about fitting a square peg into a round hole. What would be the dimension of each side of a square peg that would fit perfectly into a round hole of diameter 1 inch? Three decimal places will suffice.

Word Game

The object is to find as many five-letter (and only five-letter) words in the word or phrase below. (See below the fold.) The list we came up with will be published at 9 PM EST (6 PM PST) on Dec 27 28th. (Good idea, Walt. 🙂 ) Enjoy.

Acceptable words include any non-plural word of five letters. Certain foreign words are acceptable, within a certain sense. Foreign words commonly used by Americans for which no real English equivalent exists (such as “pizza”, or “khaki”) are acceptable. Words ending in “s” are only acceptable if they are not simply a four-letter word with the letter “s” added on. (So, “bakes” and roads” would be unacceptable, but “dries” and “kudos” would be okay.) If a word is, technically, plural but only used that way, never as singular (such as “kudos”; it doesn’t make sense to give someone one kudo), then it is accepted. You may only use each letter the same number of times it appers in the main word or phrase.

(word below the fold…) Continue reading

Word Game

The object is to find as many five-letter words as you can in the word or phrase below. Words must be commonly used words in the English language, but not slang, and no proper names. The word or phrase is below the fold along with the number of words you have to find.

R O D B L A G O J E V I C H

See if you can find at least 80 words. Good luck.

UPDATE: Here is the list we came up with (below the fold).

Continue reading

Friday Math Mystery II

Still no news from Obama on the VP pick. He is supposed to announce his running mate within hours now. Not much else going on and we might as well solve another math problem. This is again a grammar school admission test problem. The solution to the one below can be found in the comments section of this post.

A and B start from the same point in opposite directions of a 2400 m cycling circuit. A drives at 10 m/s. A and B meet for the first time after 1 min 36 sec.

a) How many meters does B drive per second?
b) How many meters does A have to go after the second meeting, until he passes the starting point?
c) How many rounds does A have to go until the two cyclists meet at the starting point for the first time?

This one is tougher and again, no calculators, no spreadsheets, just you and your pencil and a piece of paper.

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The Friday Math Mystery

We had math problems to solve here before. All were from a training book for Swiss grammar school admission tests, as is today’s. I am much older than the target group for that test, so my son beats me every time to the solution. The rules are: No calculators, no spreadsheets, just the pencil, a piece of paper and You. Enjoy!

Lucy trains at the gym once per week. Her mom takes her in the car most of the time. They need 8 mins to get there at an average velocity of 54 km/h. Whenever her mom is busy, however, Lucy uses her bicycle. The bicycle enables her to take a short-cut which reduces the distance by a third. How long does it take Lucy to get to the gym on her bicycle if she goes with an average velocity of 12km/h ?

It’s not really hard, is it?

Earlier Math Problems here, here, here and here.

(Spoiler Alert, some of the posts provide solutions to a former problem)

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Friday Math Problem

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Stephanie and Fabian are going by bicycle to visit their grandparents. They start simultaneously, from the same spot covering the same distance. Fabian goes 28.5 km/h, gets slower after 24 minutes and can only reach a velocity of 18 km/h for the remainder of the distance. Stephanie continuously goes 24 km/h and arrives at the same time as Fabian.

a) How many meters is Stephanie running behind Fabian after 24 minutes into the trip?

b) How many meters/minute is Stephanie closing in on Fabian during the second part of the trip?

c) What is the distance they covered?

Have fun! Results will be coming.

Hello from Europe – It’s summer and hot

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Hello from Europe, we finally have the kind of weather I love best. It’s warm with a slight breeze of fresh air, differently from the tropical weather of recent days. Germany will meet Spain on Sunday night for the European Football Championship finals in Vienna, and if Spain plays as they did against Russia (3:0) and Germany as they did against Turkey (3:2), the Germans should consider to save themselves the trouble of even traveling there. I am hoping for an exciting match, never mind the outcome.

Weather is an important clue to the press round-up. There are very bad news indeed for the North Pole, as reported by The Independent:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.

And the next paragraph left me open-mouthed:

If it happens, it raises the prospect of the Arctic nations being able to exploit the valuable oil and mineral deposits below these a bed which have until now been impossible to extract because of the thick sea ice above. (full story here)

After having shamelessly exploited and recklessly burnt up the resources of oil we have already available to the detriment of the planet and future generations and thus caused the kind of crisis reported here, this thought is most cynical.

So much for the weather. There is an election upcoming in the US. Of course, this is again making stories, too.

The Times can’t leave Clinton alone:

Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, wrote out a $4,600 cheque for his vanquished rival, Hillary Clinton, last night as he tried to persuade her major financial backers to switch their support to him. (full story)

They too consider this tidbit news and Cindy McCain saying in a Times interview Diana was her inspiration.

The Guardian‘s Michael Tomasky is trying to explain Barack Obama’s shift to the center and concludes:

I’ve always objected to setting up principle as a value that’s oppositional to winning. To me, winning is a principle. It’s the highest principle there is. If you win the election, you can do at least some of the good things that will improve people’s lives in the country and around the world. If you lose it, you can’t do any of them.

People will naturally disagree on which compromises are necessary and which ones aren’t. What people shouldn’t disagree on is that some are. The man’s not running for president of Hyde Park. (read full comment)

I tend to agree with Michael Tomasky. Moreover, Obama’s obviously very political actions are a relief to me. I have voiced the opinion here before that the Obama primary campaign had many hallmarks of a political movement. As a German, aware of her country’s history, I am deeply mistrusting when it comes to political movements. I’d rather have the calculated and thus calculable outcome of a political process. I can live with not getting my way. The kind of trouble mostly ideologically based policies get you into, can be fully viewed by replaying the last eight years of Bush policies.

The Telegraph has an entertaining article, if you care to take part in it. In the UK there is a thing called 11-plus exam. This is and was used to determine access to grammar schools in Britain.  So if you have the time or the boss is not watching, enjoy! The Zoo’s next Friday Math Problem will be coming up today, too.

I hope you’ll all have a good day, stay safe and healthy!

Friday’s Math Problem, solved

Bravi! You solved the Friday Math Problem and very quickly, too.

The seven excavators working 40 days make 280 excavator days in total.
The seven worked 6 days, makes 42 excavator days
Five worked 14 days, makes 70 excavator days
168 excavator days have been fulfilled and have to be divided by seven excavators again.
168/7 = 24 days

6 days + 14 days + 24 days = 44 days

Another puzzle coming soon!

Friday Math Problem

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Here’s a little math exercise for you:

To build a levee 7 excavators move the required earth to the contruction site within 40 days. Six days into the work, two excavators are damaged and cannot be used for 14 days.

How many days will be necessary to move the earth to the construction site now?

And while you’re at it, listen to some Italian music.

Well done, you were right on target: Here‘s how my book says it’s done.