The End…A Farewell

December 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Hello all,

It has been wonderful being in a class with all of you. I had a great time and it was easily one of my favorite classes, in no small part due to the our awesome class. I doubt many of you will read this – what with the class being over and second semester seniors to boot – but I wanted to thank all of you for such a great semester. Especially Carla, since it’s not often that I get watch The Lion King and call it research =D


Have a great 5 days and 2011 everyone!

-Matthew Roy, “sǝɹıɟ & sɹıɟ”




Logic Puzzle of the Week: Einstein’s Riddle

December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

Anyone remember this puzzle from school? For me, it was from middle school. It is one of those puzzles that you just have to work out step by step, each step often requiring a moment of great insight. The lore behind this puzzle is that Einstein was stumped by this test, and could not solve it. Supposedly only 2% of the world population can get it, or something like that. Seems kinda bogus to me, but it is pretty hard.


Einstein’s Riddle
There are 5 houses in 5 different colors. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The 5 owners drink a certain type of beverage, smoke a certain brand of cigar, and keep a certain pet. No owners have the same pet, smoke the same brand of cigar, or drink the same beverage.
Somebody owns a fish. The question is: who?

The Brit lives in the red house.

The Swede keeps dogs as pets.

The Dane drinks tea.

The green house is on the left and next to the white house.

The green homeowner drinks coffee.

The person who smokes Pall Mall rears birds.

The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhill.

The man living in the center house drinks milk.

The Norwegian lives in the first house.

The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.

The man who keeps the horse lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.

The owner who smokes Bluemaster drinks beer.

The German smokes Prince.

The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.



It helps to make a chart of the possibilities. Actually, it can be thought of kinda similar to sudoku for the solving strategy.

The answer is the German who lives in the green house number 4, drinks coffee and smokes Prince, owns the Fish! We have solved the Einstein riddle.


December 7, 2010 § 3 Comments

is a delicious word. Probably my favorite right now. Just sound it out slowly, and you will have to agree that it means exactly what it tastes like, if a word can have a taste. A kind of onomonopia of its meaning.


Anyone else got some delicious or favorite words? Luxurious is another good one in my opinion.

Oh and to forestall any “how does this relate” comments: this is just for fun.

Random Riddle I just thought up

December 3, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was just getting up from posting my previous post when I made this up. It is probably not especially good, but then again I made it up on the fly. I was thinking of what my next Logic Puzzle of the Week should be and I remembered the one with 2 guardians, one who always tells the truth and one who always lies…


You are trapped in a room with two doors, both of which lead to freedom. But there is a catch. In front of each door is a guardian, one will let you pass and one will stop your only attempt at freedom. You can try to exit only once, and you can ask only one question.  The one guardian only tells truths and the other only lies, and that is unconnected to whether or not they will let your through.

Oh, and there is a third guy in the room who stabs people that ask tricky questions. Not feeling so smug now are you?


Highlight text with mouse to reveal the answer written in white letters.

The answer is ventriloquism.  Lol, random and pointless but I thought it was funny.

Just For Fun: A comment on “Awful”

November 28, 2010 § 2 Comments

A thought just occurred to me, so I’m posting it. This is not one of my 2 posts a week, or at least not for last week’s (21-28).

A few centuries ago when we were peer editing each other papers, someone in my group had the topic word of awful. I thought they had an interesting point on how awful now means the opposite of what it used to.

Awful. Awe-full. Full of Awe. It used to mean something “subliminally majestic” up until around the 18th century, if I remember correctly.

Yet now it means something very different, and the word “Awesome” has taken its place.

It made me curious about the mutation of words. For example, we (California) use “hella” a hell of a lot. This makes no sense, since it is like saying someone is running as fast as Alaska. Exactly. but it makes sense to us, and we use something absurd since we have an implicit understanding of what we actually mean when we say it.

To my original thought that sparked this and drove me on the hella tangent: What are we actually saying when we say something is an “awful lot” of something?  A literal definition would be something like a dire or terrible amount of something.

Which begs the question (somewhat another one): What other strange uses of words are there? Anyone got any ideas?

A Grizzly Film

November 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

This’ll be a short post. I found that Herzog was one of the most canny producers I have ever scene (heh heh, this typo turned into a neat pun). The juxtaposition of the scenes was incredible. I have to admit, it is kinda pissing me off that I can’t remember the example that jumped out at me. If Keegan can remember, a comment saying what it was would be awesome. I think it had to do with Treadwell exploding about the park service, and then the next scene being someone remembering Treadwell as sweet and kind.


Anyway, this film was pretty spectacularly done. Everything from the coroner who appeared, ah…, touched in the head to the choice of the footage shown of Treadwell’s expeditions was masterly woven together. You see more than what merely looking at the footage Treadwell intended to show the viewers; instead of a perfect hero you see a troubled man.

While I can’t say I enjoyed the film from a subconscious level, I am glad I have seen such a powerful story, and one told so well.

Just for fun ~ Peter Pan: The other (disturbing) tale of childhood

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

After reading Tom Sawyer and thinking about childhood, I was interested enough to want to learn more. So while writing a blog post on how The Adventures of Tom Sawyer were the quintessential tale of childhood, I realized that what actually sprang to my mind first was Peter Pan.

So I went ahead and read the original story of Peter Pan, and was shocked by how disturbing an image it really painted of children. The characterization of children is one of heartless, completely selfish creatures who care not one bit for anyone else. For instance, while Wendy and her brothers are off on the island of NeverLand their parents are at home riven with grief. Yet the children are always certain that their parents will leave a window open for them to fly in through when they want to return. “Off we skip like the most heartless things in the world, which is what children are, but so attractive; and we have an entirely selfish time; and when we have need of special attention we nobly return for it, confident that we shall be embraced rather than smacked.” The sad thing is that in many ways the image paint is pretty correct. Children can be extremely selfish and cruel, taking delight in the worst things. But the shear bloodthirsty cruelty of the Lost Boys and Peter Pan is astounding.

Many other aspects of Peter Pan are disturbing. I could go on and on at length with many of them, but some of them stood out especially strong to me. For instance, Wendy’s role on the island. As soon as Wendy, the only girl, arrive on the island she is drafted to be the mother of the Lost Boys, all of which are about the same age as her. While they boys go off and have fabulous adventures, Wendy spends all day inside cleaning, darning their clothes, and cooking meals (when they are not imaginary). Oh, she wants to go outside and says so many times, but “those rampaging boys of hers gave her so much to do. Really, there were whole weeks when, except perhaps with a stocking in the evening, she was ever above ground.” Also, she (and the rest of womankind) are portrayed as these silly creatures. For instance, the ~11 years old Wendy decides she must have a baby in the family. “Wendy would have a baby, and [Michael] was the littlest, and you know what woman are, and the short and the long of it is that he was hung up in a basket.”

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