Tuesday, 30 June 2009

If you stumble

The observant may notice a new icon at the foot of each post. It looks like this:

------->     [Stumble Upon]     <-------

So if you use Stumble Upon, and you like one of my posts, give it a click and vote me up. Thank you.


Talking of voting, GrrlScientist has slipped to second place in the send a blogger to Antarctica contest. If you haven't voted yet, please do. Let's give the trip of a lifetime to a very deserving person.

While we are in cold climes, I can't resist nicking this image and saying 'Caption This':
"...and then you go VROOM up into the sky."
"These solar panels are crap."
"Wow Dad that was one hell of a fart."

Over to you...
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 29 June 2009

The more we study, the closer we get

A couple of weeks back I posted about our bizarre perception of reality regarding the strange Thatcher Effect.

Well, it's not just people who are mentally challenged by this phenomenon. Monkeys are too (I know I that's a picture of chimpanzees, which are apes same as ourselves; so behaving 'like a monkey' goes much further back in time).

Researchers from Emory University, Atlanta showed monkeys normal pictures of other monkeys, either upside down or right way up, until the first monkeys were shit-faced bored of looking at pics of other monkeys.

Then they showed them 'Thatcher effect' doctored images. The image upside down... still bored shitless. Image right way up... hey watzat? The monkeys noticed the difference and suddenly paid attention.

A subtle but insightful result. We all can tell something is wrong with these images, but not say what it is. It's important because troup/mate/sibling/offspring/friend verification is important for social groupings. Much of this is visual, especially in humans, and an individual's face is exactly who they are.

This confronted me a recently when I had to visit my doctor's surgery. I met someone I hadn't seen for years. Recognition was instant; but he called me by name and I could not remember his. I remembered the charity work we used to do, where he used to live, his zippo lighter, the pub where we used to meet up, his stint in the army, where we met up again, where he lives now, how many children he has. But I could not remember his name.

After I had seen my doctor and was leaving he was still there, 'See you later Brian' came from nowhere, and I still can't remember his wife's name.

Ramble over...
Thanks to Cryptozoology Online for the HT and here's the reference:

"Thatcher Effect in Monkeys Demonstrates Conservation of Face Perception across Primates, Ikuma Adachi, Dina P. Chou and Robert R. Hampton", Current Biology (2009) in press (abstract only, unless registered). Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Meat, all part of a balanced diet

Or ... Maybe .. Not...

The original story is here, author Terry Bisson. Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned; and however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson that he learns thoroughly."

Thomas Henry Huxley (1825 – 1895) Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 27 June 2009

The hangover breakfast

Two paracetamol and a mug of strong black coffee.
A full English fried breakfast with extra cholesterol.
Another 3 hours in bed.

Yestereve I found my local shop had begun to stock Theakston's Old Peculier. It's a deceptive tipple, very dark and with a slight sweetness which masks the underlying strength.

Today I have been mainly reduced to pointing and grunts. But I bought a case of the stuff.. Oh go on, I'll have another. Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 26 June 2009

Vote for the Grrl

There's a competition running to send a blogger to Antarctica.

"The Official Quark Blogger will travel with a guest to Antarctica in February 2010 and blog about their experience, chronicling the action, the emotion, and the drama as their polar adventure unfolds."

My vote has gone to GrrlScientist, I think she would do a great job. She's an interesting and observant writer, a good photographer and wildlife friendly. Just what is needed.

Visit her blog, read her entry essay and go vote (OK you have to register but it's painless. Just think of opportunity you are giving to someone).

UPDATE: GrrlScientist is currently in the lead but there's a long time to go yet - VOTE!

As ever, The Digital Cuttlefish is much more eloquent than I. Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 25 June 2009

The roots of music are deep

No, this is not a 'Caption This' contest but an ancient flute.

35,000 years ago one of our ancestors took a hollow wing bone from a vulture, cut holes in it, made a notch at one end and produced the earliest hand-made musical instrument ever found.

At first I wondered what it sounded like, but the BBC has some audio of it being played.

Then I had to think when and why was it played. Was it used in religious rituals or for entertainment, or both? Or for some other reason, and what was the status in society of the musician/craftsman?

I don't know; but it gives me a warm feeling to think that, maybe, our forebears enjoyed a right good knees-up now and again. Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Ladies, increase your breast size without surgery

Just listen to a ringtone.

Any volunteers want to put it to the test? I'll be happy to collect the data.

Via The Raw Feed. Grow into these trousers... >>

There's a new Mr Deity out


Mr. Deity and the Book, Part Deux
Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Thunder and lightning - part II

Glance back to yesterday's post to get the scenario.

So Mr Smokie had counted 7 seconds from seeing the lightning to hearing the thunder, and said it was 7 miles away.

Something told me this was wrong, a gut feeling if you like, and then I remembered somewhere I know well. It has an echo! The only place the echo could come from is a row of terraced houses a couple of hundred yards away (there is nothing else, just open fields), but the echo is loud and distinct. Clap hands and about a second later it's repeated back to you. Remembering that the sound has to travel maybe two hundred yards, bounce, and return back; then a crude estimate of the speed of sound might be 400 yards in a second. This slowly percolated into my brain.

But then, due to alcohol induced delirium joining in with the general early-evening banter around the bar, it took ages for these thoughts and numbers to congeal...

1760 yards to the mile (call it 1800), divide by 400 yards per second gives about 4½ seconds per mile. Mr Smokie was way wrong - 400 yards per second times 7 seconds is 2800 yards. Just over a mile and a half. That was eventually my guesstimate. Of course by this time Mr Smokie had buggered off and my taxi was due. So I went home and then just had to look it up.

The speed of sound in air? Can vary from about 330 to 340 meters per second and, as RBH pointed out, it depends on pressure, temperature and (I'd never have thought this) humidity; which I guess changes the overall density of the air by adding water vapour.

For simplicity lets say air pressure is normal, it's a bit above 0°C and not damp. The speed of sound works out to be 333.33 meters per second. You may guess where I'm going, that's 3 seconds per 1000 meters. Or 3 seconds per kilometer.

Mr Smokie counted 7 seconds, multiply by 333.33 meters per second gives you 2333.33 meters or 2.3 kilometers, give or take a few yards.

That's 1.45 miles.

Wahhh! Across the valley that's about where I liv.. Oh, other direction.
And RBH was right:
5s x 333m/s = 1666m = 1.035mi
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 22 June 2009

Thunderstorms - how near is the lightning?

There was a thunderstorm this tea-time. I was safely sat at the bar but one of the crew had gone outside for a fag (I just gnawed on my 'chomper') when there was a loud boom of thunder.

Mr Smokie came back in. "That's 7 miles away is that" says he, "count t'seconds after t'lightnin' an' that's how many miles". Or words to that effect. I think there was richer linguistic use of the term 'fuck' (find out more here).

Now; I remember counting from the lightning when I was a kid but, sat in the bar tonight, I couldn't remember just what relationship was. Till I worked it out.

Any answers? Grow into these trousers... >>

A question for nosey

What is a Bercow?

That's this nosey. Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Almost forgot, happy solstice

Stonehenge Free Festival, June 1984. I was there! See the green tent next to the 20th blue Mini from the left. That's us!
Credit Andy Worthington. Grow into these trousers... >>

A little more on LRO and LCROSS

Regulars will know I got my name emblazoned across the LRO on a CD (or a DVD whatever) riding piggy-back on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). It's no big deal, but it is good fun (or what passes for fun chez Holroyd, at least it was free).

So here's a quick look at what the mission is about.

NASA has resolved to return to the Moon. With manned peopled crewed missions. The ultimate aim being to establish a permanent colony there. This is a good thing. Should we ever plan a trip to Mars or beyond, the experience of building and maintaining a lunar colony will be crucial.

It's also a very challenging thing. Where to land, where to build a colony? With no protective atmosphere, the Moon receives the full force of the Sun's radiation across the entire spectrum. Long term excursions out in the sunlight are very hazardous, but move into shadow and the Sun is gone. However the Moon rotates once a month, so shadows change as the Sun crosses the sky. In many areas you would have to find a cave (unlikely), or dig a hole to live in, to avoid the Sun.

So the search is on! Where on the Moon is there permanent shadow? By analogy with the Earth, we know that at the poles the amount of sunlight hitting the surface is reduced (or stretched over a bigger area) and shadows are long.

Enter the LRO. With a one year primary mission and a suite of instruments, including a high-res camera and a useless disc with names on it, LRO will enter a low polar orbit and map the surface. From 50km! That's low, the best image resolution will be about 1m which is enough to detect previous landing sites. Google Moon will need a makeover.

But just pause for thought. What does the surface of the Moon have in abundance? Craters! Could a crater near the North or South pole be deep enough to provide permanent shade. The answer is definitely yes, lots of them. The real question is which one to choose. Find a good one for instance, and you are in permanent shadow on the crater floor but raising your solar panels 20m or so, they could catch (just about) permanent sunshine (and then your iPod works 24/7).

What else is missing from this picture? There is a long cherished dream valid scientific hypothesis that comets may have carried water to both the fledgling Earth and Moon billions of years ago. Somewhere, under the floor of some craters, there could be ice on the Moon. Sitting buried for aeons till some enterprising ape comes to tap it.

Given the transport costs of supplies to a lunar colony, having a local water reserve is priceless. A liter of water is a kilogram mass, and even if you recycle sweat and urine there will be losses. Better still, if you have water and your iPod's still working, you can use electricity to split good old H2O into oxygen and hydrogen. You can then use the hydrogen as a fuel by burning it in oxygen to make water! Bingo, transportable fuel. Otherwise I suppose you could just breathe the oxygen, again reducing the transport cost from Earth.

Enter LCROSS, the Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite. Forget looking from a distance like LRO, LCROSS will plant a great big smackeroo on the Moon. Whilst the LRO detached from the upper stage of the rocket ~45mins after launch (and is now on it's way to the Moon) LCROSS remains attached and the two are now in a wide Earth orbit. The spent rocket stage is called Centaur, remember this.

LCROSS and Centaur will spend a few weeks in a strange, Earth/Moon looping, orbit, picking up some momentum and making sure Centaur's fuel tanks are fully vented (so as not to confuse future observations). The craft will re-orientate itself so that Centaur is leading (unlike the picture: the little black cube on the left is LCROSS, the brown and white thing is Centaur) and LCROSS will give the push to send them both Moonwards irrevocably. Not to caress but to hit. The ultimate guided missile.

Shortly before impact LCROSS will separate from Centaur. The target (I believe, I'm writing from memory) is a crater near the southern pole, who's floor is in permanent shadow. Centaur will hit the crater floor throwing up a plume of ejected material, some of which will be the original Moon, some may be from whatever formed the crater, and some scum from the vapourised Centaur. 4mins later LCROSS will follow Centaur down, instruments blazing, into the dust plume and right down to the surface. Like a sperm whale and a bowl of petunias they wont get much time to think about it.

Telescopes worldwide will be watching, as will the LRO. Will there be evidence of water? Let's see...

And that's why I get so hyper about space missions. Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"There is a philosophy that says that if something is unobservable -- unobservable in principle -- it is not part of science. If there is no way to falsify or confirm a hypothesis, it belongs to the realm of metaphysical speculation, together with astrology and spiritualism. By that standard, most of the universe has no scientific reality -- it's just a figment of our imaginations."

Leonard Susskind (1940 - )

From - The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics (2008)
I really want to read this book. More Susskind coming soon for those who love physics and maths. Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Cry Baby

Janis, I love you.

Janis Joplin - Cry Baby (live in toronto 1970)
Grow into these trousers... >>


Grateful Dead - Truckin'
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 19 June 2009

Why do I get so hyper about space missions?

You may ask, and I will tell you.

Firstly, I'm a pyrotechnomaniac.

Secondly, things like this:

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Thirdly: Wow man! This is good hash %) Grow into these trousers... >>

LRO/LCROSS: launch video from NASA

The Atlas V is so elegant. But it's slender beauty belies the awesome power of this rocket. It's about 12.5 ft wide, 189 ft high, weighs 1,205,200 lb and develops 860,200 lbs of thrust (for the non-Americans that's 3.8 m by 58 m, 546,700 kg and 4 MN (Mega Newtons)).

But just watch this baby fly:
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter - launch delayed?

Maybe. By a bleedin' thunderstorm. Fuck golf, this is important. They have three 'windows' very close together 5:12, 5:22, and 5:32pm EDT.

I'm ready, got all my digits packed.
And glued to NASA TV...

T minus 4mins and holding. 5:12 is gone.
Next window is 5:22 EDT 5:32 EDT.
Weather just gone green 5:18 EDT. Now on definite go for 5:32 EDT.
Systems go. Countdown resumed 5:28 EDT.

LAUNCH 5:32 EDT. :):):)

Grow into these trousers... >>

I'm going to the moon!

After all these years, I'm finally going to the Moon.

Yup, it's true. I lost my old ticket (see my Blog header) but last year I got a new one.

OK it's only my name which is going to the Moon, on a CD with a million other signatories, but that's enough. Dream fulfilled.

Right now the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) are poised atop an Atlas V rocket at Cape Canaveral.

Launch is set for 10pm UK time (5pm EDT) - wish me luck folks! Grow into these trousers... >>

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

The future of music ...

... is being well looked after.

Sarah Jarosz, Sam Grisman, Alex Hargreaves live at OSMF 2008

Go visit Astropixie for the low down, and all the links I'm too lazy to post at the moment. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Mosh pit parrot

Love and best wishes to GrrlScientist for this link.

Grow into these trousers... >>

My new trousers are ready for delivery

Just what I need. Plenty growing room...
Via metro.co.uk Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 15 June 2009

Cropredy Festival - Yay!

Duncanr at teh Madhatters, posted this very pleasant track. It's by Celtic Woman, an ensemble I was previously unaware of.

For some reason I was reminded of this (with the great Sandy Denny)...

Crazy Man Michael - Fairport Convention [Audio]

And then thought AHRRRG!!! Cropredy Festival. Tickets are on sale and the line-up looks, interesting. Check it out, among many others are...

Thu 13th Aug
Ken Nicol & Phil Cool (the Phil Cool? - COOL!)
Buzzcocks (Ever Fallen in Love?)
Steve Winwood (still Trafficing?)

Fri 14th Aug
Ade Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds (Vyvyan?)
Richard Thompson (Bright Lights Tonight on that stage)

Sat 15th Aug
Richard Digance (no problem, he's a regular Cropredyer)
Dreadzone (John Peel has a lot to answer for)
Nik Kershaw (who?)
Ralph McTell (anything but Streets of London!)
and of course
Fairport Convention ('coz it's their party)

My itinerary is tight in August (mucho playing myself) but I think I'm free that weekend. Just got to check with the band diary and work. I'm aiming to go. It's a great, small, friendly festival and well worth a visit.

If anyone wants to meet up I'll be in the Brasenose Arms or the Red Lion (or both, but time dependent) on the Saturday afternoon (and/or Sunday).

Below the belt is a taste of Fairport/Cropredy from 2007

"Matty Groves" - Fairport Convention Cropredy 2007 (w/Lego)

Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Red Dwarf: Series 6 -Episode 1

Red Dwarf VI "Psirens" (Part 1 of 3)

Red Dwarf VI "Psirens" (Part 2 of 3)

Red Dwarf VI "Psirens" (Part 3 of 3)

Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"[Those] who have an excessive faith in their theories or in their ideas are not only poorly disposed to make discoveries, but they also make very poor observations."

Claude Bernard (1813-78)
An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine, 1865. Grow into these trousers... >>

Saturday, 13 June 2009

And big daddy fly said...

Via PZ Myers. Grow into these trousers... >>

Music - John Martyn - May You Never

I 'may' have posted this track before but nice music is always good.

John Martyn with Kathy Mattea - May You Never
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 12 June 2009

The solution to yesterday's teaser

Skip back to yesterday if you missed it.

How old are Jane's kids? OK...
Jane tells John "the product of their ages is 36"

How many different ways can you multiply three whole numbers together to get 36? Let's try:
1 x 1 x 36 = 36
1 x 2 x 18 = 36
1 x 3 x 12 = 36
1 x 4 x 9 = 36
1 x 6 x 6 = 36
2 x 2 x 9 = 36
2 x 3 x 6 = 36
3 x 3 x 4 = 36
Jane says to John that "the sum of their ages is the same as your house number."

We don't know where John lives but let's add up the possibilities anyway:
1 + 1 + 36 = 38
1 + 2 + 18 = 21
1 + 3 + 12 = 16
1 + 4 + 9 = 14
1 + 6 + 6 = 13
2 + 2 + 9 = 13
2 + 3 + 6 = 11
3 + 3 + 4 = 10
I hope John would know his own house number, but he says he still can't work out the kids' ages. How can this be?

Well, if John lived at number 36, 21, 16, 14, 11 or 10 he would have worked it out by now. There's only one sum for each where the ages multiply up to 36. ie if John lived at No. 14 he would know Jane's children were aged 1, 4 and 9.

So John must live at number 13.

We now have two possibilities: 1, 6 and 6 or 2, 2, and 9.

Jane tells him that "The oldest one has red hair." So the children can't be aged 1, 6 and 6 or there would be two oldest.

So Jane's children are aged 2, 2, and 9.

Hope I didn't cause too many headaches :)

The problem for next week is to come up with a solution to the world's financial crisis so I can take early retirement this year with no loss of income. Should be easy after this warm up.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A new chemical element is recognised

The periodic table grows by one to 112, to the bane of chemistry and physics students around the world.

From New Scientist:
For years, the space next to [Roentgenium at position 111] has been unceremoniously occupied by the letters Uub, which stand for ununbium, the Latin word for 112 that has stood as a placeholder.
That place is now filled, all it needs is a name. How about onehundredweightium? Grow into these trousers... >>

Another brain teaser

I enjoyed the maths problem last week, it's good to keep practising these skills. Here's another little teaser to confuse and amuse.
Two friends meet and part of their conversation goes like this:

John: "I can't remember how old your three children are Jane."
Jane: "Well, the product of their ages is 36."

John: "I still can't think what their ages are."
Jane: "The sum of their ages is the same as your house number."

John: "I'm still not sure"
Jane: "The oldest one has red hair."

John: "Ah, of course. Now I know."

How old are Jane's children?
Answer tomorrow. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Mr Deity - season 3 begins

Its been well over a year since the end of season 2, but the universe is in safe hands again. At least you can see where the big guy is coming from.

If you've never seen Mr Deity before dive below the belt and start with No 1, otherwise...

Mr. Deity and the Virgin (Episode One, Season Three)

Season 1
1.   "Mr. Deity and the Evil"
2.   "Mr. Deity and the Really Big Favor"
3.   "Mr. Deity and the Light"
4.   "Mr. Deity and the Messages"
5.   "Mr. Deity and Lucifer"
6.   "Mr. Deity Super Bowl Extra: The Press Conf."
7.   "Mr. Deity and the Tour de Hell"
8.   "Mr. Deity and the Top Ten"
9.   "Mr. Deity and the Book"
10. "Mr. Deity and the Seed"


Season 2
1.   "Mr. Deity and the Intel"

The rest of S2 seems to have evaporated off the intertubes. I doubt this is the doing Mr Deity & Co but down to the wankers at Crackle.com (the lousiest online video site ever!). It seems S2 may be available through iTunes but I don't i. It's worth seeing even though "Mr. Deity and the Intel" is the worst episode I remember them making.

2.   "Mr. Deity and the Meaning Game"
3.   "Mr. Deity and the Voicemail"
4.   "Mr. Deity and the Notes"
5.   "Mr. Deity and the Really Cheap Meal"
6.   "Mr. Deity and the Murder"
7.   "Mr. Deity and the Limbo"
8.   "Mr. Deity and the Good"
9.   "Mr. Deity and the Help Meet"
10. "Mr Deity and the Dress Rehearsal"


Season 3

1.   Mr. Deity and the Virgin

Now I'm itching for the rest.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 8 June 2009

Our bizarre perception of reality

I used to have a page, torn from a magazine, showing a girl's face upside down (no smirking!). She looked really attractive till you turned the page the right way up. I always found it very disturbing and something which I could use to catch other people unawares (ie mindfuck).

It's called the Thatcher Effect, after some grocer's daughter.

Here's a great demo, without Thatcher.

Celebrities Look Better Upside down

And here's another to help explain it.

Head spin trick
Grow into these trousers... >>

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Red Dwarf: Series 5 -Episode 6

Enter the despair squid and it's

Game Over

Red Dwarf V "Back to Reality" (Part 1 of 3)

No it can't be, but it is, OMG. Duane Dibbley...
I'll have to put this below the belt.

Red Dwarf V "Back to Reality" (Part 2 of 3)

Red Dwarf V "Back to Reality" (Part 3 of 3)
Grow into these trousers... >>

A thought for a Sunday

"I have learnt silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet strange, I am ungrateful to these teachers."

Khalil Gibran (1883 – 1931)
Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer. Grow into these trousers... >>

The defense of the realm

Over at the Madhats, duncanr has a moving post about a Scots piper playing the men ashore during the Normandy landings, 65 years ago.

But even during those dark times there was resourcefulness and heroism within these shores, as is retold in this remarkable footage.

Dad's Army - The Movie (playlist link)

For those who prefer their YouTube in chunks, there's a list of the links below the belt.

Dads Army The Movie ( 1 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 2 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 3 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 4 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 5 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 6 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 7 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 8 of 9)
Dads Army The Movie ( 9 of 9)
Grow into these trousers... >>

Friday, 5 June 2009

Great percussion - for a guitarist

Tommy Emmanuel, I thinks it's called 'Mombasa'.

Grow into these trousers... >>

The solution to yesterday's math problem

Just to put yorksnbeans out of her misery...

Have a look back at the question if you missed it.

For starters let's call the number of gold coins they find p for purse, and let the wealth of each of the three merchants be x, y and z gold coins.

So from the problem we're told
x + p = 2(y + z)
y + p = 3(x + z)
z + p = 5(x + y)
and we have to find values which satisfy all three of those equations.

First write those sums in terms of the purse
p = 2y + 2z - x         --- (1)
p = 3x + 3z - y         --- (2)
p = 5x + 5y - z         --- (3)

Let's get rid of the purse for now by taking (3) minus (2)
p - p = 5x - 3x + 5y + y - z - 3z
add up the like terms
2x + 6y - 4z = 0
and divide by 2 for simplicity
x + 3y - 2z = 0         --- (A)

Do the same again with (3) minus (1)
p - p = 5x + x + 5y - 2y - z - 2z
6x + 3y - 3z = 0
This time divide by 3 to make it simpler
2x + y - z = 0         --- (B)

Now, 2 times (B) minus (A) gives
4x + 2y - 2z - x - 3y + 2z = 0
3x - y = 0
y = 3x         --- (C)
and 3 times (B) minus (A) gives
6x + 3y - 3z -x -3y + 2z = 0
5x - z = 0
z = 5x         --- (D)

Gold coins come in whole numbers (usually), the smallest whole number is 1.

Looking at (C) and (D) tells us that x has the least gold, so let x = 1. Then (C) and (D) give values for y and z, and plugging those values into (1), (2) or (3) gives us the purse. Result!
x = 1
y = 3
z = 5
p = 15
Of course x could be any whole number, there is no unique solution, ie:

Great fun! Thanks to Mr P at the bar for setting it. I'll look out for more little posers like this, it keeps the grey cells active.
Grow into these trousers... >>

Thursday, 4 June 2009

A math problem

The things I get asked in the pub!
"Oh - Andy, can you help me with this little problem? I've tried but I got stuck. It's from the Indian mathematician Mahavira, from about 900AD."
Seriously, I was asked this whilst sat at the bar. I like this place!
Three traveling merchants find a purse full of gold coins on the road.

The first merchant says “If I had the purse, I would have twice as much money as you two put together.”

The second says “If I had it, I would have three times as much as both of you put together.”

The third merchant says “If I had it, I would have five times as much as you both put together.

How much did each merchant have and how much was in the purse?
It took me a side of A4 to get the answer but I'm sure it can be done more succinctly... anyone?

Please show your workings.
I'll post my solution tomorrow. Grow into these trousers... >>

Talking of movies...

Here's another one I want to see:

Read on:
QDOS to the awesome Savage Chickens. Grow into these trousers... >>

Star Trek

Saw the new movie last night and must say - WOW!

The re-casting of such iconic characters as Kirk, Spock, Bones, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekov is very well done. There's good character development and lots of action. Best of all, it's funny.

If you are in any way a Trek fan go see it. If you're not a Trekkie try it anyway, you may be converted. I'll give it 9/10. Grow into these trousers... >>

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A most amazing optical illusion

Look directly at the falling ball and it falls straight down.

Look off to one side and it falls to the left.

You don't believe me do you? See it here. Grow into these trousers... >>

Play safe folks

Here's a couple of educational videos:

Durex Get it On Viral

And the best advert ever:

Sandwich - Durex Ad
Grow into these trousers... >>

Monday, 1 June 2009

In the name of the father, the son, into the hole he goes

Big LOLs.

Dave Allen - Introduction To Christianity

Via Atheist Media Blog. Grow into these trousers... >>