April 30th, 2006

A fun problem

I think this problem comes from a computer game, but I heard it second-hand.

Take the following equation: (6 _ 2) _ 8 _ 9 _ 1 = 13. You have to fill in the blanks with standard arithmetic operators (+, -, *, /) to make the equation valid. There are two solutions. One is (6 * 2) - 8 + 9 * 1. What is the other solution?

Hillsong v Scientology

There was an article in The Weekend Australian Magazine on the less than good aspects of the Hillsong church. I don't think there's an online version of the article, and I don't have it with me at the moment, so I summarise from memory. It looked at a few people who've been ostracised by the Church. One is homosexual, one had depression, one started to dislike the commercialisation of the Gospel, and there was another that I've forgotten. Also the article mentioned some numbers of dollars, mostly in the millions, and contrasted them with the Houstons' declared incomes of around $20000.

Update: The second link no longer works, presumably because of the bad publicity that page was generating.

Andrew Bartlett compared Hillsong's views on depression with those of Scientology.

Hillsong: depression is a supernatural spirit of destruction straight from the devil

Scientology: Scientologists believe depression is best alleviated by removing the sufferer's covering of tiny disembodied souls of aliens dispersed by the Galactic Federation leader Xenu.

Bartlett's a little bit harsh with his tongue in cheek comment that suggested that Hillsong is worse, of course, and most of the time, I have no problem at all with the Pentecostals. But it is correct to keep tabs on them, lest they start pushing science backwards as they do in the US.

So(...) this did not work as I had wanted.

Today I sat and stared at C++. Thanks to many hours of this I am now sure that soon I will be calculating my spatially averaged correlators.

Every now and then I read the guestbook that is a hive of all things Minesweeper. It seems that someone's found a better way to quantify the "hardness" of a board. The old technique relied on the assumption that we can estimate this useful value by only looking at the left-clicks needed. It's certain that this method won't work always.

Alas, it seems to me that all it is is fudging. Though it be a step towards a better number, I don't think that we have really neared such an ideal metric.