Puzzling maths puzzles …


On a roll here. Two posts in one day, whatever next?

This one is directly attributable to Facebook. You often get people posting maths puzzles on Facebook. The kind of thingpuzzle where you get some equations and you have to work out how they get the answers. It is basic Algebra. I love reading these posts, working out the correct answer and then trying to explain to people about the ‘mathematical order of operation’. This one follows the usual pattern but is a little different. Initially, it is easy to work out what the Snowflake image is worth, it must have a value of 10 for the first equation to work. From that deduction the cane must have a value of 5 with the wine glasses having a value of 2. Easy. Then you have to work out the last equation and here, the composer has added a twist by putting a multiplication sign in the equation. This is where the order of operation comes in. From my school days, it was always drummed into me that multiplication comes before addition, unless the addition is held within parenthesis.

Without looking carefully people will come up with the answer 70, 17 or 25. However, there is another twist here. In the last equation there is an image of a single wine glass. I did not see this at first and came up with 25 :- 10 x 2 = 20 + 5 = 25. But this puzzle has fooled many people. The answer a large number have come up with is 15. Many people have made the assumption that the image of the single glass has the value of 1. For me, this is an unsafe assumption. There is no way of safely giving the value of 1 to the single glass.  It can have any value except 10, 5 or 2. There is nothing to stop the single glass having the value of 99 for example which would give the last equation the result of 995. It fooled me at first look, but in actual fact, with the information given, a solution cannot be found.

Small and strange …


Let me get something out of the way. The title of this post is not a case of self deprecation. No, I’m talking about the world and how is connected by the internet.

A bit of background here. I was doing a search on eBay, for something I wanted to buy. I was not having much luck so I thought I would widen the search to pick up other online stores. I add my criteria into a web-search optimiser that I’m beta-testing and clicked on the ‘Go’ button. The search optimiser is similar to Windows 10 Cortana, and uses all the available search engines such as Bing, Google etc to maximise the search area. Anyway back to the main story. It only took a few seconds before the results were starting to show and some of them were not what I was expecting at all. I found the item I wanted and have ordered it, but that is not what is interesting here. There was about twenty or so links on each results page and I think it was on page four that the “interesting” thing happened I was reading the link descriptions when I spotted a name of a person I thought I knew from school. The link was to a Facebook(FB) page. I don’t click on FB links as they are often not genuine so I opened FB on my tablet and enter the persons name. When FB opened I was amazed at the face that was staring  back at me. Apart from a few grey hairs and the odd forehead line, the person was exactly how I was sure I remembered them. I ‘ummed’ and ‘arrghed’ for a couple of days before biting the bullet last night and sending them a message. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in contact after all these years as I’ve not had a lot of luck with friends from my past. Within a couple of minutes the message was replied to and it was who I thought it was. We messaged back and forth for a good half hour talking about each other and the past, and are now friends on FB.

Now I come to the “Small and strange” part. I had a look through their photo’s and friends list (as you do) and was amazed that (bear with me here) some their friends had friends who were friends of mine! Not just FB friends, but actual real friends. I can never get my head around the fact that a local (real) friend is a friend of a friends friend, if that makes sense. It’s a bit like when I discovered that the son of my manager when I was at work, supports by youngest son with one of his activities. Really does make the world feel “Small and strange…”

Friends … real friends??


This is a bit of a rhetorical question I suppose, but are your FaceBook friends real? It is something I have started to think about recently. In fact as recently as 1 hour ago!

About a year ago, I came across someone I have known or been known to, for about 60 years. This person was a good friend of my parents and her daughter was a friend of mine. When we moved house in 1966 all contact was lost and it was through FaceBook that I was able to get back in contact again. We have chatted (the mother and me) on a number of occasions and it was good. However! The daughter seems to have dropped me from her friends list and I don’t know why. It has happened just recently, possibly in the last couple of weeks. It is this that makes me question the reality (if that’s the correct word) of FaceBook friends. The thing is though, I have friends from work, who are FB friends who still ‘appear’ to be friends. In fact, I have been chatting to two of them tonight. Now they may just be humouring me, I would not like to speculate on that, but from what they were saying, I get the impression that we are still friends.

Now, saying all that, I have myself just ‘unfriended’ (what a stupid word) a couple of people that I used to work with. They have not responded to any messages or posts and so I get the feeling that I’m just a number in their ‘friends’ list. I don’t want to be a number. Is that wrong?

Finding old friends …


I’m tempted to give up on Facebook in some instances.

Over the years, I have lost contact with people I know. Sometime it’s because one of us moved house or job. Sometimes just drifting apart. None of my friends and colleagues from my first and second job are still in contact. These are people that I’ve probably not seen for twenty-five years and more, so it’s little wonder that I’ve lost contact. With todays connected world, it is some easier to stay in contact with people.

Now this is where my issue with Facebook comes in. I suddenly think, “… it would be nice to get back in touch with so and so again …” and of course I naturally assume that they will be on Facebook. So the search begins. Male friends are easier to look for as they tend, for the most part to keep their surname. You type the name you remember in the search box and hit enter. You decide to look at all the listed names, not just the ‘top ones’ that Facebook deems useful. You scroll down the list looking for anything familiar without much luck.

Then, you spot someone! They look about the right age and given the length of passing time, they look like you would expect them to look. You click on their name and wait with fingers crossed.Is it the right person? You check out what personal details they have shared, and it’s beginning to look like you have struck gold! A quick look down the photos and you begin to get more and more convinced that this is the right person. After all these years. I’ll send them a message.

“Hello! Did you used to work at {blah bah} back in the early 1970’s?”

You now sit back and wait for them to reply. Might take a day or two, but your hopes are high. A week goes by and nothing. I’ll check their profile again. It is then that you realise, that the last post they have made was back in 2009! They’re no longer using Facebook. Now you begin to wonder if you have got the wrong person after all. Then finally it starts to creep into your head, that this person may no longer be alive! That is the thought that suddenly deflates you.

This has happened to me on three occasions now and whilst (am I the only one that still uses that word?) I don’t get depressed about it, I do end up feeling a little down. I resolve to check out the posts before waltz off trying to contact them. Maybe next time!

(Posted by email, using ZoHo Mail)

An odd couple of weeks


My sister has been in hospital for just over two with a very serious condition, which I won’t go into on here. Suffice to say, she was in a critical state and after the first night, we were told to ‘hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst’. Having special needs and learning difficulties has not helped the matter. However, she has fought and pulled through and has been waiting to go home since Thursday. The thing that has been really useful, has been Facebook. Or more accurately, Facebook Messenger. One of the family set up a group message, which we all subscribed to, and we have been using this as communication medium. It was far easier to message the whole group through this system, than to telephone or text each individual. It goes to show, that for all its faults, social media does have some powerful and useful tools.

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This blog has recently had a huge upturn. My efforts usually rewarded with the occasionally, random visitor who more often than not has a quick glance and moves on. However, I was reading a post from one of my followers and I read about a weekly photo challenge on The Daily Post blog. Basically, they provide a theme, and you post a photo on your own blog and ‘ping-back’ to the particular blog page on The Daily Post.

I thought that I had nothing to lose, so I gave it a try last week. I was amazed at how many visitors and like I received for a single picture and a few comments. So amazed in fact, that I posted again this week increasing my like and visitor count yet again. By the end of yesterday, I was getting quite giddy at the number of hits I had been getting. I may sound a little sad, but going from the occasional visitor to the numbers I have been getting makes this post a little pointless.

I wonder now, how many visitors this post will attract ……

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I am still toying with the idea of changing the theme of this blog, but am struggling to select a suitable (my opinion) theme, from the many free themes on offer.

Now I have mentioned this before, but am still interested in what application people use to write their blogs with. I use Word 2013, which comes with a ‘blog post’ template. I type up, proof read and format, including images, before publishing to WordPress as a draft post. I then go into the WordPress editor, add tags (does not seem to work properly if I embed them) and preview, before making any final adjustments and publishing. It works well for me, as I am a seasoned user of Microsoft Word.

So now what ….


     Well it’s been over a month since my last post, and I really think I need to put ‘fingers to keyboard’ if you’ll excuse the paraphrase. I suppose my last posting was more of a rant than anything else, but I still cannot get over the price of postage from Hong Kong. I have had another ‘bargain’ from the web. I like writing with a fountain pen. I have a couple of Parker pens, you know, the ones with the arrow pocket clip, but I wanted one that used real ink. I bought one from eBay (not mention the price, but it was cheap) and decided that I wanted blue/black ink. It reminded me of my schooldays. A quick trip at lunchtime to that high street stationers with the common English name, left me lost for words. Well words that can be said in polite company anyway !! A standard bottle of Quink ink (only the best) came in at a staggering £7.98. Even their own brand was only 49p cheaper. I could hear the internet calling me.  I now have a bottle of the said blue/black ink, at the more reasonable price of  £3.97.

     Anyone sick of Comic Relief yet? I don’t have a problem with the idea behind the on going project of Comic Relief. No, the problem I have, is the celebrity hijacking of the concept. The clue is in the title …. Comic !!!! I think it should be, like they keep saying on the TV, ‘Do something funny for money"’, which is a brilliant tagline. So why do we see, every week, on the CR dancing program, a jumped up bunch of kids called One Direction. It appears that these nonentities have done a video,in Africa, where they visit various places, and stand around looking shocked and distraught at the poverty and desolation, before flying back to the UK, probably business class, to earn another £100k peddling their drivel that passes for music. I say, take the money that is spent on that trip, and use that to help the needy in Africa. If the BBC think that the tearful expressions on some  overpaid ‘boy band’ is likely to make me put my hand in my pocket …….

Here endeth the second rant !

    What else has pissed me off ?? Maybe for another day then.

     I would like to revisit, part of the first line of this post “….it’s been over a month since my last post….”. I am sat here, whiskey to the left of my keyboard, thinking, why is this? The conclusion I have come to is one of three things: inspiration, motivation and laziness! I could also add ‘timing’, but that is for another day. Basically, writing wise, I’m lazy. I sit at the computer, every night, from around 10pm and what do I do? I go on Facebook or Twitter. I read online newspapers. I read other peoples blogs. What I should be doing is writing!!! But then the motivation kicks in. “What is the point?” I will say to myself. “Very few people read my stuff!” So with no motivation, any inspiration I may have, get trampled before I start. I recently subscribed to a magazine dedicated to writing. I, even more recently, cancelled that subscription. It did nothing for me. No motivation, no inspiration, nothing. I have to say, my creative spirit is wavering at the moment.

     Now, on a completely different track …… I have started knitting again! I bet that shook you! I have been a knitter for about 45 years. Maybe a little longer. I started, when I became fascinated with knitted baby clothes, and their prices. My mother told me it was ten times cheaper to knit a matinee coat (remember them anyone??) than to buy one. So she showed me how to start and some very very basic stiches, and off I went. About a week later I showed off with a pair of blue, double knit mittens. Granted, they were different sizes, with no way of actually making them stay on baby’s hand (no ribbon to tie them on with, as I did learn how to make a hole until the following week) but still it was a great achievement.

     Since then, I have knitted many baby clothes, a large angora bat-wing jumper, a beautiful cable stitched Shetland cardigan and many more things. And now I have started again. It is all the fault of a new weekly magazine that has two balls of wool on the cover. I’m into magazine 6, but I think it will be the last one. At £4.50 a week it has become too expensive, but it has been good to revitalise an interest, that I was quite good at.

     Well, that’s it for now, but I hope to start blogging a bit more often from now.