Monthly Archives: June 2015

Coffee Wars – The Spanner of Death

spannerI always knew the coffee machine would fight back.

Its main weapon is the spanner of death. There is no way past it. It has to be removed before coffee is to be had.

Various techniques sometimes work (but usually do not). They include:

  •  Turn it off, wait, turn it on again, and try to trick it by ordering it to make a cup of coffee with ground coffee, even though you have put no ground coffee in the ground coffee gurgle hole. Ha!
  •  Turn it off, wait, turn it on again, and then exhaust it by ordering it to produce hot water or steam through the wandy thing. Take that!
  •  Whack it sharply on the top right hand side, preferably without any warning:

A dog, a coffee machine, a walnut tree Continue reading

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Known Unknowns

Adelaide hillsSo, I have sold the matrimonial home in Adelaide, with a leisurely settlement date, and it is time to find somewhere else to live.

Some things are knowns. I do not need to go to an office in town every day; most of my work can be done anywhere with a decent internet connection and telephone line, or involves getting on an aeroplane. I do not want to be shut in a small box in town. But neither do I want to go so far away that I never get to see the teenagers.

Can’t go west, that is all sea. Can’t go north, obviously. So it is the hills to the east or south. There are 2 good roads, the Freeway which goes to Mount Barker to the east, and the Expressway that goes to McLaren Vale in the south.

I have started looking, and there are some houses with lovely views. I think I would find a view cheering. Bizarrely, it seems that properties with 50 acres or so Continue reading

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Sweet impossibility

My last post might have sounded a bit down computers. I didn’t mean it that way. Computers are wonderful in maths, particularly in the area of iteration. It would be easy to get the real solution of the orange sweet problem (how many sweets were there in the bag?) by writing some code, but it can be more easily demonstrated using a spreadsheet. See sweets.

There must be at least six sweets in the bag, because Continue reading


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Sweet ignorance

The children in the UK have been moaning about an exam question, which was as follows:

There are n sweets in a bag. 6 of the sweets are orange. The rest of the sweets are yellow.

Hannah takes a random sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet.

Hannah then takes at random another sweet from the bag. She eats the sweet.

The probability that Hannah eats two orange sweets is 1/3.

Show that n² – n – 90 = 0.

equationsThe question isn’t hard. You just take the odds of the first sweet being orange, and then multiply that by the odds of the second sweet being orange, and that is 1 in 3. It is 3 lines of calculation.

But what I think might be quite hard is doing it if you don’t have a piece of paper, but merely a computer. I guess Continue reading

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Going, going…

toop 90It looks like the house is about to go.

A shame. I like it. But, on reflection, I really do not want to take on the mortgage that I would have to raise in order to buy out my wife. Ex-wife, I should say. The divorce order was the saddest piece of paper I have ever seen.

I will see if I can find somewhere in the hills to go and live.


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