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Friday Afternoon Scrachpad

Practice What Your Preach

Today I saw a guy in a "Rage Against The Machine" t-shirt angrily slapping the side of an ATM.

Venomous Verdict

Dear Peoples of Teh IntarWeb: you can stop sending me this quotation for inclusion in the Bad Review Revue:

"If it had been called V for Vasectomy I could scarcely have found it a less enjoyable experience." -- Jonathan Ross, BBC
Though I appreciate everyone who did.

Carefree Throws

I love that there's a Basketball team called The Cavaliers. I like to imagine their courtside huddles go like this:

Coach: Okay, guys: there's only forty-three seconds left on the clock and we're down by five. We're going to need some major hustle to win this.

First player: Oh, it's always "win, win, win" with you. There's more more important things than winning, you know.

Second player: Seriously. It's just a game, coach -- chill out, already.

The Doctor Is Back In

Someone must be sending around the link to my Dumbass M.D. post, because I've recently received a spate of email from folks begging for the answer.

Well, I kept you in suspense for two and a half years ... I guess that's long enough.

Go read the puzzle, try and figure it out, and, if you get stumped, highlight the following paragraph:

Cut all three pills exactly in half, taking care to keep the two groups of halves separate. Take another Pill A, cut it in half, and add one half to each of the groups. Each group now contains two Pill B halves and two Pill A half. Take one group of halves today, the other group tomorrow.

Three Games

  • flOw: Hypnotic little game, beautifully made. Reminiscent of the forthcoming Spore. Browser-based flash.
  • Dumb: The Game: Forty-four puzzles to solve, ranging from laughably easy to I-don't-even-know-where-to-begin difficult. Browser-based php.
  • Truck Dismount: Sadistic & addictive. Download.

All via Jay Is Games.

Dollars & Scents

Sean "Diddy" Combs has come out with a new scent called Unforgivable.

As The Queen will attest, I too have produced some unforgivable fragrances in my time -- especially after jambalaya night -- but I never once thought to bottle and sell 'em for $25 an ounce. I guess that's the difference between me and Mr. Combs. Well, that and his impressive collection of risible nicknames.

Posted on March 17, 2006 to Scratchpad


Haha, first post!

I too love that puzzle, took me a good hour or so to get it right the first time though.

Posted by: Pug on March 17, 2006 11:38 PM

Great find with the Dumb: The game. It's soooo addicting..

Posted by: Anonymous on March 18, 2006 12:35 AM

Your Spore link needs some fixin'.

Posted by: Mark on March 18, 2006 6:20 AM

<irritating pharma geek> I know it's not the point, and I know I'll sound like an alarmist, but I think I should mention that modern day pills should not be cut in half without checking with your doctor or pharmacist.
In the old days, uncoated pills could be safely cut in half, but pill technology is advancing at prodigious rates, and you can't always tell from looking if it's safe to split them.

Some pills have layers,or coatings, and breaking them open could cause the drugs to come out of the pills at the wrong rate. Now, if we're talking over the counter stuff, you're probably safe. But with prescription drugs, cutting them could lead to a surge in the blood-levels of your drug, which could be quite dangerous. Ask your pharmacist. They're paid to answer these kinds of questions, and they never charge you for it.
</irritating pharma geek>
Oh, and great puzzle!

Posted by: The Fishmonger on March 18, 2006 7:20 AM

From the comment "highlight the following paragraph" I think you meant to have that in white text so it wouldn't show, avoid spoilers, etc. But in my browser (Firefox) it shows as standard text.

Posted by: Mazlynn on March 18, 2006 9:49 AM

Ok, that's odd. The text shows up with the proper formatting if I click through so this is on its own page, but not on the main front page.

Posted by: Mazlynn on March 18, 2006 9:50 AM

My high school football team, the Princess Anne Cavaliers, went 0-10 in my senior year.

I'm bummed that I never thought to use that joke.

Could that be a world record (22 years) for a "THAT'S what I should have said!" moment?

Posted by: Stephen Glenn on March 18, 2006 11:15 AM

Well, duh. Shake another pill out of each bottle, take them, then take the 3 original pills back to the pharmacist and ask him to sort them out. If he balks, offer to pay him $5 million to do so, since he will be saving you $30 million. It ain't that hard.

Posted by: Davey on March 18, 2006 4:43 PM

of course the wife just said...

"easy, just count the remaining pills..."

Posted by: Evan on March 18, 2006 5:10 PM

Counting the pills willt ell you which you have 2 of, but it won't tell you which ones they are.

And the hidden text works fine for me in Firefox.

Posted by: brendan on March 19, 2006 12:07 AM

I came up with a different, dumber solution:

I have in my hand:


cut them in three:

1x1y1z, 2x2y2z, 3x3y3z

and put the thirds together:

1x2x3x, 1y2y3y, 1z2z3z

which is either:

abb, abb, abb
bab, bab, bab
bba, bba, bba

either way, I now have three pills, each of which will give me 1/3 of
the required dose of A, and 2/3 of the required dose of B.

I now need to make 2 more pills, each of which will give me 2/3 of the
required dose of A, and 1/3 of the required dose of B. I do this with
the same procedure, but starting with 2 full As and only 1 full B.
Then every day I eat one of the "1/3 A" pills and one of the "2/3 A"
pills, and I'm done.

Posted by: gimbo on March 19, 2006 4:58 AM

The University of Virginia teams are also called the Cavaliers. Considering the people from my high school who went there, your scenario seems pretty reasonable.

Posted by: Dan Blum on March 19, 2006 9:31 AM

flOw is a fabulously addicting game, now that I've figured it out. I'm afraid to download Truck Dismount.

Posted by: Carny Asada on March 19, 2006 2:09 PM

Wait, if you cut three pills in half, how do you end up with two groups of pills?

Posted by: tom on March 19, 2006 8:37 PM

I'll elaborate. You're holding three pills. You cut them all in half, and somehow group them into two groups? How do you select which halves go where? Don't you now hold three groups of unknown pill halves?

Posted by: tom on March 19, 2006 8:49 PM


You start out with ABB

You cut them in half _one at a time_ and separate the halves into two piles. So that might go like this:

0. In my hand: ABB; in piles: nothing
1. In my hand: AB; in piles: b b
2. In my hand: B; in piles: ab ab
3. In my hand: nothing; in piles: abb abb

It doesn't matter what order I pick up the A,B and B in. When I'm halving a particular pill I don't know if I'm doing A->aa or B->bb; it doesn't matter, however, because I still end up with abb abb at the end.
to get aabbbb


You cut another A in half to get: aa

You add one half of that to each of the groups: aabb aabb

You eat the first group today, and the second group tomorrow.

Hope this helps!


Posted by: gimbo on March 20, 2006 2:32 AM

Ack. Ignore the line "to get aabbbb" in the above. My proofreading skills are as good as Matthew's.

Posted by: gimbo on March 20, 2006 2:34 AM

I would add two A pills and one B pill to the mixed up ones, crush and mix the whole lot and take 1/3 of the mixture over three days.

Posted by: Jon on March 20, 2006 9:27 AM

Hmmm, I think I saw that guy in the "Rage Against The Machine" shirt yesterday - - he was yelling at his disabled vehicle on the side of the road.

Posted by: Conqueress on March 20, 2006 10:12 AM

Wow, thanks Andy. Now that I read it again, it all makes sense. Don't ask me why I apparently lost the ability to read english before! I knew the answer was going to make me feel stupid. :)

Posted by: Anonymous on March 20, 2006 1:43 PM

This is meant to be hard? Just take another A pill, crush the lot up really well, and weight out half of the mixture and take it today, the rest tomorrow. Statistically you'll be OK. If you're really unlucky, the mix won't be uniform and you'll die. But you might make the same mistake cutting them, so meh.

Posted by: David on March 20, 2006 3:07 PM

so mad at myself for wimping out and reading thet answer after five minutes of thought. got to taking another A out... and cutting them all in half, but didn't put the two together. thanks for the workout!

and white font worked on my firefox.

Posted by: moosk on March 21, 2006 8:17 AM

I confess, I went with "count the remaining ones", though that definitely relies on a pharmacist's ability to count.

Posted by: New Blue Shoe on March 22, 2006 10:22 AM

i saw a yeti on tuesday march 21 2006.. it took my leg :( but i got him. if you want him meet me at the CN tower in ontario toronto, friday march 24.. at 6:00.. please come.. but bring $2000.00 as my reward :) thanks

Posted by: Anonymous on March 22, 2006 11:11 AM

i saw a yeti on tuesday march 21 2006.. it took my leg :( but i got him. if you want him meet me at the CN tower in ontario toronto, friday march 24.. at 6:00.. please come.. but bring $2000.00 as my reward :) thanks

Posted by: Matthew Taylor on March 22, 2006 11:13 AM

New Blue Shoe: At $10,000 a pill, you can be damn sure he's counting. (or she)

Posted by: agrippa_cash on March 22, 2006 12:51 PM

my first thought was "your pharmacist is scamming you, they're the same pill if they look exactly alike"

but for the record, I came up with the crushing solution outlined above by David.

Posted by: Marianna on March 22, 2006 2:42 PM