# Solve these critical thinking puzzles, win a prize!

I love logic puzzles, and a friend showed me some particularly good ones the other day. These are based on puzzles written by the Mathematician from AskAMathematician.com.
If you’re the first to get all three of them correct with correct explanations for all of your answers, you’ll win a prize! Skepticon will send you either 4 Skepticon pint glasses or 6 Skepticon shot glasses. To be eligible for the prize, include the work “banana” in your comment.

And as a bonus just for fun – these questions were from a larger set of 8, and I included the only question I got wrong. Which one did I mess up on?

Question 1: In front of you are four cards. You know that each card has a photo of a famous person on one side, and a photo of an animal on the other. The four sides that are visible to you are as follows: Ken Ham, Richard Dawkins, a narwhal, and a T-Rex. I let you know that all of these cards follow the same rule – that if a card has a religious person on it’s famous person side, it has a dinosaur on its animal side. What’s the lowest number of cards you’d need to flip to determine if this rule is true or false for these cards, and which cards would you flip?

Question 2: Because I’m super nice, I give you a giant one hundred pound watermelon as a gift. You determine that this giant watermelon is ninety-nine percent water by weight. Unfortunately you let the watermelon sit out in the sun, and some water evaporates. Now the watermelon is only ninety-eight percent water by weight. To the nearest pound, what does the watermelon now weigh?

Question 3: While you were at TAM9, you decided to suspend skepticism and gamble – specifically, by playing roulette. But since you want to have some sort of strategy, you decide to flip a coin before each bet to decide whether to place a bet on red or on black (which should have a 50/50 chance of happening). Sadly, you lose sixty seven times in a row – that is, the ball always lands on the opposite color that you pick. If you turned your skepticism back on, it would be most rational to think:

A. You just have shitty luck
B. It’s terrible strategy to flip a coin to pick what color to bet on in roulette
C. You should keep up this strategy because you’ve really likely to win the next bet
D. The roulette table is obviously broken, but you can’t assume that’s intentional
E. The casino or the staff are dirty crooks who have rigged the game against you somehow
F. You can’t reasonably decide which of the listed options are more likely

Good luck!

“Keep posting! Even if someone has already given your response, I’m strongly considering a small consolation prize (for the first 10 correct folks), so it’s in your best interest to post. Unless you don’t like getting special prezzies in the mail, of course. :)”

This is post 10 of 49 of Blogathon. Pledge a donation to the Secular Student Alliance here.

# I can go home now

I accomplished my #1 TAM9 goal:Bill Nye :D

# The Empire Hearts Moms

Seattle sure knows how to welcome people back from trips (click for larger):This comic shop is right by my apartment and across from the bus stop I stand at every day – but it usually doesn’t look this lively.
Hopefully the Force reminded you to call your mom today.

# Seattle has superheroes

No, really. Go watch the video

And he’s not the only one. Apparently there are nine of them, part of the “Rain City Supehero Movement.”

What.

PS: If you’ll allow me a bit of shallowness, Dan from near Seattle is super cute. I’d use my super powers to, uh, save him any day. …Unfortunately I have no super powers.

This is a really neat advanced search feature just released by Google! You can now filter by “reading level,” including within posts for a certain site. How do they determine what’s considered Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced?

The feature is based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced.

Okay, I’m sure that’s not a perfect method, but it’s still nifty. For example, nature.com comes up very advanced:

I wonder what my blog looks like?Oh…um… well, I’m sure that’s just a result of blogging in general, right? We’re all a bit more informal around here.
…Well, PZ does a lot more reviews of scientific articles than me, I’m sure that helps his score. Surely I must be better than something like

I’m going to interpret this as “I write in a way that’s easily accessible to the general public,” rather than “I write like a goddamn moron.”*

*I should note that my ex-boyfriend pointed all of this out to me, along with this. I think this is payback for my quip about engineers being bad in bed. Internet karma, indeed.

This is a really neat advanced search feature just released by Google! You can now filter by “reading level,” including within posts for a certain site. How do they determine what’s considered Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced?

The feature is based primarily on statistical models we built with the help of teachers. We paid teachers to classify pages for different reading levels, and then took their classifications to build a statistical model. With this model, we can compare the words on any webpage with the words in the model to classify reading levels. We also use data from Google Scholar, since most of the articles in Scholar are advanced.

Okay, I’m sure that’s not a perfect method, but it’s still nifty. For example, nature.com comes up very advanced:
I wonder what my blog looks like?Oh…um… well, I’m sure that’s just a result of blogging in general, right? We’re all a bit more informal around here.
…Well, PZ does a lot more reviews of scientific articles than me, I’m sure that helps his score. Surely I must be better than something like

I’m going to interpret this as “I write in a way that’s easily accessible to the general public,” rather than “I write like a goddamn moron.”*

*I should note that my ex-boyfriend pointed all of this out to me, along with this. I think this is payback for my quip about engineers being bad in bed. Internet karma, indeed.

# Why my building has key cards

Now I just need to figure out how to make the doors say “Good morning, Ms. McCreight” instead of “Beep.” Then I’ll really be living in a sci-fi movie.

(Alternate reason why my building has key cards: To keep the undergrads out. I like my reason better.)

EDIT: I originally had pi = 0.6 because my project is currently looking at heterozygosity in humans, which is represented by pi, but I realized the inevitable nerd rage I would invoke when people would think I was too stupid to realize pi (approximately) = 3.14. So x it is.

…I have become too nerdy to make nerdy jokes, gah.

# Purdue to host intercollegiate Quidditch tournament

Why do all the awesome things happen after graduation?!

Purdue University is hosting an intercollegiate Quidditch tournament from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 24), just days before the world debut of the final Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.”

The Hogwarts-looking Windsor Halls will serve as the backdrop as caped contestants chase gold-clad human snitches and launch balls through custom-made hoops, all while dashing around on broomsticks trying not to be leveled by bludger-bearing beaters.

Several colleges will send players, including Purdue, Ohio State, Loyola University Chicago, Illinois State, Ball State, Bowling Green State University, Carthage College, Miami of Ohio and Transylvania University. Purdue’s invitational tournament is scheduled for the same week as the DVD and Blu-ray release of “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” Ultimate Edition, the movie in which Harry and Ron Weasley attend the Quidditch World Cup.

JEALOUS.

Of course, if the Harry Potter universe was real, my complete ineptitude in gym class would probably translate over into not being able to fly at all. Though if Ravenclaw can still have a decent team, maybe not all magical nerds are unathletic.

…*geek*

# This is where the magic happens

I’m not feeling particularly blogging inspired (thanks, grad school), so here’s some random photos of my new apartment, now that it’s all set up (click images for larger):How about a game of geeky I Spy? What can you spot, other than the inevitable wire-induced fire hazard beneath my desk?

# I’m ready to take over the world with Rationalism

Who else is going to waste their entire Tuesday playing Civilization 5? I’m purposefully making this post now because tomorrow I’m going to be too busy conquering the world.

I’m a huge Civ fan, though I got into the series a bit late. A friend introduced me to Civ3 in high school, so I played that and Civ4. But I fell in love with the game instantly. There’s just something so addictive about taking over the world! And something twisted and entertaining about Gandhi declaring war on you, or Abraham Lincoln adopting Slavery.

So needless to say, I’m excited for the new game. Sure, I’m going to miss sending out my flood of missionaries to convert everyone to Judaism. And I’m a bit sad Montezuma is back – seriously, what an asshole and source of much ragequitting. Go die in a fire, Monty.

*ahem* But I’m really happy about the new way city borders expand, aka logically and not based on a little arbitrary plus sign. And I think I’m going to love how the battle system actually relies on strategy including the map, not just stacks of doom. When I first played Civ, I would strategically place cities by mountain passes, until I realized it didn’t matter. But now it does, woo!

But the new thing I’m geeking out about the most? One of the Policy trees you can research, in addition to things like Tradition, Honor, and Liberty, is Rationalism. I am atheist-geeking out about this so much. The bonuses are great:

• Rationalism – Immediately enter a golden age
• Humanism – +1 Happiness from every University
• Secularism – +2 Science from every Specialist
• Freethought – +2 Science from every Trading Post
• Scientific Revolution – Gain 2 free Technologies

And the cherry on top? You can’t have Rationalism at the same time as Piety, the religious Policy tree. Which is all about increasing happiness, not actually making progress.

lulz

Anyway, I’m super excited. Like I said, I’m going to play as much as possible tomorrow, mainly because I have my departmental retreat Wednesday through Friday. Need to get my conquering in! And classes start the 29th, so I’ll try to squeeze so more in before I have no free time. If anyone is interested in a giant multiplayer Blag Hag reader battle over the weekend, my Steam username is Jennifurret. Friend me!

Now, I’m off. It’s released at 7am here, so I need my beauty sleep. Yes, I’m willing to wake up early for a video game, but I bitch about 9:30am classes. I am a geek.