Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Classic Logic Puzzle: Who Owns The Fish?

There are five houses in a row and in five different colors.

In each house lives a person from a different country.

Each person drinks a certain drink, plays a certain sport, and keeps a certain pet.

No two people drink the same drink, play the same sport, or keep the same pet.

1.      The Brit lives in a red house
2.      The Swede keeps dogs
3.      The Dane drinks tea
4.      The green house is on the left of the white house
5.      The green house owner drinks coffee
6.      The person who plays polo rears birds
7.      The owner of the yellow house plays hockey
8.      The man living in the house in the center drinks milk
9.      The Norwegian lives in the first house
10.  The man who plays baseball lives next to the man who keeps cats
11.  The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who plays hockey
12.  The man who plays billiards drinks beer
13.  The German plays soccer
14.  The Norwegian lives next to the blue house
15.  The man who plays baseball has a neighbor who drinks water.

So to solve this on you own, don’t read further. Otherwise, follow along below.

First draw five boxes in a row, to represent the houses.
Then put down the basic stuff we know without other information. This includes 8, 9, and by deduction from 9, 14.
Next we know from 4 and 5, that the furthest right house must be the white house with the green to its left. It can’t be shifted over any, due to the prohibition of the middle house drinking milk.

Now we can figure out the next two colors from 1. Since the Norwegian lives in the first house, it can’t be red, and is yellow by default.
We can now, knowing the yellow house, complete 7 and 11, since 11 can apply to only one house. 
This is the tricky step. Based upon a couple of clues we need to do some guesswork. We know the Swede can only live in one of two places, and the Dane can only live in one of two places, based on 2, 3, and 13.

If we consider further clues 12 and 15, then it is a pretty safe bet that the Dane lives in the blue. You can of course reverse this, but in the next step you’ll find logical inconsistencies. We now need to figure out which is German and Swedish.
 Like the last step, we can make a choice. If we say the Swede is in the green house, we run into problems in the next step with clue 12. If we assume the contrary, we are presented with no difficulties.

We can plug in 12, and 15 now safely.

By default, clue 6 must be the middle house, and we can safely say from 15 that the Dane plays baseball.
Clues 10, and for dramatic flair, 2 (which we could’ve done earlier) can now be figured out.

Finally we have our answer:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Declaration of Interdependence

Back in 1970 Howard Zinn, an American historian, proposed the need for a 'Declaration of Interdependence'. You can see Matt Damon reciting the speech here:
The speech addresses the following:
  • That the wrong people are in jail, and that the wrong people are out of jail
  • That the wrong people are in power, and the the wrong people are out of power
  • That the wealth in the world is distributed in such a way as to not require small reform, but as to require a drastic reallocation of wealth
  • Civil disobedience is not our problem, our problem is civil obedience
  • History abounds with examples of obedience leading to horror, under the pretense of the rule of law
  • The rule of law is the darling of the leaders, and the plague of the people, which should be a clue to its real purpose
  • We have to transcend national boundaries in our thinking
  • Seemingly disparate world leaders have more in common with each other than they do with us. They continually work on securing their own ends, namely power
  • As such we need to get back to the aims and spirit of the Declaration of Independence. This spirit is resistance to illegitimate authority, especially emphasizing the right to abolish government
  • To preserve this spirit will require going outside the law, to redistribute wealth, to put those in jail who need to be there, and take those out who do not
  • People in all countries need the spirit of disobedience to the state. Therefore we need a Declaration of Interdependence

So I got to thinking about what this would say, given the need to address the dilemmas of our time. 
It was incredible how little of the language I had to change from the original document, written over 230 years ago.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of humanity requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Us, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that we are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right ourselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of the common people, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present world leaders is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over our collective humanity. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
They have refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
They have forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation plutocratic Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, have utterly neglected to attend to them.
They have refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only. 
They have passed legislation at places unusual, secret, and distant without knowledge of the governed, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures. 
They have dissolved legitimate governments repeatedly, for opposing with firmness their invasions on the rights of the people.
They have refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the people remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of theft from without, and abuse within.
They have endeavored to prevent the population from freedom of movement; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations.
They have obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Just Representation.
They have made Judges dependent on their alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
They have erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass us, and eat our substance.
They have kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies and carried out surveillance upon their own people without the Consent of the people.
They have affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
They have combined with others to subject us to an illegitimate authority foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving their Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Maintaining large numbers of corporate criminals among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of all countries:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: 
For depriving us in some cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For abolishing the free System of Laws, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render the people powerless and to serve fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into all parts of the globe:
For taking away our Freedoms, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our rights to Privacy, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
They have abdicated Government, by declaring us out of  their Protection while waging War against us.
They have plundered our seas, ravaged our land, burnt our resources, and destroyed our environment. 
They are at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Heads of any civilized nation.
They have constrained our fellow Citizens to expatriate and become criminals to preserve our Fundamental Rights, to become separated from friends and Kin, or to fall themselves at the Tyrant’s hands. 
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. These Leaders whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, are unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to the Tyrants of other nations. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our means of habitation here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. These leaders too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Revolution, and hold them, as we hold the rest of civilization, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united peoples of earth, in General Congress, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People, solemnly publish and declare, That these Nations are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to proclaimed Plutocratic Leaders in any State, and that all political connection between them and these Oppressors, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Nobel Update and Life Update

A quick life update.

I spent the past weekend in Boston, up from CT, where I work. The point was to celebrate Thanksgiving, albeit early. For actual Thanksgiving I'll be in Ithaca, surrounded by cold and grey.

My family is split, and has been as long as I can remember. In Singapore I had to make Thanksgiving dinner on my own, with a surrogate family of expat friends and acquaintances. Also on that day my long-term girlfriend broke up with me.

Last thanksgiving I was seeing someone, but that ended in June. It's now been about two months since I've seriously been seeing anyone. The interval has, however, provided dating.

Dating sucks. Due to the 80 hour a week commitment of my job, I long ago took the millennial route with an online profile. So here are the dates I've had so far this fall:

The one where she told me she didn't like politics and generally would be considered center-right, because she hates Obama.

The one where after getting coffee I offered to walk her home, only to find it was 45 minutes, and then she said she wanted to remain Platonic.

The one where it went well, and we kept rescheduling a second date, and then she cancelled last minute, telling me her place burned down, and did not reschedule further.

The one where it went really well, and after a really nice date she messaged me the next date saying she liked me and unfortunately she can't date anyone right now, and deleted her profile.

So I'm not particularly optimistic about this Thursday's date, if it happens, but hey - the dates are going better each time, even if the reactions are also getting more ridiculous as a consequence.

Regardless, this past weekend was filled with turkey and mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. It was good. I'm getting better at scrabble as well. Maybe I need to give dating a break and focus on food instead - that's where I can find real happiness.

Or maybe not.

In Other News:

Two-plus years ago I listed the living Nobel laureates, and their ages. That included all five categories, but after Doris Lessing's death the other day, I revisited the list, as can be seen below:

Literature 20

Nadine Gordimer – 1991 Age – 89 South Africa

Dario Fo – 1997 Age – 87 Italy

Gunter Grass – 1999 Age – 86 Germany

Gabriel Garcia Marquez – 1982 Age – 86 Colombia – Longest Holding

Imre Kertesz – 2002 Age – 84 Poland

Derek Walcott – 1992 Age – 83 St. Lucia

Toni Morrison – 1993 Age – 82 USA

Tomas Transtromer – 2011 Age – 82 Sweden

Alice Munro – 2013 Age – 82 Canada – Shortest Holding

V.S. Naipaul – 2001 Age – 81 UK

Wole Soyinka – 1986 Age – 79 Nigeria

Kenzaburo Oe – 1994 Age – 78 Japan

Mario Vargas Llosa – 2010 Age – 77 Peru/Spain

Gao Xingjian – 2000 Age – 73 France

J.M. Coetzee – 2003 Age – 73 South Africa

J.M.G. Le Clezio – 2008 Age – 73 France/Mauritius

Elfriede Jelinek – 2004 Age – 67 Austria

Orhan Pamuk – 2006 Age – 61 Turkey

Herta Muller – 2009 Age – 60 Germany

Mo Yan – 2012 Age – 58 China