Things 60: The Box, Vans, and the Shower Problem

(Originally sent October 2009)

I saw Triangle, and although it may need a second viewing to clarify, I think it might be the best constructed time-bender I’ve seen yet.

I also saw The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and as expected it was very nice to see what Terry Gilliam can do with modern CG and a decent budget, but it did suffer from the apparent absence of a clear narrative arc, hampered further by the marketing’s misleading emphasis on the character played by Ledger ( / Depp / Farrell / Law).

Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly’s latest film, The Box, looks like a hilariously insane extrapolation of a very simple temptation story.

Here is a decently executed, 7-minute version of the basic idea called “Black Button”:

Even that felt fairly stretched, so who knows what they do to drag it out to 115 minutes in The Box. You can get some idea of how silly they go from the trailer:

[Video removed, try this search – metatim 03/08/15]

Tycho (from Penny Arcade) on Twilight cash-in TV series The Vampire Diaries:

“Imagine a Buffy the Vampire Slayer where there was no Buffy, and vampires are rarely slain. All you’ve got left is “The,” and Sally, that ain’t no kinda show.”

It would have been cooler as a van”, a nice Threadless T-shirt design that doubles as a puzzle. How many can you identify?

Last Week’s Puzzle: The Return Ticket
Just in case you forgot, last week’s puzzle was this:

“Trains leaving station A only go to station B. A single from A to B costs £3. A return from A to B and back again costs £5. A woman walks into train station A for the first time in her life. She goes up to the counter and hands the cashier £5. Without either of them saying a word she is given a return ticket and leaves happy. How did the cashier know what she wanted?”

Since it took me 5 years to work out, I’m hardly about to reveal the answer here. However, I will say the following:

a) I now know a few people that have solved it in under a minute

b) While there are naturally many possible answers, there is one answer that is clearly better than the others

This Week’s Puzzle: Showers
While some are lucky enough to have a shower sufficiently advanced to have solved this problem with the magic of modern technology, for those of us less fortunate, the problem remains:

a) Why is it so hard to get a shower to run at a comfortable temperature?

b) What can be done about it?

Eddie Izzard explains the problem more dramatically here: