Things 44: Celebrations Results, Cat vs Squirrel, Procrastination Flowchart

(Originally sent April 2009)

This week I chose to see a film with Nicolas Cage in it instead of Slumdog Millionaire at the cinema, and I did not regret it. Insane big-budget B-movies like Knowing are the best thing to see on a big screen.

My review:

A rare event – I updated my blog, with the results from my Celebrations experiment.

A reference for April Fool’s websites in 2009.

As referenced by my flatmate in the review of Knowing – Donald Rumsfeld, 2003, making a good point badly:

“Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Followed up by:

“I believe what I said yesterday. I don’t know what I said, but I know what I think… and I assume it’s what I said.”

Last Week’s Puzzle
Last week I asked about the 3rd most abundant element in the universe – it turns out to be Oxygen.

This week: a puzzle I don’t think I am quite able to set with sufficient precision, but will try anyway. You can buy some things in packets/tins/boxes and they list the number of items they contain, such as 6 eggs, 12 spoons, 52 playing cards. With a budget of £5, what would you buy to get the largest possible value for this number?

Squirrel vs cat:

A procrastination flow chart (click for big):


Things 32: Busaba Toilets, Colour Test, Slow Motion Squirrel

I saw Mirrors last night. It started off as rubbish and ridiculous as it looked from the trailer, but then got a lot better, with a suitably ridiculous climax.

This week, Quantum of Solace, no more need be said.

Owing to extreme hecticness in the next few months, I have cancelled my Cineworld Unlimited card. The Films section may well disappear for a bit.

Puzzle Part 1
I ate at a Busaba Eathai last week. When I went to the toilets I was confronted with the two signs you see in the image below. I paused, then figured I had cracked the code. Where did I go? Make a guess now, then try part 2 at the end of this email.

A link
…which is also a puzzle. Test your ‘colour IQ’

A quote or anecdote
When paying for my ticket to see ‘Mirrors’, the guy at the till dropped a one pound coin into the vat of popcorn. Pretty soon three employees were scooping the popcorn around trying to find it while a manager was shouting ‘just complete the transaction!’ at them.

A video
Link courtesy of my mum – squirrel leaping in super slow mo from Autumn Watch:

Pictures of the sun taken using science:

Puzzle Part 2
Looking at the Signs for the Busaba toilets (above) I concluded that they represented the two modes of toileting: standing and sitting. I further inferred that this implied gender. I entered the door marked by the kinked line. It was a simple square wood-panelled room, and all I could see was urinals and sinks. Urinals were not sufficient for my needs at that time.

What would you do?


Things 31: Literal Take On Me, Heinlein’s Standard Response, Squirrel Fishing

I really enjoyed City of Ember, but I have to admit this is probably because I love films about things that are underground or the end of the world or mechanical contraptions, all of which it has.

I’m going to try to see Eagle Eye because it looks like it might hold my attention with a combination of a moderately creative idea and a lot of explosions.


IMDb: 6.9/10
RT: 28%… but critics never like this sort of thing!

Also of course there’s Quantum of Solace which is out next Friday.

Puzzle from before
In Things 30 I asked why we look after the ‘least fit’ despite the fact that we evolved through ‘survival of the fittest’. A lot of people turn this around and use it as an argument that we shouldn’t look after the weak, which is ridiculous for a number of reasons, but most of all it is ridiculous because of the answer to this puzzle.

The trick is that evolution optimises for survival of genes, not individuals, and individuals tend to share a lot of genes. Helping the ‘least fit’ is nothing more than a strategy that evolution tried out and turns out to have been extremely successful. Anyone advocating the ‘kill the weak for survival of the fittest’ argument needs to explain how it is humans have managed to thrive across the entire planet by being nice to their fellow tribe-members.

This week’s puzzle
Last weekend I drove a hire car from Edinburgh to Cardiff. As it got dark, other drivers started flashing their lights at me, even though I had my lights on. I pulled over and checked the lights – they were all on, front and back. What was the problem?

A video
The stop/go cat I linked to in Things 30 has become a massive viral hit. Here’s another one – literal lyrics put to the legendary Take On Me music video:

Robert Heinlein’s standard response letter to fan mail:

A quote
Tarim: I used to want to be a juggler when I grew up, then I realised you couldn’t do both.

A picture
Results of my recent squirrel fishing at Regents Park (click for full size):