Ones and Twos

https://www.flickr.com/photos/evoo73/3222220257
Image: Flickr

From the Kanja Otogi Zoshi (“Collection of Interesting Results”) of Nakane Genjun, 1743:

Your friend has 30 go stones. He lines them up out of your sight, placing down either one or two stones with each deposit and calling “here” so you’ll know this has been done. When all 30 stones have been placed, you have heard him say “here” 18 times. How many deposits contained one stone, and how many two?

Click for Answer

Kindred Spirits

https://www.geograph.ie/photo/5448194
Image: geograph

Cork, Ireland, displays a sculpture dedicated to the Choctaw Indian Nation. Moved by reports of the Great Hunger of 1845-1851, and recalling their own deprivation as they were removed from their ancestral lands, a group of Oklahoma Choctaw raised $170 in 1847 and forwarded it toward relief of the famine.

In 1995, Irish president Mary Robinson visited the Choctaw to thank them for supporting the Irish people, to whom they had no link but “a common humanity, a common sense of another people suffering.” In 1992 22 Irish men and women walked the 600-mile Trail of Tears, raising $1,000 for every dollar that the Choctaw had given in 1847, and passed the money on to relieve suffering in Somalia.

The Choctaw have donated to New York’s Firefighters Fund after the 2001 terrorist attacks; to Save the Children and the Red Cross in 2004 for tsunami relief; to Hurricane Katrina relief in 2005; to victims of the Haiti earthquake in 2018; and to people affected by hurricanes in Houston, Puerto Rico, and Florida. In 2008 the Choctaw Nation received the United States National Freedom Award for its efforts supporting the National Guard and Reserve and their families.

Figure and Ground

https://patents.google.com/patent/US4627622A/en

Because we live on land, we tend to make maps in which oceans are afterthoughts, mere spaces between the continents. In 1986 oceanographer Athelstan Spilhaus sought to remedy this with a cartographic puzzle in which seven pieces can be combined in various ways, each presenting “a different, but equally valid, viewpoint of the features of the earth.”

Above, they’re arranged to show that “the land masses of North and South America, on the one hand, and those of Europe, Asia, and Africa on the other, are maintained in associated groupings, while the vastness of the Pacific Ocean has been set off to the left of the map.”

But the same seven pieces might be rearranged to illustrate the fact that “the Pacific Ocean widely separates Asia from the Americas.”

In 1942 Spilhaus had also devised a world map in which the oceans take the forefront, reminding us that Earth is “a water planet, with a single great ocean covering nearly three-quarters of its surface.”

In a Word

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:August_Friedrich_Albrecht_Schenck_-_Anguish_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

orbity
n. a bereavement by loss of parents or children

reme
v. to cry out in grief or pain; to lament

philostorgy
n. parental love

asperous
adj. harsh to the feelings; bitter, cruel, severe

Of August Friedrich Schenck’s 1878 painting Anguish, one critic wrote in Figaro, “All the world today regards Schenk as one of our first animal-painters. He is one of those originals, of a species not yet extinct, who prefer dogs to men, and find more sweetness in sheep than in women.”

“It is a little drama, this picture, and as poignant as if it had men for actors and victims.”

Efficiency

http://www.bikeboom.info/efficiency/

In a 1973 Scientific American article on bicycle technology, Oxford engineering lecturer S.S. Wilson showed that a man on a bicycle “improves his efficiency rating to No. 1 among moving creatures and machines”:

“When one compares the energy consumed in moving a certain distance as a function of body weight for a variety of animals and machines, one finds that an unaided walking man does fairly well (consuming about .75 calorie per gram per kilometer), but he is not as efficient as a horse, a salmon or a jet transport. With the aid of a bicycle, however, the man’s energy consumption for a given distance is reduced to about a fifth (roughly .15 calorie per gram per kilometer).”

(Via Simon Kuestenmacher’s Twitter feed.)

11/18/2018 UPDATE: In 1974 the Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich wrote:

The model American male devotes more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while it stands idling. He parks it and searches for it. He earns the money to put down on it and to meet the monthly installments. He works to pay for gasoline, tolls, insurance, taxes, and tickets. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours on the road or gathering his resources for it. And this figure does not take into account the time consumed by other activities dictated by transport: time spent in hospitals, traffic courts, and garages; time spent watching automobile commercials or attending consumer education meetings to improve the quality of the next buy. The model American puts in 1,600 hours to get 7,500 miles: less than five miles per hour. In countries deprived of a transportation industry, people manage to do the same, walking wherever they want to go, and they allocate only 3 to 8 per cent of their society’s time budget to traffic instead of 28 per cent.

(Thanks, Bryan.)

Coincidence

It had so happened for several days that Major Eckert had been out whenever the President came into the office. Coming in one day and finding the Major counting money at his desk, Mr. Lincoln remarked that he believed the Major never came to the office any more except when he had money to count. The Major declared that his being out when the President happened to come in was simply a coincidence, and this reminded him, the Major, of a story: ‘A certain tailor in Mansfield, Ohio, was very stylish in dress and airy in manner. Passing a shopkeeper’s door one day the shopkeeper puffed himself up, and gave a long blow expressive of the inflation of the conceited tailor, who indignantly turned and said: “I’ll learn you not to blow when I’m passing,” to which the shopkeeper instantly replied: “And I’ll teach you not to pass while I’m blowing.”‘ The President said that was very good — very like a story which he had heard of a man who was driving through the country in an open buggy, and was caught at night in a pouring shower of rain. He was hurrying forward toward shelter as fast as possible; passing a farmhouse, a man, apparently struggling with the effects of bad whisky, thrust his head out of the window and shouted loudly, ‘Hullo! hullo!’ The traveller stopped and asked what was wanted. ‘Nothing of you,’ was the reply. ‘Well, what in the d—- do you shout hullo for when people are passing?’ angrily asked the traveller. ‘Well, what in the d—- are you passing for when people are shouting hullo?’ replied the inebriate.

— T.Y. Crowell, Abraham Lincoln, 1895

Truth Pays

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2005-Penny-Uncirculated-Obverse-cropped.png

Here are a penny and a quarter. Make a statement. If your statement is true, then I’ll give you one of these coins (not saying which). But if your statement is false, then I won’t give you either coin.

Raymond Smullyan says, “There is a statement you can make such that I would have no choice but to give you the quarter (assuming I keep my word).” What statement will accomplish that?

Click for Answer

Podcast Episode 224: Lady Death

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pavlichenko_in_the_US_with_two_other_delegates,_1942_(cropped).jpg

Lyudmila Pavlichenko was training for a career as a history teacher when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. She suspended her studies to enlist as a sniper in the Red Army, where she discovered a remarkable talent for shooting enemy soldiers. In this week’s episode of the Futility Closet podcast we’ll trace the career of “Lady Death,” the deadliest female sniper in history.

We’ll also learn where in the world futility.closet.podcast is and puzzle over Air Force One.

Intro:

Andy Warhol’s Brillo Boxes creates a host of puzzles in the philosophy of art.

German architect Herman Sörgel wanted to dam the Congo to create two African seas.

Sources for our feature on Lyudmila Pavlichenko:

Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Lady Death: The Memoirs of Stalin’s Sniper, 2018.

Roger Reese, “Soviet Women at War,” Military History 28:1 (May 2011), 44-53,5.

Drew Lindsay, “Why Not Send Women to War?” MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 25:3 (Spring 2013), 50-55, 58-61.

Karl E. Friedl, “Biases of the Incumbents: What If We Were Integrating Men Into a Women’s Army?” Military Review 96:2 (March/April 2016), 69-75.

Jonathan W. Jordan, “Master of the Long Rifle,” MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History 18:4 (Summer 2006), 49-53.

D’Ann Campbell, “Women in Combat: The World War II Experience in the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and the Soviet Union,” Journal of Military History 57:2 (April 1993), 301-323.

E.M. Tenney, “Mrs. Roosevelt, the Russian Sniper, and Me,” American Heritage 43:2 (April 1992), 28.

John Kass, “This Soldier’s Skill Had Nothing to Do With Gender,” Chicago Tribune, Jan. 25, 2013.

Peter Sheridan, “Meet Lady Death: The Deadliest Female Sniper That Ever Lived,” Express, Feb. 5, 2018.

Marea Donnelly, “‘Lady Death’ Sniper Made 309 Kills After Young Comrade Shot,” Daily Telegraph, July 12, 2016, 23.

Gilbert King, “Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soviet Sniper,” Smithsonian.com, Feb. 21, 2013.

Alex Lockie, “Meet the World’s Deadliest Female Sniper Who Terrorized Hitler’s Nazi Army,” Independent, March 18, 2018.

“Soviet Girl Sniper Learned to Shoot as University Co-Ed,” [Washington, D.C.] Evening Star, August 28, 1942, 2-X.

“Africa a Prelude, Maisky Declares,” New York Times, Nov. 15, 1942.

“Rifle Match Proposed,” New York Times, Sept. 3, 1942.

Public Radio International, “The Life and Myths of Lyudmila Pavlichenko, Soviet Russia’s Deadliest Sniper,” PRI’s The World, March 9, 2018.

“Sharp-Shooting Women Best Soviet Snipers,” USA Today Magazine, 135:2739 (December 2006), 3-4.

Listener mail:

Wikipedia, “Maidenhead Locator System” (accessed Nov. 3, 2018).

Wikipedia, “Contesting” (accessed Nov. 4, 2018).

“An Evaluation of Location Encoding Systems,” GitHub, (accessed Nov. 9, 2018).

Our territory on What3Words.

Meh.

Gfycat.

The Silly Party takes Luton.

This week’s lateral thinking puzzle was devised by Greg. Here’s a corroborating link (warning — this spoils the puzzle).

You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on Google Podcasts, on Apple Podcasts, or via the RSS feed at https://futilitycloset.libsyn.com/rss.

Please consider becoming a patron of Futility Closet — you can choose the amount you want to pledge, and we’ve set up some rewards to help thank you for your support. You can also make a one-time donation on the Support Us page of the Futility Closet website.

Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at podcast@futilitycloset.com. Thanks for listening!

Winners and Losers

A puzzle by the Hungarian-Canadian mathematician George Grätzer:

I’m writing an article about a round-robin tennis tournament, in which each player plays each other player once. I decide to pick one player and ask her which players she defeated (in tennis there are no ties). Then I’ll ask each of those players which players they’ve defeated. Is it possible to pick a player so that everyone in the tournament is mentioned in my article?

Click for Answer