# Why Is a Manhole Cover Round?

Actual questions asked in Microsoft job interviews:

• Suppose you had eight billiard balls, and one of them was slightly heavier, but the only way to tell was by putting it on a scale against another. What’s the fewest number of times you’d have to use the scale to find the heavier ball?
• Why do you want to work at Microsoft?
• One train leaves Los Angeles at 15 mph heading for New York. Another train leaves from New York at 20 mph heading for Los Angeles on the same track. If a bird, flying at 25 mph, leaves from Los Angeles at the same time as the train and flies back and forth between the two trains until they collide, how far will the bird have traveled?
• How many gas stations are there in the USA?
• You’ve got someone working for you for seven days and a gold bar to pay them. The gold bar is segmented into seven connected pieces. You must give them a piece of gold at the end of every day. If you are only allowed to make two breaks in the gold bar, how do you pay your worker?
• The interviewer hands you a black pen and says nothing but “This pen is red.”
• Pairs of primes separated by a single number are called prime pairs. Examples are 17 and 19. Prove that the number between a prime pair is always divisible by 6 (assuming both numbers in the pair are greater than 6). Now prove that there are no “prime triples.”

At the end they ask, “What was the hardest question asked of you today?” My answer: “Why do you want to work at Microsoft?”

# Trivium

Cranberries bounce.

# Pet Names

Most popular U.S. pet names, according to the ASPCA:

1. Max
2. Sam
4. Bear
5. Smokey
7. Kitty
8. Molly
9. Buddy
10. Brandy

# Southpaws

Famous left-handed people:

• Alexander the Great
• Napoleon Bonaparte
• Julius Caesar
• Charlemagne
• Benjamin Franklin
• Michelangelo
• Leonardo da Vinci
• Mark Twain
• Beethoven
• Mozart
• Charlie Chaplin
• Cary Grant
• Henry Ford
• Helen Keller

“Mantle can hit just as good right-handed as he can left-handed,” said Yogi Berra. “He’s just naturally amphibious.”

# Asteroids Named After Fictional Characters

Asteroids named after fictional characters:

• 2309 Mr. Spock
• 5048 Moriarty
• 5049 Sherlock
• 5050 Doctorwatson
• 6042 Cheshirecat
• 6736 Marchare
• 7470 Jabberwock
• 7980 Bandersnatch
• 9007 James Bond
• 18610 Arthurdent

Strangely, 2309 Mr. Spock caused an uproar when the asteroid’s discoverer, James Gibson, revealed that he’d actually named it after his cat (he called the cat Spock because it was “imperturbable, logical, intelligent, and had pointed ears”). The International Astronomical Union officially discouraged any more pet animal names, but people are still fine — asteroids have been named after Carlos Santana, Mister Rogers, all four Beatles and all six members of Monty Python.

# Oldest Domains

The 10 oldest currently registered dot-com domains:

1. symbolics.com (registered 3/15/85)
2. bbn.com (4/24/85)
3. think.com (5/24/85)
4. mcc.com (7/11/85)
5. dec.com (9/30/85 )
6. northrop.com (11/7/85)
7. xerox.com (1/9/86)
8. sri.com (1/17/86)
9. hp.com (3/3/86)
10. bellcore.com (3/5/86)

# Famous Teetotalers

Famous teetotalers:

• John Ashcroft
• Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson
• Penn Jillette
• Franz Kafka
• David Letterman
• T.E. Lawrence
• Bill O’Reilly
• Fred Rogers
• George Bernard Shaw
• Henry Thoreau
• Donald Trump

Robert Benchley wrote, “Drinking makes such fools of people, and people are such fools to begin with, that it’s compounding a felony.”

# Superstition

Clowns avoid blue face paint — they consider it bad luck.

# Useful Knots

THE TWENTY MOST USEFUL KNOTS.

1. Thumb or over-hand knot, tied at the end of a rope to prevent it from opening out, &c.
2. Right or reef-knot, for securing all lashings where the ends of the rope meet together.
3. Draw-knot, which offers great facility in undoing.
4. Running-knot, used to bind or draw anything close.
5. Sheepshank, serving to shorten a rope without cutting it or unfastening the ends.
6. Clove-hitch, which binds with excessive force, and by which alone a weight can be hung to a smooth pole.
7. Timber-hitch, very useful in hauling to move a weight.
8. Single bowline-knot, difficult to undo, useful to throw over a post &c., to haul on, used for the draw-loop of a slip noose.
9. Double bowline-knot, for slinging a cask.
10. Running bowline-knot.
11. Woolding or packing-stick hitch, used to tighten ropes.
12. Men’s harness hitch, passing over the shoulder and under the opposite arm of men drawing a carriage, &c.
13. Stopper hitch, for stoppering the fall of a tackle, &c.
14. Inside clinch, for fastening a cable to the anchor ring, &c.
15. Common or sheet bend, a very secure method of joining two ropes, or fastening a rope to a loop.
16. Hawser bend, for joining two ropes, easily undone.
17. Cat’s paw, the turn in the bight of a rope, for hooking a tackle to it.
18. Dragrope or lever-hitch, used for fixing hand-spikes or capstanbars to the ropes attached to heavy carriages, &c., which have to be moved by men.
19. Half-hitch, cast on the bight of a rope.
20. Carrick bend. A wall-knot is a knot made at the end of a rope to prevent it from passing through a hole.

The Household Cyclopedia of General Information, 1881

# Vacation Days

Average number of vacation days per year:

• Italy: 42
• France: 37
• Germany: 35
• Brazil: 34
• United Kingdom: 28