Posts tagged ‘computer’

AWOKK, Day 4: My Puzzles

It’s Day 4 of the MJ4MF A Week of KenKen series, and I’m very excited about today’s offering. But first, in case you missed the fun we’ve had previously…

The puzzles that appear at and within the KenKen app are automatically generated by something that those folks call the KENerator. (Clever, no?) Likewise, the puzzles that appear in the MathDoku Pro app are also generated by a computer algorithm. The benefit is that both of these sources will provide a nearly infinite supply of puzzles. The downside is that computers don’t think as well as humans, so the puzzles range from mundane to amusing, and, in the words of Thomas Snyder, are “too easy and too computer-generated.” Rarely do they fall into the category of truly interesting.

That’s why Thomas Snyder attempted to outdo The New York Times KenKen puzzle back in 2009, when he presented a new KenKen puzzle every day. His themed puzzles were meant so show “what the puzzle should be” and how to make them interesting. Of the 20+ puzzles he presented, this is my favorite, which he created for March 3 (3/3).

Thomas Snyder's 3 KenKen

You can see the large numeral “3” formed by the cage along the right edge of the puzzle. Further, every cage includes at least one digit 3 as part of the target number.

I also like his “Perfect Ten” puzzle, where every cage has 10 as the target number.

Thomas Snyder's Perfect 10 KenKen

Like Snyder, I agree that KenKen puzzles are generally more interesting — and, usually, more difficult — when they’re created by a human instead of a computer. The following are several themed puzzles that I’ve created.

This puzzle is relatively easy, but I like that it uses only 8’s and 4’s. In honor of the small town of Eighty-Four, PA — which apocryphally is said to be named after the town’s mile marker on the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad — I call this the “B&O” puzzle.

KenKen 8s and 4s

You may know that 1! = 1, 2! = 2, 3! = 6, …, 6! = 720, and that these numbers are known as factorials. Consequently, I call this the “Factorial” puzzle, since the target numbers are the first six factorials.

KenKen Factorial

Of all the puzzles that I’ve created, my all-time favorite is a special 8 × 8 puzzle that I created in honor of the current year. But if you want to see it, you’ll need to check back on Sunday, September 25, for AWOKK, Day 7.

September 22, 2016 at 5:05 am Leave a comment

Passwords, Age Restrictions, and Computer Silliness

My computer has been a bad boy recently.

First, it told me that my password is going to expire approximately 11 months before I was born

Password ExpirationInterestingly, the folks at disagree with the number of days between March 31, 1970, and the date that screen capture was snapped (March 1, 2015). So much for the truism that, “Computers make very fast, very accurate mistakes.” I thought the difference could be explained by excluding the end dates, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, so I’m not sure what ADPassMon is doing. (Then again, I’m not sure why I’m wasting my time checking the calculations of a piece of software whose warning messages suggest the existence of time travel.)

Then, when attempting to register my sons for ski camp, it gave one of the craziest age restrictions I’ve ever seen…

Ski Camp Math

check out the valid ages…

An age of 5.925 corresponds to 5 years, 11 months, 7 days, and 15 hours, which seems quite an arbitrary cut-off for a ski camp. Further, an age of 7.999 years means that kids are eligible for ski camp so long as they are not within 15 hours, 14 minutes, and 24 seconds of their eighth birthday. The framers of the Common Core would be happy with the consideration paid to MP.6: Attend to Precision. Where else have you seen ages expressed to the nearest thousandth? Not even parents of newborns use this many decimal places.

Both of these issues remind me of a childhood friend who wanted to be a writer. He said he wanted to write stuff that would be widely read, cause an emotional reaction, and make people scream and cry. He now writes error messages for Microsoft.

Here’s wishing you an error-free day!

March 2, 2015 at 7:46 am Leave a comment

Birbiglia, Baby Boomers, and Computers

Mike Birbiglia said:

I didn’t realize I was good with computers till my parents bought one.

My wife’s cousin Natalie — now in her 60’s — has a more pragmatic explanation for why older folks are less tech-savvy than the average bear.

Perhaps Baby Boomers, having grown up during the Cold War, are afraid of what might happen if you push the wrong button.


Many of us have love-hate relationships with computers. Some of us have hate-hate relationships with them. To wit:

There are two types of computers in the world: those that waste your time, and those that waste your time faster.

A computer once beat me at chess, but it was no match for me at kickboxing.

Men are like computers. They’ll do what you want, but not until they’re turned on and stroked in the right sequence.

A computer lets you make mistakes faster than any invention in human history, with the possible exceptions of handguns and tequila.

December 4, 2014 at 8:35 am Leave a comment

More Math One-Liners

As we were dressing to play in the snow, I asked my son Eli if I could wear his hat. His response was an emphatic, “No!” When I asked why, his one-liner response made me chuckle:

Because your chin is too far from your head.

Here are some other one-liners that I’ve always enjoyed.

Pure mathematicians are like lighthouses in the middle of a swamp — brilliant, but completely useless.

If God wanted us to use the metric system, why did Jesus have 12 apostles?

I’m not worried about losing my job to a computer. They’ve yet to invent a machine that does absolutely nothing.

For every complex mathematical problem, there is a simple and elegant solution that is completely wrong.

For every complex mathematical problem, there is a solution. The difficulty lies in finding it.

A mathematics lecture is a process for transferring the notes of the teacher to the notes of the student without passing through the minds of either.

In a graph, the thickness of the curve is inversely proportional to the reliability of the data.

Statistics are like a bikini — what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

January 24, 2011 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

About MJ4MF

The Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks blog is an online extension to the book Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks. The blog contains jokes submitted by readers, new jokes discovered by the author, details about speaking appearances and workshops, and other random bits of information that might be interesting to the strange folks who like math jokes.

MJ4MF (offline version)

Math Jokes 4 Mathy Folks is available from Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, NCTM, Robert D. Reed Publishers, and other purveyors of exceptional literature.

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