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  1. Past hour
  2. OK so I was a kid once, back in the 40s and 50s, and we had this game called Pegity. It had a board with a 16x16 array of holes, and in turn each of 2-4 players inserted a peg of his own color into a hole. The object was to get 5 pegs of your color in a row: vertically, horizontally or diagonally. Not every game was won: similar to tic-tac-toe, you could run out of holes. But with only two players, there was usually a win. For simplicity let's shrink to a 9x9 board, mark the holes like in chess (A1, E7, etc.) and say that after O and X have each made three moves we have this position, with O to move: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A + + + + + + + + + B + + + + + + + + + C + + + + + + + + + D + + + + + + + + + E + + + + O + + + + F + + + O + O + + + G + + + + X + + + + H + + + X + X + + + I + + + + + + + + + With best play by both players, how soon can O win? Use chess notation (naming the holes, in two columns) to list the moves.
  3. Next card is Red

  4. Today
  5. Next card is Red

    @CaptainEd shuffles a standard deck of playing cards and begins dealing the cards face up on the table. At any time @plainglazed can say Stop and bet $1 that the next card will be red. If he does not interrupt, the bet will automatically be placed on the last card. What is the best strategy? How much better than 50% can @plainglazed do?
  6. Green and Yellow hats again, but harder

    That is amazing. And you've shown that 1 fewer than a power of 2 is the optimal value for n. Can you reduce it to only q memorized strings, and the success rate to (q-1)/q, where q is the highest power of 2 less than or equal to n? (Purposely leaving this un-spoilered, cuz this is a tough problem.)
  7. Baggage on a conveyor belt

    Yup. And a bit of possibly helpful thinking:
  8. A big, big, big hotel

    Yeah, and I hate annoyances, too. Read on.
  9. Yesterday
  10. Obtuse triangles in a circle

    Not an answer, but a description of a potential approach and what would still be needed to make it work since this has gone for a while without being cracked.
  11. A big, big, big hotel

    Brilliant, surprisingly interesting and leading to a major annoyance. Well, now back to the original problem. Everybody leaves, the hotel is empty. The green and blue men arrive all together and go to the room they occupied previously. Is this problem equivalent to the first one? Precision: By equivalent, I mean that the problems are announced in a slightly different way, but the answers remain the same. Something this way: Aunt: If I give you 5 bananas and take back 2 bananas, how many bananas have you? John: I do not know. Aunt: I met your teacher and she told me you make this kind of problems at school. John: Yes, but we do it with apples. Just do not tell me that the men know now the room numbers. Besides being clairvoyant, they can move in time. Forwards, backwards and sideways.
  12. Last week
  13. Green and Yellow hats again, but harder

    I think I see the pattern here and am encouraged by the beauty of binary symmetry so here goes:
  14. When midnight strikes

    Sorry for 'discard', I meant these numbers build a {set} from which elements can be removed. And yes, we remain in rationals. What if l only paint those between 0.5 and 0.6, even leaving .53745 unpainted? Did I not paint an infinite number of numbers? We turn in round here. You claim that if you can remove an infinite amount of elements from a set, the set will be empty - I claim there may remain some elements (and even more then removed, depending on circumstances). I suppose you apply a 'law' or a 'theorem'. Can you give me the (Wikipedia) reference?
  15. Modified checkerboard destruction

    Can you think of a reason?
  16. Baggage on a conveyor belt

    I see, I didn’t pay attention. I really want to count only segments that are surrounded by shorter segments.
  17. Modified checkerboard destruction

    Thank you for the kind words, Bonanova. I fear my answer to this one is not so brilliant.
  18. A big, big, big hotel

    OK I think I just found your first blue man.
  19. Worth the Weight

    @aiemdao - Yes, nice solve indeed Aiem. Well done. @bonanova - thanks.
  20. Right Prime

    Any other prime numbers less than 1000.
  21. Worth the Weight

    @aiemdao - Nice solve. @plainglazed - Nice puzzle.
  22. Worth the Weight

    4 light ones/48
  23. @CaptainEd brilliantly answered a puzzle that I mis-worded into a much tougher one. Nice job. Here's the puzzle I had intended to post: You have just lost your 143rd straight game of checkers and have vowed never to play another game. To confirm your vow you decide to saw your wooden checkerboard into pieces that contain no more than a single (red or black) square. With each use of the saw you may pick up a piece of the board and make one straight cut, along boundaries of individual squares, completely through to the other side. You wish to inflict as much damage as possible with each cut, so you first calculate the minimum number of saw cuts needed to finish the job. And that number is ... (spoilers appreciated.)
  24. When midnight strikes

    Isn't this fun? The { real numbers } between 0 and 1 comprise two infinite groups: { rationals } and { irrationals }. Rationals (expressible as p/q where p and q are integers) are countably infinite. We can order them, by placing them in an infinite square of p-q space and drawing a serpentine diagonal path. But the irrationals are not countable. The cardinality (notion of size used for infinite sets) of the rationals is called Aleph0 and for the irrationals (and reals) it's called Aleph1 or C (for continuum.) So first off, what we can do with the { numbers } between 0 and 1 depends on { which numbers } we want to deal with. Next, there's a problem that points are not objects that can be moved from place to place, as coins can. Points are more descriptions of space than of autonomous objects. If 0 and 1 are on a number line, the location midway between them is the point denoted by 0.5. It can't be removed. (We could erase the line, I guess, but that would not produce an interval [0 1] devoid of numbers, either.) But we can finesse this matter by "painting" a point. Kind of like what we did when we inscribed a number on each coin. Painting does a little less - it puts a point into a particular group or class but it does not distinguish among them. We can tell coin 2 from coin 3 and also distinguish both from a coin with no inscription. Two blue points, however, are distinguishable from unpainted points, but not from each other. But for our purpose here, painting is actually enough. Since the { rationals } are countable, we can paint them, in sequence, and if we do that at times of 1, 1/2, 1/4 .... minutes before midnight, all the rationals between 0 and 1 will be painted blue by midnight. (I don't know of a similar scheme for completing uncountable task sets, so the irrationals alas must remain unpainted.) Next, instead of asking whether all the points in [0 1] were removed, we can ask, with pretty much the same meaning, whether at this point the entire interval [0 1] has been painted blue. It should be, right? After all, between any two rationals lie countably infinite other rationals. So the paint must have covered the entire interval, right?. Well ... actually ... the answer is counter-intuitively No. And this is because even though the { rationals } are "dense" meaning there are no "gaps" between them, as noted above, the { irrationals } are even "more dense." That is, between any two irrational numbers there are uncountably many other irrationals. That means, for every blue point we created in the interval [0 1] there are uncountably many unpainted points. We can't magnify the line greatly enough to "see" individual points, but "if we could," if we were lucky enough to come across a single blue point we'd have to pan our camera over uncountably many unpainted points before we saw another blue one. In measure theory, the measure of the rationals over any interval is zero. The measure of the irrationals over [0 1] is unity. So what of our quest of emptying [0 1] of points? It's the same as our quest to paint [0 1] blue by painting all the rational numbers in that interval. (Reminding ourselves that there were too many irrationals to paint one at a time.) Turning again to measure theory, the measure of the "blueness" of the interval would be zero. That means we would not see even the hint of a faint blue haze. Back to our "empty the interval by removing the rationals" quest, Nope. [0 1] would not be empty: uncountably many points (numbers) would remain.
  25. Right Prime

    Some amount of primes.
  26. Right Prime

    Say 5939 is a "right" prime because it remains prime after dropping any number of digits from the right: 5939, 593, 59, and 5 are all prime. How many right primes are there less than 1000?
  27. Four dogs are positioned at the corners of a square (d=1m), chase each other in clockwise direction with the same constant speed . As their target is moving, they will follow a curved path, eventually colliding in the center of the square. Why is the total length of the path just 1m?
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