# Recent blog entries for bwtaylor

4pm: Decklin asked why 1024 is the lower bound in his perl solution to the coconuts problem. Basically, you multiply by 5/4 five times in your loop, giving you a denominator of 4^5=1024. Of course, there are all those extra +1's and int functions messing the precision of this statement up "\$x=int(\$x*5/4+1)", but that's why pondering starting with four extra coconuts helps: it's exactly what is needed to remove them.

Coconut Problem Posted by Mattw:
If they'd JUST gathered four more coconuts, then the pile would have split evenly, and four more coconuts would pass to the next stage. Five times four extra coconuts would allow the the pile to reduce by exactly 4/5 and also it would split evenly in five shares at the end. If T was the original pile size, then (T+4)*(4/5)^5*(1/5) would be the resulting coconut share, an integer. Thus T+4 must be a positive multiple of 5^6 = 15625. The smallest solution for T is 15621. Generally T = 15625*n - 4 works for any positive integer n. (original solution)

By the way, regarding the 12-coins Problem: (Nyah-Nyah, nobody got it yet.) There are only 2 platters, not three. Moreover, you should also determine whether the result is lighter or heavier.

I just figured out that on the front page the Recent Diary Entries link shows them together in order. That is swell.

I got an email from an old friend today. Ah, there is nothing better. Here's a fun puzzle for whoever wants it:

The 12 Coins Problem

There are 12 coins, all identical in appearance, and all indentical in weight except for one, which is either heavier or lighter than the remaining 11 coins. Devise a procedure to identify the counterfeit coin in only 3 weighings with a balance.

Big day for Openlaw. The trial briefs for the NY DVD case have been posted. I'm obviously biased for the defense, but I really think the MPAA's brief is lame. It reminds me of marketing FUD. The judge is a more effective advocate for the Plaintiffs than they are.

It appears that raph fixed the bug in some entry forms that causes spaces to get spuriously inserted into hyperlinks that word wrap. Hooray! Perhaps there should be a project relationship called "bug reporter". Or is this a "helper"?.

I tried M17 today. It seems stable and the caching finally works, which is why I wasn't using mozilla before. I think finally this will be my primary browser. Hooray...

I joined the bioperl mailing list today, mainly because of the bioinformatics article by Ewan.

Thanks to samth and schoen for certifying me. I'm not sure I should be a journeyer, but I'm glad to have the priviledges. I noticed that somebody had the nerve to certify Alan Cox as apprentice, so obviously standards are not uniform. I think you should get a "point" for each certification from somebody of that level or higher. Thus Alan Cox would be a 175-point master (I didn't really count, but it's a LOT) and I would be a 1-point journeyer.

Also, I noticed that Wendy Seltzer joined, so I certified her. She is a lawyer who hacks perl while she's not fighting for "Your Rights Online" via the Openlaw project.

Wow, miniver certified me. Thanks, man. I'm curious why you did, since I don't actually know you.

<humor>
I am reminded of the scene in the movie "The Jerk" where Steve Martin rejoices over the arrival of the new phone book, which contains his name for the first time. "Things are going to start happening to me now" he exclaims as a serial killer randomly flips to his name.
</humor>

I just submitted a short comment to the Copyright Office in response to their RFC regarding the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA). Robert S. Thau also submitted a long comment, which I am co-author (although Robert did most of it).