A Perfect Waste o’ Time

29-03-2012 19-16-27I told you how I shrugged off the burden of evening academia and became a free man again. Today, I’ll tell you how I spent some of the newly found spare time. Moreover, I am providing you with a way to spend your spare time:

I was exploring LiveCode, a playful programming language which caught my interest thanks to its different approach, compared to many other languages.

Unfortunately, LiveCode is not only slightly different but also vastly inferior than many other languages and tools, but it’s good fun to some level. In pretty short time, starting from not knowing about the existence of LiveCode, I produced a perfect waste of time: a little application that resembles the 1970’s puzzle where you had to slide 15 out of 16 numbered tiles into the correct positions. The LiveCode makers host an example which implements a similar game; I should point out that I disagree with this example’s approach to the problem. My little time waster contains no code from that example application, although some similarities necessarily exist.

My perfect waste of time starts with with a 3×3 grid, but the grid grows with each level. You can use numbered tiles (just turn off the Use Pictures feature), but by default, you get a picture puzzle, which we find much harder than numbers.

You’ll find a Perfect Waste o’ Time right here.

Go on! What are you wasting your time reading this article, when there are better ways of wasting your time?

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Is Three Times Seven The Optimum?

wheelsYou will remember that dice are made of six square sides, carrying one to six pips on each sides. The pips (or points, or eyes) are arranged such that pips on opposing sides add up to seven: one opposes six, two opposes five, and three opposes four. Each pair adds up to seven.

Why is that, I wonder?

What stops me from manufacturing regular dice with sides adding up to six (one, opposing five, and two, opposing four) and nine (three, opposing six)? Or four (one, opposing three), six (two, opposing four), and eleven (five, opposing six)?

I can only think of one reason: maybe, designing dice such that the sum of pips on opposing sides equals seven, is not at all about the sum being seven. Maybe, the argument is that all pairs of opposing sides add up to the same number results in fairly balanced dice (the weight across all axis levels, so that the centre of gravity is in the geometrical centre of the body)?

I tried a few alternative designs, and have not yet found a design that produces equal sums of pips on all pairs of opposing sides, other than seven.

Can you?

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