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Math Quiz - Time and Space

Wasted most of the morning while waiting for my ride to Mittersill with this math puzzle from this morning's Guardian, which doesn't seem to be in the online edition... so I am breaking every fucking copyright issue in the world, and proud of it, to ask you this...

Three smooth politicians - A, B & C; A pays B what B already has to ask a question in the house; B then pays C what C already has to ask a question in the house; finally C pays A what A already has to ask a question in the house. All three end up with £1000. What had they started off with?

My working out would have to be the untidiest, most illogical, half-remembered high-school (oops, primary school in Singapore) mathematics that ever produced the right answer. Eventually. OK after 30 minutes. It is a while since I've done something like this.


Also in the Guardian Review, a posthumous essay (like this posthumous blog) from Susan Sontag on writing.

I like the apocryphal story she rehashes about the philosophy student who tries to summarize Kant's explanation of Time and Space in The Critique of Pure Reason:

"Time exists in order that everything doesn't happen all at once ... and space exists so that it doesn't all happen to you."

In the context of the importance of narrative in the novel, this is quite funny. It's quite funny already actually. However, it wouldn't be quite as quite funny in this context if she had used the version I had previously heard, which ends: "space exists so that it doesn't all happen at the same place."

Also it is ironic, as I am currently reading my ex-flat-mate's cousin's novel The Witch of Cologne which features the young Immanuel Kant as a character...



Posted by: expat@large on Mar 17, 07 | 7:07 pm | Profile


Re: the math puzzle: Are we to assume that A, B, and C each started out with the same amount?

Posted by: Samantha on Mar 18, 07 | 6:06 am

No, we don't assume that. Actually, they started with £1375, 875 and 750, respectively :)

Sorry for the spoiler, I'm proud of myself since it only took me 20 minutes, hehe. Other than that, I have the same ability for drinking beer than E@L, and surely the same or bigger beer-belly and appearance. Gee, I feel identified with your pics, dude. If you feel thepressed however, drop by Shanghai and we'll have a good time.

I enjoy the blog, keep up with the good job !

Greetings from Shanghai,

Posted by: Jose on Mar 18, 07 | 8:35 pm

whatever... *all time best california gurl voice*

my town

i still having fun with my new skill!!!

Posted by: savannah on Mar 19, 07 | 3:58 am

Congrats Jose - when I said it took me 30 minutes, I was being disingenuous. I really meant 19 minutes but I didn´t want to scare people awav!!

Efuckwhereiseverythingonthis germankeyboardL

Posted by: expat@large on Mar 19, 07 | 6:30 pm


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