21 February 2018

Another puzzle. Arranging digits

Do not write the answer in the Comments section. If you get the answer, simply message me on FB or write in the Comments section that you got it (without actually giving away the answer).

Can you come up with a 8 digited number where the digits are 1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4 and the following are true:
There are exactly 4 digits between the two “4”s in the number.
There are exactly 3 digits between the two “3”s in the number.
There are exactly 2 digits between the two “2”s in the number.
There is exactly 1 digit between the two “1”s in the number.

So, 12344321 cannot be an answer since there are 6 digits between the “1”s, 4 digits between the “2”s etc etc etc.

What is the number? (Hint: There are two answers)

21 February 2018

From the bartender’s corner – Siberian Express Martini

To switch up a little, went with a vodka based cocktail rather than a gin based cocktail. Although martinis used to be originally with gin, most are made with vodka today.

This has Smirnoff vanilla vodka, Chambord raspberry liqueur and Godiva dark chocolate liqueur.

The proper garnish for this drink is a raspberry which I had none of. Another variation is to sprinkle chocolate on the rim…

20 February 2018

The immutable truths of social media

[Yes, this is what I do if it rains when I am supposed to be motorbiking outside 🙂 ]

“Law of first reader advantage” STATES
The reader, upon reading a joke for the first time in his or her life, will immediately conclude that nobody else has ever heard that joke before ever.

“Corollary to the above law” (what is good for the goose is good for the geese) STATES
A reader, upon receiving a joke in one group, will immediately conclude that no other group has ever seen that joke before either.

“Law of overreaction” (Newton was wrong. Reaction is always greater than action) STATES
Upon such conclusion, the reader will venture to remove the world’s ignorance around that joke post haste by posting it to everybody with disproportionate haste.

“Law of false equivalency” STATES
What holds good for jokes holds good for hoaxes too.

“Law of positive correlation” STATES
Everything else remaining the same, more sensational the hoax, more gullible the reader will be. And faster the hoax will be posted to everybody else.

“Law of washing hands” STATES
When pulled up for spreading hoaxes, the reader will simply put a “Forwarded as received” disclaimer. Upon which the “Law of first reader advantage” will kick in.

Care to add some more of yours? 🙂

19 February 2018

From the bartender’s corner: Gin #31 – 3 Howls Old Fashioned Gin

The first curiosity that I had to overcome was to understand where the name came from. From their website, I go to know that this goes back to a Scottish folklore of a red-eyed giant wild hound (looks like a wolf) that used to howl three times before taking souls to the underworld. A similar creature is there in Irish folklore as well as some Welsh folklore. All these consider the monster as a harbinger of death.

Beyond that, the website really does not have much helpful details on the details of the gin – including the botanicals used, the iterations of distillation and all that. They do not even spell out the base alcohol but do make some tall claims about how good their products are. The gin is made in Seattle, USA (and not Scotland as you might have thought by now).

It being a very young distillery (a little over four years old) and me never have taken a liking towards American Style Gin (3 Howls position itself between London Dry and American style), my expectations were very low. Also the fact that none of the other gin reviewers I knew had ever reviewed this prepared me to expect very little.

That said – or maybe because of the low expectations – I did not find the gin to be too bad. The nose is mostly citrusy. However, it is in the palate that you notice the distinction first. It fills in the mouth very quickly. There are the citrus notes and the juniper that make their presence felt almost immediately. But more than that, there is a certain bite to it. I almost want to suggest a faint hint of spiciness (peppery might be a better description). The finish was long and very rich with the junipers.

I liked the “on the rocks” version far more than I liked the G&T. In the G&T, I felt the tonic clashed too much with the biting of the gin in the mouth.

Overall, I would say this is a good gin. Not the most memorable. But at least it got me to start respecting American style gins a little.

I will try with cocktails and report back how it goes.

17 February 2018

Where did that come from – a “checkmark”?

Have you noticed how in many forms and applications, you use the “checkmark” symbol to say “Yes”? It is often called – and I remember in India that is what we used to call – a “tick” mark in other parts of the world. Some of you growing up in India, probably also remember the “tick” mark on your answer sheet that the teacher used to put if you got the answer right and a big “X” if you got it wrong.

Almost universally, that “check” is used to say Yes and the “X” is used to say No. There are exceptions though. In many forms in US – in general when it is a multiple choice question – for example the US customs form, you put in a “X” to mark the correct option. Also in certain places like Sweden and Korea the check mark stands for “No” or “False”.

The question is – why do we say “Yes” or “True” with that weird character – one short stroke from left to right downwards first and then a longer stroke upwards left to right next. Turns out there is a very interesting history of this symbol. It goes way back to the Roman Empire.

In the Roman Empire, when voting, citizens would put a “V” sign against the candidate that they chose. The “V” stood for the latin word “veritas” – mean “true” or “affirm”. (Remember “In Vino, Veritas” – in wine lies the truth?). This “V” symbol took a life of its own as it got used over a long period of time.

So, how did we get to the short line on the left? Well, for that we have to blame fountain pens. Or rather the pre-cursor to fountain pens – the “reservoir pens”. While “dip” pens (like the quill pens) were simply dipped into ink and then written, the “reservoir” pens held ink inside of it (like a modern day fountain pen). References to these kind of pens go back earlier than the 10th century. I understand Leonardo da Vinci used to use a form of this pen too.

In any case, while this design took away the need to carry ink with you all the time (which was clumsy at best), the modern day engineering advances of nibs was still not available. The flow from the barrel of ink inside to the tip of the nib outside was not very smooth. If you wrote with those pens, for the first fraction of a second, you would not have any ink (the nib tip would have dried) but momentarily the ink would start flowing in (as the capillary action set in). This is what will happen to a modern day fountain pen too if you have not used it for some time resulting in dry ink in the nib. That is why often, after pouring ink in, you draw a lot of straight lines on a piece of paper till the ink starts flowing.

Well, so, every time, they wrote a big “V” to ascertain their choice and opinion, the top of the left line (which is where you start) would not get marked since the ink would have not pushed thru the dry portion of the nib yet. But moment it came in, the rest of the letter would be fine.

Over the years, all those “V”s in elections and other choices, tended to have a short left line and then eventually, it became a symbol unto itself – which is today known as a “check” mark or a “tick” mark!