Monday, April 1, 2013

Hello, Brainiac?

TOS: Yo, Brainiac! My main man!

B: Oh ... you again.

TOS: We had some important questions come up at the on-after last night. Like the one about ticks. Can they really live in trees for 70 years waiting to fall on a passing kangaroo? That's what Stick Insect said.

B: He obviously took way too many drugs back in the '70s. Most ticks live only a year or two. But yes, they can go into a kind of hibernation state and survive over 20 years, on little or no food.

TOS: So can snails dehydrate and then be revived?

B: Sure, watch this. But if they dehydrate too much, they die, just like hashers without beer. But again, this is more of a hibernation state than true cryptobiosis, in which all apparent signs of life stop. The champions of that are brine shrimp, which can totally dry up and then come back to life many years later if returned to saltwater.

TOS: OK, now Beavershot says that Thai has a special classifier only for clocks.

B: That would be reuan (เรือน). See the list here

TOS: He also claimed that the most famous of all limericks is the one that starts "There once was a man from Nantucket". But he didn't make a very good case for it because he couldn't remember the rest of it.

B: It has been called the "iconic" limerick opening. The classic version goes:

     There once was a man from Nantucket

     Whose dick was so long he could suck it.
          And he said with a grin
          As he wiped off his chin,
     "If my ear were a c**t I would f**k it!"

TOS: And finally, a puzzler. A farmer loans his neighbor a 40lb weighing stone. But when the neighbor comes back the next day, he says, "I'm terribly sorry, it broke into four pieces." The farmer looks at the four pieces and says, "Actually you've done me a favor. With these I can now weigh anything from 1 pound to 40." So what are the weights of the four pieces?

B: That's absurdly easy. You figure it out. 


  1. As you say, Brainy Hack, absurdly easy. It's a power series (with Xo being equal to 1) in which all possible real numbers up to the sum of the nth term can be derived by combining the positive and negative values of the terms of the power series. Of more challenge would be proving that this property holds for any value of n, i.e that all real numbers between 0 and Xo+X+X2+X3....Xn can be derived from any power series up to Xn, i.e. that if the farmer's stone had weighed 121 pounds and split into 5 pieces that the farmer would have been able to wigh anything from 1 - 121 pounds and that if it had weighed 364 pounds etc. etc.

    1. Pierre de fermatApril 1, 2013 at 6:22 PM

      Uh, Uh! Monsieur l'Oef. Zat eez not correct! Eet eez moi theory zat zis property of power series eez confined to those up to numero trois. I 'aipothezize zat eet eez not true for any nombeuuuuurs larger than 3. Zis is my penultimate theorem, of which I 'ave a wonderful proof, but there eez not space in this comment box to set it out in full!

    2. The Great BrainiacApril 1, 2013 at 6:36 PM

      Correct, Fermat. It works for only two integers, 2 and 3. And here is the proof: given a-- hey you, don't touch that plug! No! Argzzzzttt*#&$^@#!