14 June 2008

Barleycorn Bay

See earlier puzzles for, er, something of an explanation.

“Now listen close-like,” said my new friend, “'cos I'm only going to say this once. All the inhabitants of Barleycorn Bay, and I've met them each and every one, are either heroes or vagabonds. Or both. Every one of the heroes is blonde; every one of the vagabonds is a magician, except for any that be Quakers; and all the magicians are nanny goats. Every one that isn't a walrus isn't a ruminant.”

“Isn't a what?” I said.

“And every living soul in Barleycorn Bay that isn't clean-shaven is red-headed, excepting the nanny goats of course. Needless to say,” he added, scratching his beard with a steel hook, “there are no clean-shaven pirates.”

I thought it over for a while. “Is there such a thing,” I wondered aloud, “as a nanny goat that's also a walrus?”

“I reckon there could be,” he replied, “although I've never met one.”

“What about a blonde redhead?”

“Don't be ridiculous.”

01 June 2008


David Macaulay wrote and illustrated a book entitled Castle. If you have a child four or older, you have a perfect excuse to buy it. Mill is fascinating, too.

That “if Microsoft designed the iPod package” video was commissioned by Microsoft. To my mind, that makes it even cleverer.

In an underground passageway somewhere near Shinjuku, there is a machine that cleans your glasses.

A hot-air balloon that can carry 8 people costs “all your money”. Or if you prefer, about a hundred thousand dollars.

You can write a regular expression that matches only strings of a composite number of x's. (Hint: Too easy for a hint.)

I knew that Galileo discovered the first four of Jupiter's moons, the Galilean moons. I didn't know that the fifth known moon wasn't discovered until almost 300 years later, when Tennesseean E. E. Barnard discovered Amalthea.

And it took me completely by surprise to learn that Richard Feynman ever worked at a computer hardware startup, Thinking Machines Corporation.