Friday, August 19, 2016

TL;DR, an Underfable


Once upon a time a Reader wandered into the back of a second-hand bookstore. The immortal Spirits hanging out there quickly hid inside the books that they wrote when alive.
The Reader paused to scan a shelf. He saw an enormous leather-bound tome; Megabiblion, by Loquacius Maximus. He said, “I’ve heard of that!” He reached up, pulled it down, and blew on it. A huge cloud of dust billowed; he coughed. The Reader opened the front cover; inside someone had written “to the Mayor” in gold ink. The Reader opened Megabiblion to the middle and read a passage at random. He scratched his head. He riffled three pages forwards, then six backwards. He closed the tome and heaved a sigh.
Before returning the book to the shelf, the Reader removed a slim volume, to make room. He heaved Megabiblion back into its niche, then looked at the book that he took out. It was Half-Witticisms, by Tilder. The Reader opened the book to the middle, read a passage at random, and Tilder’s immortal Spirit whispered this Fable’s Moral.
The Reader smiled. He looked left, he looked right. He closed the slim volume and slipped it into a coat pocket. Then he strolled, whistling, to the front of the bookstore, past the desk, and out the door.

Moral: Never waste a perfect stranger’s time.

Comment: The title means “too long, didn’t read”. The Moral was writing advice from Kurt Vonnegut. Everybody reads Tilder’s Half-Witticisms from cover to cover, but only Loquacius Maximus has ever read all of Megabiblion.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Carrollian Quatrain Solved

Carrollian Quatrain Solved

Once Charles L. Dodgson got an invitation to a party; to which he austerely replied, in the persona of Lewis Carroll:

Yet what are all such gaieties to me
  Whose thoughts are full of indices and surds?
x^2 + 7x + 53
        = 11 / 3.

I went to the trouble of solving it:
x  =  (-7/2)   +/-   i sqrt(1335) / 6

Note that 1335 = 3*5*89; three prime Fibonacci factors!