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Two Bits, No Pieces - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Two Bits, No Pieces
  • Today at work, I wanted to mail a box. Unfortunately for me, my box was slightly too heavy for the 5-pound scale in the mail room. I asked Oliver if he had a bigger scale (because he can usually be counted upon to have one of almost everything except scissors), and he thought he used to, but had disposed of it, maybe in the basement shower room? We both went on quests around the building for scales - Hardware Services had one, but it started at -4 pounds and I was a little suspicious of it - but Oliver couldn't find his, and the only other postage scale, in the basement mail room was also 5 pounds. Bah! Quest thwarted!

    Oliver suggested: put it on both postage scales. Oh! Hey! Yes, of course that would work! And, I'm sure if you had presented it to me as a logic puzzle (You have a 6-pound box, and two five-pound scales: how do you weigh it?) I would have gotten the answer. But I would never have thought of it under actual circumstances. One of umpteen reasons why Oliver is great. :)

  • Exercise bicycle update: Being tired is kind of like being bored. If I am sufficiently distracted, I don't notice so much that I'm tired. However, I seem to have to distract two timelines, not just one. Watching TV is insufficiently distracting (which is why I normally knit while watching TV). Audiobook plus iTouch game is sufficient.

Current Mood: tired tired

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Comments
merastra From: merastra Date: March 26th, 2010 04:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Distractions, yes! Go you! Whatever it takes is good. :-) What games are bikeworthy for you?
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 26th, 2010 11:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm currently working through Puzzle Quest (which I played on the DS before, s it's clearly my genre of game). Drop 7 is also good. (One of my current
favorites is Tilt To Live, but it's balance-based, so not ideal for while exercising, or the NYTimes crossword, but that has too many pauses for thinking. :) )
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: March 26th, 2010 11:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Not that I've tried, but I'm pretty sure I'm not coordinated enough to play an iTouch game while riding a stationary bicycle.

I have not actually tested whether an audiobook would be distracting enough to make exercise not-boring.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 26th, 2010 12:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, I wouldn't want to play a twitch game... :)
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: March 26th, 2010 09:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, you could test the one that started at -4 with various things under 5 pounds to see if it was actually reading x-4 or 2x-4 or whatever.

Or you could reset the zero on one of the five-pound scales so that it was reading x-1 or x-2 or whatever.

I'm leery of the two-scale solution unless the two scales are the same height, just because something sitting tilted is not going to be pushing straight down on either scale, and I don't know how that would affect their accuracy because I don't really know how they're translating pressure into weight
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 26th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
The two scales were the same height. But I don't think you can just reset a non-digital scale to -1 pound - it's a physical constraint in addition to a readout issue.
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: March 26th, 2010 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah; I just checked the ten-pound scale in this room and couldn't reset the zero below negative three ounces. So the two-state solution is probably the best for Israel-Palestine two-scale solution is probably the best for this problem.

Figuring out the response function for the minus-four scale would be more complicated. I expect most people would find it tedious, but it sounds oddly amusing to me.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: March 26th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's true, reading -4 shouldn't automatically rule out the other scale, and it was almost certainly a constant rather than a multiplier - it was a really old-style bathroom scale that went up to 200; there was likely a dial somewhere to adjust the zero. But for a bathroom scale, in addition to its precision being off by 4, I was not really confident of its accuracy. But I left that out for the purposes of making the anecdote shorter. :)
hr_macgirl From: hr_macgirl Date: March 27th, 2010 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
"how many brass rats does it take to weigh a box?"
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