Saturday, March 29, 2014

And the winners are ...

The winners of the March Mathville Puzzle are:

  • 1st. place, winner of a $30 gift card to the PVCC Bookstore: Patrice West

  • 2nd place, winner of a $15 gift card to The Mermaid Coffee Cart: Valerie Pors

  • 3rd place, winner of a big Hershey's milk chocolate bar: Richard Lorensen

Winners, please pick up your prizes  by Thursday, April 3rd at 9 p.m., and please bring your student I.D. 

Congratulations to the winners! Thank you to all who played, and please play again next month!

And now for the solution:

After reading the clues, we can rule out Mayor Abscissa Adams, as she is the victim and has no motive to steal an uninsured item she owns herself. That leaves us with 5 suspects.

One of the clues tells us the thief drives a black Nissan.
We know that the person who drives a black Nissan wore blue shoes, so we know the thief wore blue shoes.

We know that the person who wore blue shoes weighs 190 lbs., so we know that the thief drives a black Nissan, wore blue shoes, and weighs 190 lbs. 

We know that the person who weighs 190 lbs. does not have curly hair, so we know that the thief drives a black Nissan, wore blue shoes, weighs 190 lbs., and does not have curly hair.  

Bob Beacham is eliminated because he weighs 210 lbs.

Chris Cavanaugh is eliminated because he drives a green Toyota.

Ella Eames is eliminated because she wore brown shoes. 

Francis Fairfield is eliminated because he has curly hair. 

The only person left is Dale Davidson, and he is the thief. 

Join us in April for another Mathville puzzle! 

In the meantime, if you would like another chance at solving a puzzle for a prize, check out the puzzle posted outside of Room 160 in the main building by Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honors Society.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mathville Puzzles: The Heirloom Salt Cellar

One thing everyone knows in Mathville is that Mayor Abscissa Adams hosts excellent dinner parties for the members of her cabinet. Fine food, champagne and good conversation combine to make a memorable evening. One Friday evening, as a thunderstorm brewed outdoors, Abscissa and her guests sat in the dining room, eating and chatting. The conversation focused on a beautiful salt cellar, which everyone knew had been in the Mayor's family for generations and was usually placed on the table during elegant dinners.

Suddenly, a flash of lightning lit up the night sky outside, followed by deafening thunder. The lights went out for less than 5 minutes and then returned. After a few moments, the conversation resumed, until the Mayor noticed that her salt cellar was missing. The police were called, and after a couple of hours, the detective in charge arrested the thief.

Can you figure out who stole the salt cellar? Here are your clues.
  • Only these people were present in the Mayor's house at the time of the robbery: Mayor Abscissa Adams, Bob Beacham, Chris Cavanaugh, Dale Davidson, Ella Eames and Francis Fairfield.
  • No one else was in the house. 
  • No one entered or exited the dining room. 
  • For the duration of the brief power outage, the house was in complete darkness.
  • The stolen item was not insured. 
  • No two people have the same weight, hair color, car color or make, shoe color, or scarf color.
  • The person who drives a purple Dodge wore tan shoes.
  • Abscissa Adams has grey hair.
  • The person who drives a black Nissan wore blue shoes.
  • The person who weighs 180 pounds drives a green Toyota.
  • Dale Davidson was wearing a purple scarf.
  • Francis Fairfield has curly hair.
  • The person who weighs 150 pounds wore tan shoes.
  • Bob Beacham weighs 210 pounds.
  • Chris Cavanaugh drives a green Toyota.
  • The person who weighs 190 pounds wore blue shoes.
  • The person who was wearing a red scarf is not the one who wore black shoes.
  • The thief drives a black Nissan.
  • The person who drives a white Ford is not the one who weighs 170 pounds.
  • Ella Eames wore brown shoes.
  • The person who weighs 190 pounds does not have curly hair.
The clues above contain all the information you need to figure out the identity of the thief. 

Contest Rules
  • You must send the solution via email to Laura Skinner at
  • Solution due by Thursday, March 27th at 11:59 p.m. Solutions sent after the deadline will not be considered.
  • You must email the solution from your PVCC email address.
  • You must explain how you arrived at the solution -- that is, you must show your work, explain your reasoning. 
  • Only correct solutions with explanations of the reasoning used to arrive at the solution will be considered.
  • Three entries will be drawn from all the correct solutions, to determine a first, second and third place.
  • The first place prize will be a $30 gift certificate to the PVCC Bookstore.
  • The second place prize will be a $15 certificate to the Mermaid Express coffee cart.
  • The third prize will be a big Hershey’s milk chocolate bar.
  • Drawing will be conducted on Friday, March 28th. Winners will be notified by email, and their names will be published on a blog post. 
  • The solution to the puzzle will be published on the blog after winners have been announced.
  • Winners must pick up their prizes by Thursday, April 3rd at 9 p.m., or they forfeit their prizes. Prizes must be picked up in person. Please present your student I.D.
Would you like another chance to solve a puzzle and win a prize? Check out the puzzle posted outside of Room 160 in the main building by Mu Alpha Theta, the Math Honors Society.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Library Showcase: Fun With Art!

Example of line art. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Oscar Wilde wrote that "art is the most intense mode of individualism that the world has known." Art plays a big part in our lives, even if we are not aware of it. Art is present in great buildings, in music, in books, in comics, in drawings, in paintings, in photographs, in doodles, in a word, everywhere. It can be solemn or irreverent, orderly or chaotic. It can be anything. What does art mean to you?

This month the library showcases art in all its forms: digital photography, comics, calligraphy and much more! Come on over and take one of these books home!

The Art and Wonder of Origami -- Learn origami, the traditional Japanese art of paper folding.  Beautiful origami patterns, clear instructions and a CD will help you become proficient in this beautiful art in no time. 

The Art of Polymer Clay: Millefiori Techniques -- Millefiori are intricate patterns from the world of Venetian glass-making. Learn how to recreate these designs with polymer clay.

Art of Sketching -- Covering essential techniques for creating a variety of sketches, this book will help you hone your skills and learn how to work with shadows, textures, contrast and more.

Beginner's Guide to Animation -- If you have a computer, a digital camera and some basic software, you are ready to learn the basics of animation!

Calligraphy Bible -- Calligraphy has been in use since ancient times, enhancing and beautifying other art. Besides exploring the history of calligraphy, this book offers instruction and practice for gilding, illuminating, flourishing and more. Learn how to apply this art to uses such as wedding invitations, letterhead, posters, etc. 

The Complete Guide to Coloured Pencil Techniques -- Whether you are a budding colored pencil artist or further along the way, this book will have something for you. Concise but thorough, it includes technique, helpful Q&A sections and many interesting projects.

The Creative Drawing Course -- A step-by-step book that covers the skills and techniques needed to learn how to draw. Includes many practice exercises. 

Digital Photography: An Introduction -- Easy to read and devoid of jargon, this book will give you a good introduction to mastering the essentials of digital photography.

Drawing with Your Artist's Brain -- This book argues that anyone can draw as long as they fully engage with the creative side of the brain. If you have always been curious about learning to draw, this book will give you a different approach to try.

Drawing Basics and Video Game Art -- Want to design video game graphics? This book will teach you how, from fundamentals to advanced drawing concepts, anatomy, elements of design and more. 

Drawing Words and Writing Pictures -- Do you like comics? Would you like to create comics? Learn the art of visual storytelling in 15 lessons and master "the alchemical language of comics."

Graphic Design School -- Would you like to learn graphic design? This book is structured as a course, and offers tips, techniques and projects, covering all the major fields in graphic design (magazines, books, packaging, advertising and corporate design.) 

How to Make Animated Films -- Become a student in Tony White's master animation class, and learn animation secrets from one of the greats. Includes hands-on tutorials.

Life Drawing Class -- This book introduces techniques, media and strategies for drawing from life, and includes many photos as well as text instructions.

Making Comics -- A comic book about the art of creating comics. Covers all topics, from broad concepts to important technical details.

Painting with Pixels -- You don't need a paintbrush to produce amazing paintings. This book will tell you what you need to use your computer to enter the world of digital art. 

The Pastel Book -- A comprehensive guide to pastels and pastel technique, this book covers  materials and tools, color, using mixed media such as pastels and watercolors, and working with oil pastels.

Polymer Clay Color Inspirations -- This book teaches the polymer clay artist how to create beautiful color palettes for stunning designs. 

The Pop-up Book -- Create amazing 3-D paper art. This book will tell you what you need and how to get started. Numerous photos accompany each project.

Stained Glass Basics -- Learn how to create stained glass objects, from lampshades to hanging decorations, to the traditional windows. 

The Tao of Sketching -- Learn traditional Chinese art techniques to use materials such as brushes and inks, pens, pencils, watercolors, and more, to create beautiful sketches.

Watercolour Landscapes -- This book includes the outlines of five paintings that can pulled out from the book and transferred to watercolor paper. Technique is shown via photos and text instructions. If you have wanted to learn to paint with watercolors but drawing was an obstacle, you should try this book's approach.

You Can Draw! From Pencil to Pastels in 15 Easy Lessons -- This book will teach you how to draw, covering many techniques and offering photos and text instructions. It starts with very basic techniques and gets more complex as it goes along.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

And the winners are ...

The winners of the February math puzzle are:

Albert Hwang, first place, wins a $30 gift certificate to the PVCC bookstore.
Ryan Harris, second place, wins a $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid Coffee Cart.
Matthew Dean, third place, wins a big Hershey's milk chocolate bar.

Congratulations to the winners!

Winners must pick up their prizes no later than Thursday, March 13th, at 9 p.m. or they forfeit their prizes.

And now the solution.

Ages: 2, 2, 9

Events: 13


The first thing you need to do is list the factor combinations that multiply to 36, and eliminate the duplicates (for example: 1,3,12 is the same as 12, 3, 1 and as 3,1,12, so you only need one of those). List the remaining factor combinations that multiply to 36, and list their sums:

    1, 1, 36 - sum is 38
    1, 2, 18 - sum is 21
    1, 3, 12 - sum is 16
    1, 4, 9 - sum is 14
    6, 6, 1 - sum is 13
    2, 2, 9 - sum is 13
    2, 3, 6 sum is 11
    3, 3, 4 sum is 10

Since the woman (who knows how many events there were at the meet) said that this number was not enough information, then there must be more than one factor group that adds up to that number. This leaves two possibilities: 6, 6, 1 and 2, 2, 9. When Susan mentions the "oldest" dog, you know the answer can't be 6, 6, 1, since there isn't an "oldest" number there. So the answer has to be 2, 2, 9, and the number of events then is 13.

Stay in Mathville! A new puzzle is coming in March, and with it a new chance to win prizes.  And for another chance to win a prize for a math puzzle, check the bulletin board outside room M160.  Mu Alpha Theta, the math honors society, posts a monthly math puzzle on the board. Take the challenge!