Thursday, December 18, 2014

Library hours

Happy holidays, everyone! The library will be closed from December 20, 2014 until January 4, 2015. Enjoy your winter break; we know we will!

Monday, December 8, 2014

And the winners are...

We received many responses to the last Mathville puzzle. From all the correct responses, 10 winners were drawn randomly. There are two first places, four second places, and four third places.

The winners of The Advertising Executive puzzle are:

1st place ($30 gift card to the bookstore)

Paula Woods
Miranda Elliott Rader

2nd place ($15 gift card to The Mermaid Cafe)

Robert Porter
Tess Meadows
Brian Quinlan
Ashley London

3rd place (a big Hershey's milk chocolate bar)

Michelle Stanislaus
Veronica Deighan
Sarah Dolan
Matthew Jordan

And now the answer to the puzzle

The question was:  If Joachimsthal's Notations Office is assigned to the seventh slot, then which of the following MUST be assigned to the fifth slot?

The answer is: Keith Numbers, Attorney at Law (choice E) MUST be placed in the 5th slot.

We start by placing Joachimsthal's Notations Office in the 7th slot.  Next we place Fibonacci's and Hypercube in the fourth slot. But Hypercube can't occupy the fourth slot, because if it did, there wouldn't be enough room after it for Bary Center Housewares, Data Structure Computers, and Keith Numbers. That leaves Fibonacci's occupying the fourth slot. This leaves only slots 2 and 3 for Bary Center Housewares and Data Structure Computers, and forces Hypercube Builders into the first slot. Now Keith Numbers must be placed,  but it can't go next to Joachimsthal's (because of the rules), so the only open slot for it is #5. Cantor's Point Realty would then occupy slot #6.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Library showcase: A Season of Giving

Source: Pixabay
Thanksgiving has come and now that even the leftovers are gone, most of us are eagerly looking forward to the winter holidays! We often think of this time of year as a season of holiday parties, festive decorations, and shopping, but it can also be a season of giving. The holidays are a great time to volunteer, help out at a charity event, or give a donation to a non-profit organization. Amid the commercialism of our modern Christmas traditions, let's strive to practice principles of generosity and compassion. For a great book on the importance of giving, check out Showing Up For Life: Thoughts on the Gifts of a Lifetime by Bill Gates Sr., or Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World by Bill Clinton.

Discover how even a single person can make a world of difference through the inspiring stories of visionary humanitarians in The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World by John Wood, and Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Generosity and kindness are fundamental traits of humanity; you could even say that helping others is an essential part of what makes us human. Explore the human instinct for philanthropy in More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger and The Art of Being Kind by Stefan Einhorn.

In To Heal a Fractured World: The Ethics of Responsibility, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks writes, “We are here to make a difference, a day at a time, an act at a time, for as long as it takes to make the world a place of justice and compassion.” Find out what roles you can play to further this vision in The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty by Peter Singer or Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

There are many ways you can get involved with volunteer work and humanitarian efforts, both in your own backyard and in communities across the globe! For practical ideas about incorporating volunteer work into your daily routine see How You Can Help: An Easy Guide to Doing Good Deeds in Your Everyday Life by William D. Coplin, The Busy Family’s Guide to Volunteering by Jenny Friedman, and World Volunteering: The World Guide to Humanitarian and Development Volunteering.

Whatever holidays you are celebrating this month, take a moment to share a bit of holiday cheer with someone else: help a person in need, give back to your community, and make a difference in the world around you.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Mathville puzzles: the advertising executive

Aliquot Part is an advertising executive with Abelian Group Advertising, located at 31416 Adams Circle in Mathville. Mr. Part is in charge of scheduling the commercial breaks for the show Chain Rule, a top rated TV show in Mathville.

For the first commercial break there are seven slots available for advertisements. These slots are numbered 1 through 7, in the order in which they will be aired.

Mr. Part has lined up the following commercials to air during the first commercial break:

Bary Center Housewares
Cantor's Point Realty
Data Structure Computers
Fibonacci's Italian Restaurant
Hypercube Builders
Joachimstahl's Notations Office Store
Keith Numbers, Attorney at Law

Mr. Part must schedule only one commercial per time slot, and the arrangement of the spots is subject to the following rules:

(1)The Bary Center Housewares and Data Structure Computers commercials must occupy consecutive time slots.

(2)The Bary Center Housewares commercial must be aired during an earlier time slot than the commercial for Keith Numbers, Attorney at Law.

(3)The commercial for Data Structure Computers must be aired during a later time slot than the one for Hypercube Builders.

(4)If the commercial for Hypercube Builders is not in the fourth time slot, then the ocmmercial for Fibonacci's Italian Restaurant must be in the fourth time slot.

(5)The commercials for Keith Numbers, Attorney at Law, and for Joachimsthal's Notations Office Store cannot occupy consecutive time slots.

Keeping in mind the rules, answer this question:

If Joachimsthal's Notations Office is assigned to the seventh slot, then which of the following MUST be assigned to the fifth slot?

(A) Bary Center Housewares
(B) Cantor's Point Realty
(C) Data Structure Computers
(D) Fibonacci's Italian Restaurant
(E) Keith Numbers, Attorney at Law

Contest Rules

  • You must send the solution via email to Laura Skinner at
    Solution due by Saturday, December 6th, 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 and/or explain your reasoning.
  • Only correct solutions with explanations of the reasoning used to arrive at the solution will be considered.
  • From the pool of qualifying entries, nine winners will be randomly selected: two first place winners, three second place winners, and four third place winners.
  • The first place winners will each be awarded a $30 gift certificate to the PVCC Bookstore.
  • The second place winners will each be awarded a $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid Express coffee cart.
  • The third prize winners will each be awarded a big Hershey’s milk chocolate bar.
  • Drawing will be conducted on Monday, December 8th, 2014. 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 Friday, December 12th at 4 p.m., or they forfeit their prizes. Prizes must be picked up in person. Please present your student I.D.

And the winners are...

Mrs. Blivet's final exam turned out to be quite challenging for non-Mathvillians. None of the respondents got all the questions right, so Mrs. Blivet threw out one question, and this yielded 4 qualifying entries, with 7 responses each. One first place and 3 second places were drawn randomly from these entries.

The winners are:

Peter Kleeman -- $30 gift certificate to the PVCC bookstore.
Seth McElroy -- $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid cart.
Robert Porter -- $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid cart.
Alexander Mertz -- $15 gift certificate to the Mermaid cart.

Winners must pick up their prizes at the library by December 5th at 4 p.m.

And now for the answers to all eight questions.

What USA state is surrounded by the most water?
Hawaii. The clue is in the question. "Surrounded" means "all around." Only Hawaii has water all around.

You have only one match. You enter a dark room in which there are an oil lamp, a wood burning stove, and a candle. Which would you light first?
The match, of course.  

There are 100 houses on Protractor Road. House numbers are 1 to 100. How many houses have the number 9 in their address?
19  houses. 

The Sun is about 100  million miles from the Earth. The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second, and light takes 8 minutes to reach the Earth. The sun rose at 6:11 this morning. A warp in the space-time continuum causes the speed of light to double. What time will the sun rise tomorrow?
Approximately 6:11 am.  The speed of light does not influence sunrise. The rotation of the Earth does. 

If five thousand, five hundred and three dollars is written as $5,403, how would fifteen thousand, fifteen hundred, and fifteen dollars be written?
$16,515  (15,000 + 1,500 +15= 16,515)

Why are 2001 dollar coins worth more than 1999 dollar coins?
Because 2001 coins are two more coins than 1999 coins.  

A train leaves Octagon Station exactly on time. The train conductor leaves the driver's cab and walks the length of the train, taking  half an hour to do so. He then returns to the cab at the same speed. When he arrives at the cab, the train is pulling into Cartesian Station, which is 60 miles from Octago. How fast was the train moving?
60  miles per hour. The speed of the conductor is irrelevant for this problem. You only need to know the time elapsed and the distance traveled. 

If half of 5 were 3, how much would one third of 10 be?
It would be 4, because if 3x3 = 5, then 3x4=10, and if we divide 3x4 into 3, the two 3s cancel out and we get 4. 

 Stand by for the next Mathville puzzle!