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grizzly
43083.  Wed Jan 04, 2006 2:51 pm Reply with quote

In the vain of the Rubicks cube some facts about Sudoku:

There are a staggering 6,670,903,752,021,072,936,960 (that's 6.67 billion trillion) possible 9x9 grids. Each one of those has thousands of possible different starting grids that reach the same conclusion.

The Sudoku was invented by Howard Garnes for Dell Magazines in 1979. He was an architect from Indianapolis but died in 1989. The game was rediscoevered by Wayne Gould in Tokyo Japan where it was included in a puzzle book. It had made it to Japan via the Nikoli company, a publisher specialising in logic puzzles. The game has no connection with ancient Japan or China.

The minimum number of numbers in a Sudoku is 17. However, a puzzle with 17 numbers can be either incredibly easy or incredibly hard. The maximum number of numbers in a puzzle that is unsolvable is 77.

Source: Stuck on you, New Scientist, New Years edition

 
Jenny
45269.  Thu Jan 12, 2006 3:25 pm Reply with quote

If you're trying to find an address in Japan, don't necessarily rely on the taxi driver unless you know the landmarks in the area as well.

The Japanese don't have addresses such as 21B Baker Street, but they have addresses such as <apartment number> at <building> at <"suburb" or city sector>

The streets don't have names and it's almost impossible to find somewhere based on an address alone. Each 'town' or district is divided into numbered zones (chomay). These are subdivided into blocks which are then sometimes further divided into numbered buildings, possibly with a room number. In practice, people give directions using landmarks. Even taxi drivers can't find an exact address from only the way it's written.

It used to be worse though. At least now, the building numbers at least roughly correspond to their location; they used to refer to their year of construction.

Source - a British resident of Japan.

 
eggshaped
46670.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:15 am Reply with quote

Here's a news article from Science which I think some may find interesting. Apparently some recent fossil evidence points to the fact that ears originally evolved for breathing.

Quote:
Our ears could have started evolutionary life as a tube for breathing, say scientists, after examining the ancestral structure in a 370-million-year-old fossil fish

Panderichthys was a fish, but is thought to be closely related to the earliest four-limbed tetrapods that eventually climbed on to land and gave rise to modern vertebrates.

The researchers examined Panderichthys and found that the bony structures in its head combine features of fish and tetrapods, capturing a snapshot of evolution in action.

On the basis of this new fossil evidence, the team speculates that the widened spiracle may have served Panderichthys much like the breathing holes used by modern-day sharks and rays. These allow the fish to inhale water over their gills while lying on the seabed, and avoid gulping in grit through the mouth.

The demonstration of an organ evolving provides tangible evidence against the idea, put forward by some proponents of creationism, that sensory organs are so intricate that they must have been designed by a higher being.


http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060116/full/060116-8.html

 
eggshaped
46672.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:22 am Reply with quote

Save the environment; chop down all the trees!

Quote:
Grasses and other green growth may produce 10 to 30 percent of Earth's annual methane output, a new study reports, making plants a surprising—and potentially significant—contributor to global warming.

Until the data were unveiled in this week's Nature, scientists had believed that plant-related methane formed only in oxygen-free environments, such as bogs.

But a team of European researchers identified a large range of plants that release methane under normal growing conditions.


http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/01/0111_060111_plant_methane.html

 
Mr Grue
46676.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:39 am Reply with quote

And of course what produces most of the Earth's oxygen? Our old friend, the algae.

 
Tas
46680.  Thu Jan 19, 2006 7:57 am Reply with quote

Quote:
And of course what produces most of the Earth's oxygen? Our old friend, the algae.


And to work out how much was produced, the used algaebra!

(Or is that what lady alga wear?)

:-)

Tas

 
eggshaped
48846.  Wed Feb 01, 2006 4:17 pm Reply with quote

According to wikipedia all these species of bird exhibit homosexual behavior:

Black-rumped Flameback
Bank Swallow
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Redshank
Yellow-rumped Cacique

and of course,

European Shag

[/childishness]

 
eggshaped
49078.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:44 pm Reply with quote

This in from the Beeb about an old QI fave.

Quote:
An icy, rocky world reported last year to be orbiting the Sun in the distant reaches of the Solar System really is bigger than Pluto, scientists say.

New observations of the object, which goes by the designation 2003 UB313, show it to have a diameter of some 3,000km - about 700km more than Pluto.


The "planet" has been unofficially named Xena after the warrior princess, and this latest measurment has re-opened the old debate about what constitutes a planet.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4667100.stm

(see here for Jumping Jack's previous mention of UB313)

 
Big Bad Bill
53636.  Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:51 pm Reply with quote

The 'crossing over' of nerve fibres, so that the right side of the brain controls and receives sensory information from the left side of the body and vice versa, is known as 'decussation'. This comes from the latin 'decus' = 10! I never quite followed the reason for this until I realised that the Roman numeral for 10 is a cross-'X'-a descriptive derivation of a term rather than having an inherent meaning!

How's that for a first post?

 
Celebaelin
53637.  Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:53 pm Reply with quote

Yippee-Chi-ay!

 
Jenny
53647.  Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:05 pm Reply with quote

Now that is interesting - thanks Big Bad Bill, and welcome :-)

 
tetsabb
53661.  Mon Feb 20, 2006 1:37 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:
According to wikipedia all these species of bird exhibit homosexual behavior:

Black-rumped Flameback
Bank Swallow
Buff-breasted Sandpiper
Redshank
Yellow-rumped Cacique

and of course,

European Shag

[/childishness]


And, being even more childish, with names like that, can one be surprised?

 
eggshaped
57977.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:11 am Reply with quote

According to The Guinness Book of Records, the record for the shortest actor to land a leading role in a movie is Filipino martial artiste Weng Wang.

Wang's biggest role is that of a mini James Bond in films such as Agent 00 and For Your Height Only.

Wang is 2 feet 9 inches, and performs all his own stunts.

 
djgordy
58122.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 12:58 pm Reply with quote

eggshaped wrote:


Wang is 2 feet 9 inches, and performs all his own stunts.



Considering the chances of finding a 2ft 9in stunt double, this is hardly surprising.

 
gerontius grumpus
58213.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 3:36 pm Reply with quote

Plenty of scope for double entendre here.

 

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