October 12th, 2005

krazy koati

I'm glad it's your birthday

Wow. As near as I can figure, today -- well, actually tomorrow, since I'm just posting after midnight instead of more honestly on the day -- marks the 10th anniversary of my first, tentative, hesitant playing of Austin Dern. Remarkably, it took only about four months to get a good handle on a character that's essentially the real life me, apart from being more likely to actually say out loud the jokes I keep making instead of muttering them so softly nobody realizes I'm saying anything. That natural soft-spokenness is a good habit when you're ridiculing a movie in the cinemas; it's a bad habit when you're trying to order in a restaurant.

It's been an opening that let me meet a good number of interesting people, many of whom I've lost contact with except through the Livejournal, which ironically quickly turned into a real-life diary. I'm tempted to start making stuff up. But some of you have known me on the order of a decade now, and thank you for being there, and I hope I've been interesting enough to be worth it.

In big-picture news, the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board apologized for something called a PLSE Mathematics exam. I can't find what the `PLSE' stands for, but it appears to be standardized tests for middle-school-age students. It seems they asked a question which, it turns out, couldn't be answered. They'll be giving points to all students, whether they answered or not, and are sorry for it. They say it's the first error in a PLSE examination, though I'd bill it as the first known. I feel a bit better.

If you're curious, the problem is: a rectangle of length 15 cm and height 6 cm is divided along a diagonal (from lower-left to upper-right corner, for the record). At a point along the diagonal a new horizontal and vertical are drawn, so the rectangle is divided into four smaller rectangles, two of which are themselves divided into triangles. Triangle A is one of the two in the lower-left corner; triangle B is one of the two in the upper-right corner; rectangle C is the lower-right rectangle (width of triangle B, height of triangle A). If the area of triangle A is 4 square centimeters, and that of B is 10 square centimeters, then what is the area of rectangle C? (Bonus points if you figure out which condition has to be dropped to make the problem self-consistent.)

Trivia: The first detailed history of coatis pioneering into a new territory was of the 1969-70 colonization of Kitt Peak National Observatory by a tribe. Source: Chulo: A Year Among the Coatimundis, Bil Gilbert.

Currently Reading: Watt's Perfect Engine, Ben Marsden.