It’s only a short while to Christmas. Ludamus wishes all its readers a happy festive season. And since we all like puzzles, here’s one to keep you occupied over the turkey and pud.
In the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, how many presents are mentioned in total? (Clue: It’s not just 1+2+3…+11+12, if you add up each verse)
Even in the age of the computer and its old-fashioned relative, the calculator, some quirks of arithmetic are just too good to miss (to ludamus, at any rate).
Ask a friend to name their favourite digit between 1 and 9: they may say, for instance, “6”.
Now give them the number 12345679 (that’s right – with the digit 8 missing), and tell the to multiply it by 54 (which is just 6 times 9). They can do it on a calculator, or if they’re the kind of person who likes cold showers every morning and goes about wearing a hair shirt, they can try it by hand with pencil and paper.
The answer will be 666666666.
Whatever digit they give you, just ask them to multiply 12345679 by that digit times 9: for instance, if they tell you that their favourite digit is 7, tell them to multiply by 63, which will give them 777777777, and so on.
It may be a pointless mathematical fact, or there may be a reason behind why it works which you might like to investigate. In any case, it’s fun and surprising.
Once again on the topic of English, we revisit the humble comma once again.
Without making a meal of it, there’s a difference between
“Let’s eat, Grandpa”
“Let’s eat Grandpa”.
If the new Firefox 29 (Australis) has been driving you up the wall with its insistence on where you will have your buttons, then there’s a solution. Ludamus has been discomfited by the refresh button being permanently embedded in the address bar, and the refresh button being merged with the stop one.
There’s also the extra irritation of the back and forward buttons being glued into one chunk, but the really big issue is that Firefox’s customisation options doesn’t allow you to change these things. Did they find it too difficult to code, or are they just telling that we don’t know our own minds?
Firstly, use Firefox’s customising feature to change as much as you can.
Then use the Tools > Addons>Get Addons to search the add-ons for Firefox, and choose and install Classic Theme Restorer.
Once you’ve got this installed, you can repair some of the Mozilla-induced damage to your browser.