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Saturday night's all right for puzzlin' - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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September 2nd, 2005


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11:45 pm - Saturday night's all right for puzzlin'
1) The Indian qualifying test for the World Puzzle Championship is taking place on Sunday morning, local time, but the distance between India and California means that Pacific Daylight Time is 12½ hours behind Indian Standard Time and so West Coast solvers might well enjoy having a go. The qualifying competition is held over four rounds between 11:00 IST and 15:20 IST (so 22:30 PDT to 02:50 PDT, or very silly times in the morning indeed in Europe) with breaks; rounds have individual time limits and some offer bonus points for fast responders. It's a very impressive set-up.

Previous Indian qualifying tests have been full of puzzly goodness, plus (rarely but usefully) have definitely been a shade easier than the US qualifier. Inventing a fake Indian identity in order to register and have your performance officially scored would be severely frowned upon, I think, but there's no reason why people can't play along at home - possibly time-shifting the puzzles to a more reasonable hour, and trying to guess whether your answers would have been quick enough to score the bonus points. The Indian puzzle set-up also have a very nice concept for a National Puzzle Week to provide people with highly accessible introductions to favourite WPC formats, but unfortunately they don't seem to have got the material out in time. I am convinced that the Indian team will eventually be giants, and I note they claim to have received interest from Maths Olympiad types, so perhaps they may make it quicker than I think.

2) Without wanting to be all Smashie-and-Nicie about it, I do the charity card thing to augment my giving through employer matching, Gift Aid and so on. (See? I'm really dead stingy, me.) However, I haven't seen a way to give towards relief of Hurricane Katrina using money from my charity card. One might have expected the Disasters Emergency Committee to be all over this, were it not for a limited element insisting on parochialism in such matters. Does anyone know of such a route, please?

3) Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have released their winter fares now and dressed it up as a September Sale. (Delta have released at least some of their cheap winter fares now, without any such fanfare, and it's probably happened from all the big players.) It looks to me like there might be another ten or twenty pounds to come off at some point - but given how high the fuel surcharges are compared to this time last year, I can't imagine much more than that. Fuel surcharges, taxes and the like are coming perilously close to half the cost of the cheapest transatlantic flights as it is.

4) My new second-hand computer is up and running! It came back with XP Home and SP 2 installed, I sneaked ZoneAlarm and two anti-spyware things across from another computer before it got a whiff of the Internet, but since then everything has been both hunky and dory. Hurrah. It is very quiet, about twice as fast as the old machine, has eight times the memory and twelve times the hard disk. It is still, therefore, about two years out of date.

5) The cold mentioned in my previous post turned out only to be a 44-hour bug, hurrah, and I missed only one night shift from work, feeling OK enough to go in for the next one. However, since then, I have suffered an intermittent return of sneezing and gloopy nose, but really nothing to stop me - just to make me feel at about 95%. Tomorrow I have a haircut and a driving lesson before the England match, so let's get on with it!
Current Mood: rejuvenatedimproving

(9 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:September 2nd, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Wahoo!! Evil bug! Evil!!!

A driving lesson? You mean driving a car???
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 2nd, 2005 11:54 pm (UTC)
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Yep. I have had something like 20-25 hours of lessons already, so am probably a little over half-way towards my practical test.
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:September 3rd, 2005 12:05 am (UTC)
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That's great, but why so late? I had a license here at 16. We do tend to need our cars a bit more in California I suppose, but still. Planning on immigrating? ;) Should I have my suit pressed? Are you registered yet? LOL
From:(Anonymous)
Date:September 3rd, 2005 02:20 am (UTC)
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>I haven't seen a way to give towards relief of Hurricane Katrina
and
>Both British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have released their winter fares now... it looks to me like there might be another ten or twenty pounds to come off at some point

An interesting juxtaposition of topics, there. Given that people are wagging their fingers at global warming for the increasingly violent nature of the weather, and that air travel is one of the worst culprits of air polution, I wonder if this will make it more likely that the US will sign the Kyoto Agreement?

Call me a hard-headed bastard if you want, but does the world's richest country need aid?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 3rd, 2005 02:04 pm (UTC)
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See thread below, in connection with us pesky (semi-)frequent flyers who can't be content to take a partner from their own village and so pump tons of toxins into the environment. Think global, score local? Well, we're working on it :-)

does the world's richest country need aid?

Some people there certainly do. This has always been the case, but more acutely so than usual at the moment.
From:daweaver
Date:September 3rd, 2005 09:09 am (UTC)
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1. Someone is going to tell us what's wrong with doing mind-blowingly difficult puzzles at 6.30 CET on a Sunday morning. Ah, that's right. It's the whole 6.30 on a Sunday morning thing.

2. Take this one up with Michael Cherkoff, the opposition Corporatist spokey on Internal Security And Refusing All Offers Of Overseas Aid. It's a policy that anyone with a brain can see is self-defeating and reminiscent of the worst excesses of third-world dictatorships. Oh.

3. Would there, I wonder, be a way of using the Charity Card to contribute to flight emission offsets (or here, which produces a curiously different rate of conversion)?

5. You had me going for a moment there, "England" being synonymous with the Ashes side, not in action again until Thursday...
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 3rd, 2005 02:00 pm (UTC)
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1) I don't think they'll be too bad - or, at least, there will be a number of puzzles which come in both "mind-blowingly difficult" and "accessible" flavours.

3) Not with either of those links, because both Climate Care and Future Forests are companies rather than charities - but any registered charity should do the trick. You like Friends of the Earth and think it's appropriate here, yes? This would be as well as a Katrina donation, not instead of.

5) Had you not heard? The MCC are putting out XI against Glamorgan in a trial form of the game known as Eleven11 which should be over in about 90 minutes. Come to think of it, I ought to turn on the radio now. Goodbye!
From:daweaver
Date:September 3rd, 2005 06:50 pm (UTC)
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3. Fair point about the non-charitable status. You may wish to consider donating the amount suggested by one of these calculators, though not necessarily to them. (They reckon a trans-Atlantic return trip comes out at about £20 per person, though that only covers the direct effect of the flight. Your moral calculus may vary, which is no bad thing.)

5. So let me get this right, in ninety minutes of rapid fire bowling and batting, the MCC team scored two wickets, and the Glamorgan side managed exactly none? That's even worse than the 20-20 bowl out in July! Nope, can't see this one catching on. Not when there's a perfectly good Gilette Cup match at Lords.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:September 4th, 2005 08:03 pm (UTC)
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#2: You can, of course, give to the British Red Cross using a Charity Card. I am pretty sure the politics of the situation prohibits the money going directly to Hurricane Katrina relief at the moment, though this may well change in time, but I note that the British Red Cross have sent two experts to assist in the relief effort, and that won't be free. I have a feeling that weight of numbers and weight of effort are required more than expertise there at the moment, but that's not to say that expertise isn't required, and if the British Red Cross can help the American Red Cross without the politics of the situation becoming prohibitive, then that's close enough as far as my conscience is concerned.

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