Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bah Humbug!

Stone the crows! I thought I'd return a few days later and see if anyone had come up with an answer to those three questions and by the timings on the posts it looks like I made the usual mistake of judging everybody else by my own low standards.

Chalks 7th Law of Teaching states that the intelligence of the staff is proportional to the intelligence of the pupils in their school. So clearly Mark Wilkinson does not work at St. Thickchilds. He wins because he was first to get them all right and even spotted my foolish mistake of assuming that the rule was proved after just four measly examples.

Oh I forgot; number 3 is the Monty Hall problem. I just tried to rewrite it slightly but as anonymous has pointed out it only works if I know which cup the diamond is under, so I can always choose to show you the other, empty one.

I do quite like problems like these as they demonstrate just how wrong common sense can be in unfamiliar circumstances. Mind you, I like beer more.

I'll have to think up a suitable prize now. Suggestions welcome

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Merry Christmas!

This time last year, you were no doubt glued to your computer screens each morning to see what lay behind the door on Mrs C's Advent Calender. As we got a bit giddy with all the excitement we've decided to give it a miss and calm ourselves down this year. Instead here's three puzzles for you. First correct answer in the comments box for all three wins er... something good.

1) We are at a Xmas Party exchanging merry banter and you happen to mention that at the last party you attended, it turned out that two of the guests had the same bithday.

Quick as a flash, I offer to bet you £100 that two people in this very room have the same birthday. We quickly count them and see that there are 48 guests. Assume that I have never met any of the guests before; should you accept my bet? (+explain why?)

2) Ignoring your reluctance to engage me in any further conversation, I produce a deck of cards and you notice they all have a number on one side and a letter on the other. I announce that the cards obey a simple rule: if a card has a number three on one side then it must have a letter 'H' on the other.

I throw down four cards onto a convenient table '3' '8' 'T' and 'H'. You have 20 seconds to tell me which of them you need to turn over to prove or disprove my rule.

If you have not timed yourself ruthlessly and submit an answer, I shall know.

3) Even though you are now sidling away from me, I refuse to take the hint and regain your attention by producing a large diamond and three cups. I place the diamond under one of them and shuffle the cups around so that you lose track of where it is. I announce that if you guess correctly then you can keep the diamond. After a brief pause you place your finger on one of the cups. Rather than turning it over, I actually turn over one of the two other cups revealing it to have nothing underneath.

Now I offer you a choice: you can either stick with the cup you have chosen or swap to the other untouched cup. What should you do and why?

The last puzzle is quite famous, so you can have a bonus point if you know its name.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Nativity Play

It is traditional at this time of year for all those with children of their own to decide to have an afternoon off to watch their child perform in a nativity play, whilst somebody else does their work for them. There will be no financial penalty for the play watcher or reward for the lesson coverer.

Those of you without children should think of it as an opportunity to say thank you for being allowed to cover for them during the year when they have been off because their children are ill.

For a change this year, I would like to ask that all those of you who are childless go into the Heads office waving an Ocean's 13 DVD and confidently inform them that you need the afternoon off to watch the film in the comfort of your own home with some friends. You need to leave school by about half twelve because you've got to pop in to the supermarket to get some wine and crisps...

Oh, do not under any circumstances complain in front of teachers whom you have covered for; as they have a well practiced but baffling argument along the lines that they are producing the workers of tomorrow and we should be grateful etc...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pay and Display... You Pay and I Display

Gavin Brazg emailed me today. He runs an internet site called The advisory which gives all sorts of advice about buying and selling your house.

Why am I going on about him and his site? He has offered to give £50 to The Myelin project.

Whilst it's true that for £50 I would probably recommend John Darwin's Travel Guides, I can say from my own experience, that his tip about haggling down estate agents fees is spot on.

So if you are buying or selling a house click on the Sidebar Link and see what he has to say.

Anybody else who wants to be in Pay and Display, just email me.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Listen Up!

If you happen to be buying your Christmas Tat from Amazon this year, do me a favour and click on one of the book icons on the right hand side of the blog to get to Amazons website. You don't have to buy my book, just go via this site and they send me a small commission on whatever you spend.

Contrary to popular belief, this money doesn't get spent on beer, dive trips to the Red Sea or even a new pair of skis. It goes to the Myelin Trust http://www.myelinproject.co.uk/ who finance research into curing MS.

I selfishly chose this charity because a mate has the disease. So far I've raised about £150 but when I've totted it up properly I'll get them to send a receipt so I can stick it up on the blog. (As I know perfectly well that you all think it's a scam!)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


After spending the last 24 hours in Liverpool, Gillian Gibbons has demanded that she be returned immediately to a Sudanese Prison.

Monday, December 03, 2007

At least She'll have Lost A Few Pounds In That Jail

Gillian Gibbons today thanked the Sudanese President for his generous pardon:

"I am so relieved that this awful misunderstanding is finally over and I am very much looking forward to being reunited with the children I teach, my lovely colleagues and the school dog Mohammed"