In the Observer Magazine the other Sunday there appeared a puzzle in the form of a photograph. It showed, amid other props, three dice stacked vertically in front of a mirror. Because of the camera angle and the placement of the mirror, all the faces of the dice could be seen except the top and […]
In the Observer Magazine the other Sunday there appeared a puzzle in the form of a photograph. It showed, amid other props, three dice stacked vertically in front of a mirror. Because of the camera angle and the placement of the mirror, all the faces of the dice could be seen except the top and bottom of the bottom two and the bottom of the top one. The top face of the top die showed three dots. The challenge to readers was to figure out the total value of the five faces that could not be seen. The mirror was unnecessary except for people unfamiliar with dice. As the solution on the next page explained (and the mirror showed) the opposite faces of a die always add up to 7. Thus, the two dice that with hidden tops and bottoms had faces with a total of 14 and the unseen face of the top die, opposite the 3 face, had a value of 4. The total was 18. Unfortunately, after explaining the way dice were numbered, the solution concluded that the five concealed sides will total 21, less the number on the top of the tower [which was 3], making 19. Simple wasn’t it? Simple indeed, but wrong. The theory was perfect, but 21 minus 3 usually turns out to be 18, not 19. We decided not to order the fascinating volume from which the puzzle was taken, Graham Rawle’s Wonder Book Of Fun, for UKP11.99. But our disappointment with the book or the Observer editors, whoever is to blame, in no way diminished the instructive impact of the puzzle and its solution.
By Hesh Wiener
If anything, it enhanced the experience. As we pointed out elsewhere (CI No 2,388), our reaction to the recent pronouncements of IBM’s chairman, Louis V Gerstner Jr, is not particularly warm. He seems to be in over his head and by the time he learns what makes IBM and the computer industry tick which he will, for he is very bright – a great deal of time will pass. This time is particularly valuable. A glance at IBM’s financial results will reveal that the ticking of the interest clock is very loud, even though it has been drowned out by the cheering of Wall Street analysts. The worst appears to be over for IBM, but that is not the same as a return to prosperity. All that seems clear, if it ever was not, is that IBM isn’t going to go broke right away. But neither is it able to sway customers the way it did not very long ago. We think the enterprises that depend on large central systems, and will continue to do so, have learned to make decisions without kowtowing to IBM or any other outside influence. So if IBM says they should buy some new hardware and trust to tomorrow for the rest of a system’s vital ingredients, they’ll listen very carefully. And then they will reply, if they are not fully satisfied with the offer, No dice.
From the April 1994 edition of Infoperspectives International, published by Technology News Ltd, 110 Gloucester Avenue, London NW1. (C) 1994 Technology News Ltd.