Friday, April 29, 2005

TNS Forums

All are welcome. Join them. Seriously.

Topics cover any and all politics and philosophy you could like, and entertainment is of paramount importance as well.

Here are some of the tastier comments:

I don't know about determining when to intervene, but I know who not to listen to: foreign nations. Fuck 'em all. First, they say the U.S. shouldn't act as the world's policeman (re: Iraq). However, the second there is an atrocity somewhere, it is the U.S.'s duty to act as lone remaining superpower and remedy the situation. I think the underlying message is the U.S. is too stupid to use its power, so the kindly Europeans will tell us how to run things. Note to Europe: fuck you all.
Yes, incorporation would seem to be all-or-nothing. If you can pick and choose which provisions of the first eight amendments you're going to incorporate against the states, then you've said of those provisions "These protect rights that are more important than other provisions in the same Bill of Rights. These provisions are therefore fundamental while the others are not." So what such a person is saying is that some right ought to be incorporated against the states only if it's an important, fundamental right, whether or not it's in the Bill of Rights. Presumably the Bill of Rights may have excluded something really, really important - it is, after all, just a guide, right? If it wasn't just a listing of some really very keen and cute rights, but a listing of all the fundamental rights of citizens of the United States, then ALL OF THEM WOULD BE INCORPORATED.

It's really intellectually lazy to allow more than two interpretations of incorporation. When you boil it down, there's full incorporation and the opposite. You either incorporate all rights or you pick and choose on some other basis, not really caring whether rights are enumerated in those amendments because you "know better."

I stumbled across the test booklet for the 1997 Professor John Steiner Gold Mathematical Competition, held at Bucknell University. That was my first year at the competition, and as I recall I didn't do too well. I went on to an honorable mention 5th place the following year.

Anyway, here are 5 of the 36 problems that I think are pretty neat. See how you can do with them. Feel free to post here with actual explanations for your answers. Also, calculators were not permitted on the examination, but I don't think that they will be too helpful for the problems I selected.


3. Be rational and express 1997.199719971997... as a ratio of two integers.

6. Greg has 7 white socks and 5 gray socks. If he chooses two at random, what is the chance that they will match?

9. If 14 - 5 = 5, then what is 14 + 5?

31. How many positive integers divide 97^97 evenly?

35. Find sqrt(3 + sqrt(3 + sqrt(3 + sqrt(3 + sqrt(3 + sqrt(3 + ...
(Note: sqrt(x) = x^(1/2). This problem asks what is the square root of "3 plus the square root of... etc.)

If you all rip through these pretty quickly, and enjoy the concept, I can provide more. I do have several more tests from competitions I attended or composed.
--Blackford Oakes
There's a taste. It's a start anyway. Join, why not?


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