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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  18:54:08  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For those of you who may not have read my posts in the "What on Earth # 50" thread, the first series of 50 exercises in this little diversion is now complete.

In the final few exercises of this first series, bngbuck shot up to take a commanding lead. But others did very well, also. Some of the problems I gave you people required a good deal of knowledge and/or research ability, so congratulations to you all.

Sometimes you amazed me with how quickly you could identify odd patches of land (and other things) and answer the questions about their significance.

The final results for the first series of 50 exercises was:
  1. bngbuck, 38 points
  2. Dave W., 22 points
  3. tw101356, 22 points
  4. lorddix, 9 points
  5. Hal, 7 points
  6. Moakley, 4 points
  7. Steinhenge, 4 points
  8. Hawks, 3 points
  9. Simon, 3 points
  10. astropin, 1 point
  11. Dude, 1 point
  12. Filthy, 1 point
(Ties above are listed in alphabetical order.)
For the first series, I offered the winner any combination of prizes, with a total value of under $25, selected from Skeptic Friends Network Gift Shop. (bngbuck graciously declined these treasures, and instead asked that I send the $25 directly to SFN (see the PayPal button at the top of this page), and promised to match that donation. Though I applaud bngbuck's generosity and support of this unique skeptical forum, future contestants need not consider his actions as a binding precedent. (Be as greedy as you like.)

As for the next series of 50 exercises in "What on Earth":

I hope to make the new exercises more difficult. You folks are too damned smart. I often found myself scrambling to keep new exercises coming. I also plan to research the exercises more carefully, so I don't have to make corrections on the fly, as participants point out the inherent errors in the exercises.

I am taking a bit of a break, reconsidering the strengths and weaknesses of the last series, and accumulating a number of new problems in advance. I invite you all to make suggestions, both on the overall running of these contests, and in suggesting future exercises. (Remember, you will not be allowed to give answers here for exercises which you suggest!)

If at all possible, another prize will be announced before the next series is complete.

Thank you all for making the first 50 so much fun!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.

Edited by - HalfMooner on 09/09/2009 18:56:01

Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  19:17:40   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by HalfMooner

In the final few exercises of this first series, bngbuck shot up to take a commanding lead.
I'm sure it helped that in the final rounds, the point values doubled unexpectedly.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  20:23:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dave W.

Originally posted by HalfMooner

In the final few exercises of this first series, bngbuck shot up to take a commanding lead.
I'm sure it helped that in the final rounds, the point values doubled unexpectedly.
Yes, even though my idea was that doubling the points at the end would be a way of making the end of the contest wide-open. (Incidentally I thought the final exercises were especially difficult.) That backfired, big time!


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 09/09/2009 20:24:15
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Simon
SFN Regular

USA
1992 Posts

Posted - 09/09/2009 :  20:40:30   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Simon a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Yes.

They were difficult, it is just that a few people, Bngbuck for example, have an almost supernatural talent for that.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
Carl Sagan - 1996
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  00:17:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave and Mooner.......

Dave
I'm sure it helped that in the final rounds, the point values doubled unexpectedly.
Mooner
Yes, even though my idea was that doubling the points at the end would be a way of making the end of the contest wide-open.

Actually, the real reason for my apparently spectacular "victory" was simply a matter of available time.

The past week or two I've been taking a bit of a sabbatical from too much self-imposed activity. I've been reading, sleeping, and playing various kinds of games on the Internet, including Mooner's delightful conundrums.

Anyone on this forum can nail a WOE? if they read it early after posting, work diligently for a few minutes on Google, (and weasel clues out of Mooner if they're stumped.) Then post the answer quickly before another member reads the puzzle.

I have a terrific advantage over most of you folks in that I have 24/7 available right now for whatever I choose. Put these same WOE? questions to a panel of smart folks like SFN members who had nothing to do but play the game and who all start on the word GO, and you would have a real race to the finish line.

Read Mooner's post before anyone else does, and you're half-way to winning that episode!

Dave would have trounced me easily on just about every puzzle if he didn't have the inconvenience of a job to distract his time. He has the most remarkable Google skills of anyone I have ever observed.

Google skills consist primarily of having enough fluency with the language to enable the selection of appropriate key words, and then the ability to combine them in the Google search bar so as to evoke the actual wording or meaning necessary to locate source material relevant to the inquiry--usually Wiki. The real "master" of these skills on these boards is Dave W., not me. He can run into a subject he never heard of, and in ten minutes or so, be writing an erudite essay on it! I have only been doing wide-ranging research on the Internet for three or four years, and my skills don't approach his!










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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  02:45:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Actually, the real reason for my apparently spectacular "victory" was simply a matter of available time.
You've got that right. The only reason I managed to tie for first on Monday was that I had the luxury of checking SFN whenever I wanted to on Labor Day.
Dave would have trounced me easily on just about every puzzle if he didn't have the inconvenience of a job to distract his time. He has the most remarkable Google skills of anyone I have ever observed.

Google skills consist primarily of having enough fluency with the language to enable the selection of appropriate key words, and then the ability to combine them in the Google search bar so as to evoke the actual wording or meaning necessary to locate source material relevant to the inquiry--usually Wiki. The real "master" of these skills on these boards is Dave W., not me. He can run into a subject he never heard of, and in ten minutes or so, be writing an erudite essay on it! I have only been doing wide-ranging research on the Internet for three or four years, and my skills don't approach his!
Wow, thanks!

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  13:50:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave, Mooner, et al.....

As further proof of "the early bird gets the T-shirt" premise, consider Mooner's post of puzzle #51. He posted it at about 9:00PM PST last night. Nobody responded up till about midnight when I tuned in. I solved it in about 30 minutes, posted at 12:30AM PST and won 2 points. The post went off the Current Posts headlines and disappeared into the pre-archives, so many members never saw it come and go.

Mooner posts #52 at 2:15AM, everybody's asleep, me too! Comes sunrise, Dave responds at 6:45AM but does not solve. Mooner responds to Dave at 7:10AM, in the meantime, Lorddix has seen the puzzle post and is working on it. Lorddix solves it and posts at 7:41AM. Probably took him about 45 minutes or so to solve.

I didn't wake up till 9:00AM. Not a chance at the puzzle, It was all over by 7:30AM! He that snoozes, loses!

Dave had a shot at 6:45AM but probably had to go to work, so no time to solve puzzle. He could have done it in 15 minutes! Lorddix is damn good, though, unless doesn't sleep and took all night to do it. I practiced it as though I hadn't read the answer and it took me 23 minutes to find the obscure (not obscure in Vietnam) religion that Moon was looking for! Lorddix did it in under an hour, I'm sure!

TIME is the essence of solving these puzzles. Both in finding the initial post, and then doing it fast before another smart-ass beats your clock! If this was on-line Jeopardy (I'm addicted to the TV show), I would stock up on amphetamines and try to match my circadian rhythms to the weird hours that Mooner keeps.

Of course, if it were Jeopardy, Dave would quit his paid programming pastime and become an overnight millionaire! Nobody else would have a chance!
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  17:48:28   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mooner.....

A suggestion: Why not post the exact time when you are going to present your next puzzle -- some time when many members are not asleep and not working, hopefully, but considering the range of time zones, that may be difficult.

Anyway, with an announced time of disclosures, many members could be ready and primed to go and could compete with one another in real time, instead of the hit and miss of never knowing when a new puzzle is going to pop up!

Just an idea to level the playing field!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  18:42:20   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Mooner.....

A suggestion: Why not post the exact time when you are going to present your next puzzle -- some time when many members are not asleep and not working, hopefully, but considering the range of time zones, that may be difficult.

Anyway, with an announced time of disclosures, many members could be ready and primed to go and could compete with one another in real time, instead of the hit and miss of never knowing when a new puzzle is going to pop up!

Just an idea to level the playing field!
That's a very sound idea. I have a strange and chaotic sleeping and waking pattern, something left over from a career doing shift work. But I will try to post somewhere around mid-day to early evening, Pacific time, in the future.

[Edited to add:]

If only for my own peace of mind, I also will try to keep the exercises to no more than one per day, despite how quickly they are solved. However, if one takes longer than one day, I will no longer post another until that one is either solved, or until it becomes clear that it cannot be solved despite my hints.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 09/10/2009 20:01:11
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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  20:50:45   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by bngbuck

Dave had a shot at 6:45AM but probably had to go to work, so no time to solve puzzle. He could have done it in 15 minutes!
Your faith in my skillz is flattering, but no. I had to go look up "syncretic," and the definition was no help at all. Every religion I can think of is syncretic to some extent or another, so I was stuck wondering which mish-mash of a religion was, in Mooner's eyes, the mish-mashiest. So I was at a complete loss as to how to even begin. Turned out it was a religion I'd never heard of before, so I probably would have needed a zillion hints.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 09/10/2009 :  20:54:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In all honesty, I'd do very poorly in these exercises. Merely creating them is a completely different kettle of fish from actually solving them from scratch. I tend to get frustrated with tough problems, and then avoid them.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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