Saturday, October 31, 2009

Scale in biology

Ever wonder how big a red blood cell is compared to the flu virus? Or a single chromosome compared to an atom?

This is the coolest thing I've seen all week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Healthcare Costs

I never paid much attention to my medical plan at work, until a few weeks ago when people started complaining about healthcare premiums being higher in AL. I hadn't noticed.

So when my benefits-selection stuff showed up, I decided to do a little research on the plan I had selected.

Check this out:

YearMy healthplan cost as a percentage of my salary (gross)
(move to AL)
(good raise)
(also good raise, but not good enough!)

Can you believe how fast this is climbing? And this is adjusted for my salary!

Surely there are better alternatives, especially for people like us who aren't getting as much as we're paying.

One idea is to just save the many thousands of dollars we're putting into health-plan premiums, pay cash for whatever services we need, and if someone needs a major operation, get it done in New Delhi or Costa Rica.

I have no confidence that Congress will come up with a healthcare plan that works on purpose. But they might get lucky...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Whose fish?

Not a Walleye Pike

Yesterday I ran across a puzzle on, supposedly created by Albert Einstein and accompanied by the assertion that only 2% of people can solve. Looked like fun so I tried it.

In case that link ever goes down, here are the clues:
There are five houses in a row in different colors. In each house lives a person with a different nationality. The five owners drink a different drink, smoke a different brand of cigar and keep a different pet, one of which is a Walleye Pike.

The question is-- who owns the fish?

  1. The Brit lives in the red house.

  2. The Swede keeps dogs as pets.

  3. The Dane drinks tea.

  4. The green house is on the left of the white house.

  5. The green house owner drinks coffee.

  6. The person who smokes Pall Malls keeps birds.

  7. The owner of the yellow house smokes Dunhills.

  8. The man living in the house right in the center drinks milk.

  9. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the one who keeps cats.

  10. The Norwegian lives in the first house.

  11. The man who keeps horses lives next to the one who smokes Dunhills.

  12. The owner who smokes Bluemasters drinks beer.

  13. The German smokes Princes.

  14. The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

  15. The man who smokes Blends has a neighbor who drinks water.

There are no tricks, pure logic will get you the correct answer. And yes, there is enough information to arrive at the one and only correct answer.

There are a couple of references on ways to solve this on Coudal's website, but none of them seemed very good to me. I solved the whole thing in only 15 minutes or so, and their approaches looked hard. So, once you've got the answer, check out my approach here. If your way is better, put it in the comments, I'd love to see it.

Good luck!

Does anyone read this thing?

views since Feb. 9, 2008