Sunday, July 20, 2003
The license plate GHUKET, I suspect, means "Fuck it." GH is sometimes pronounced "f," though not at the beginning of words; and George Bernard Shaw, commenting on the complexity of English pronunciation, once famously remarked that the (nonexistent) word "ghoti" might be pronounced "fish": "gh" would be "f" as in "laugh," "o" would be "i" as in "women," and "ti" would be "sh" as in "nation." I think that GHUKET is thus likely an allusion to "ghoti," and a (successful) attempt to fool the California DMV into letting through a license plate with a profanity.
Why "GHUKET," then, instead of "GHUKIT"? My guess -- which a quick search via the DMV personalized license plate availability page confirmed -- is that "GHUKIT" was already taken.
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
From which points on Earth can you go 10 miles south, 10 miles west, 10 miles north, and arrive at the place from which you started?
- The obvious answer is the North Pole.
- But where else? Well, a bit north of the South Pole, there's a parallel that's exactly 10 miles long. If you then go the parallel that's exactly 10 miles north of that parallel, all the points on that parallel will qualify as answers to my question.
- But wait, there's more! The same is true of a parallel that's 10 miles north of the 5-mile-long parallel around the South Pole, 10 miles north of the 3 1/3-mile-long parallel, 10 miles north of the 2 1/2-mile-long parallel, and so on. Any parallel that's 10 miles north of a parallel around the South Pole that's 10/n miles long, where n is an integer qualifies.