Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Brain Teasers Are Fun

Whenever I'm stupid enough to think that I'm smart, a brain teaser like this usually comes along and brings me back down to Earth:

There are 3 light switches on a wall in the basement.  One of them turns on a lamp that's up in the attic.  You can manipulate the 3 switches as much as you want, but you're only allowed one trip up to the attic to see if the lamp's on.  How do you figure out which of the 3 switches works turns on the lamp?

I thought about this for several minutes but couldn't solve it.  However, like all the best puzzles, once I saw the solution I realized it was perfect and that I could've (theoretically) come up with it, since there were no absurd assumptions or tricks involved.

Can you solve it?  Leave a comment with your solution if you have one.  I'll post the 'real' solution in a comment sometime later (though other solutions are certainly possible).

[This came courtesy of BoingBoing and The Guardian website.]

Monday, June 22, 2015

Calling Out America's Anti-Intellectualism And Its Cost

Here's a really great Psychology Today article detailing many of the ways in which the U.S. is embracing ignorance and paying a high price for doing so.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Edward Snowden: 21st Century Hero?

In the two years since Snowden first gained notoriety by releasing huge volumes of information about the National Security Agency's data-gathering techniques, I've had this creeping feeling that he may just become one of this century's most important heroic figures.  I've seen a couple of interviews with him, read a few articles about him, and now there's the New York Times op-ed that he penned last week... and everything I 've learned about Snowden makes me believe that he did was he did for the noblest of reasons.  It's hard to imagine any way in which he's benefitted by his actions, although I suppose for some, gaining celebrity would be justification enough.  I don't get that vibe off him, though.  As he says in the NYT article, he put his privileged lifestyle at risk and wasn't even confident that anything worthwhile would come of the risk he took.  I think it's possible that 20 years from now we'll look back at the revelations he provided into what the US government (and others) have been doing in the 21st century and realize just how critical it was that all of that spying came to light when it did.

I guess only time will tell how history will remember the man, but my money's on 'hero,' rather than 'villain.'