A Mathmo’s Thought

What’s been on my mind?

I’ve been wondering: Is there a constant C such that when your purchase costs any amount more than £C, and you go to the self-check out and deposit any amount of British coins, the weight of coins you receive as change is always less than the weight of the coins you paid with?

(Assume that the machine always spits out the as many large value coins as possible, e.g. it prefers to give one £2 coin rather than two £1 coins, etc.)

I have no idea what the answer is. :/

Without Internet: 27/10

Thursday, 27/11/10

11.20pm: I’m in the hotel. My dad hasn’t slept since 3am. He’s lying on the bed now, but a minute ago, he suddenly woke up, looked at me, told me to “look at the business aspect of the house”, mumbled a bit, then explained that it was for “making sure… minimum wage”. Then he fell back asleep. I am still quite puzzled by his advice, but I will never forget his words of wisdom.

11.22pm: I have no internet. This is a diary I shall be typing, hopefully regularly, and then uploading to my blog whenever I am fortunate enough to get internet access.

11.29pm: Always be prepared. No internet for 15 days? No worries. Just be prepared. Make sure to prepare everything you need using everything you have. For me, that means a lot of things can be done to waste the boring hours away:

  • iPhone. Download apps. Tons of apps. I have 131 apps. 71 of them are games. Many, many hours can be spent here. One important app is VLC player.
  • Laptop (Macbook). Have lots of stuff. Games: Plenty of offline, single-player games which I haven’t touched yet. Worse case scenario: Civilisation IV. That should net me a couple of hundred of hours of wasted time. Also, videos. I have Dexter, Firefly and Mad Men, Seasons 1,1 and 1, to watch. Transfer them to VLC Player on the iPhone, and I can watch them anywhere. There’s another 20-30 hours.
  • Photos. Have lots of photos, and be quite OCD about arranging them. I have nice big folder called “Unsorted” with lots of holiday photos. Generally, I perform the following process on my photos: Look through every photo. Delete any non-unique photo or boring photo.  Adjust contrast and brightness (only) of every remaining photo. Save photo set at full resolution and compress the set. Copy set over to hard drive. Take photo set and reduce size to a maximum of 1500×1000 pixels for each photo. Save resized photos to iPhoto. Repeat for remaining photos. As of now: I have 5 gigs of photos to “process”. About 4-5 hours down the drain.
  • Homework. … Actually nevermind, this won’t take up much time at all.
  • New house. I have at least 6-7 cardboard boxes worth of stuff to move and arrange soon. This will probably never finish and I will still be unpacking things 3 months from now.
  • Books. Yet to read: Revolutionary Road, To Kill A Mockingbird, Catch-22. To re-read (in case of Cambridge interview): A Very Short Introduction to Mathematics, The Pleasure of Counting.

There’s actually plenty more stuff, but it’s 11.45pm and I need to wake up at around 6am. Adios.

11.59pm: Ok, I was going to sleep. my dad woke up again, asked me what time it was, then lectured me about the importance of efficiency in business, used an analogy by comparing it to finding out about a movie (make sure there’s a good writer, etc.) then talking about how you must research a store). Then he closed his eyes and I asked him if he wasted to bathe. He said, “No,” and I said, “Good, Go to sleep.”

Personal Statement

Dear Admission officer,

I AM THE MOST FANTASTIC PERSON YOU HAVE EVER MET/WILL EVER MEET. SOON YOU WILL CALL ME INTO AN INTERVIEW ROOM AND YOU WILL BE MARVELLED AT THE AMAZING SPECIMEN OF THE HUMAN SPECIES SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU. BUT LET’S NOT SPOIL THAT SURPRISE AND INSTEAD, LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT MY PAST (FOR YOU WILL NOT WANT TO ASK ME ABOUT SUCH TRIVIAL THINGS WHEN YOU MEET IN IN REAL LIFE).

FIRSTLY I WAS BORN WITH A DISABILITY. MY LIFE HAS BEEN EXTREMELY DIFFICULT AS I INHERITED THE CAPS LOCK DISEASE FROM MY MOTHER. PASSED DOWN FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION, THIS LEFT ME UNABLE TO TALK/WRITE/TYPE WITHOUT SHOUTING. ALTHOUGH MOST PEOPLE FOUND IT ANNOYING, I HAVE ACTUALLY BENEFITED FROM THIS AS I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT THE VALUE OF PERSEVERANCE. FURTHERMORE PEOPLE ARE UNABLE TO IGNORE ME.

ALSO SINCE THE AGE OF 5 I HAVE BEEN WEAK TO ANOTHER DIESASE, THE uncapitalisation disease which randomly makes me unable to type any sort of capital letters. i believe the most difficult TIMES OF MY life was when BOTH DISEASES affect me at the SAME TIME.

I APPLY TO YOUR UNIVERSITY TO BE THE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS. OF COURSE IT WOULD BE SILLY OF ME TO APPLY OR SOMETHING AS TRIVIAL AS AN EDUCATIONAL DEGREE WHEN I HAVE ALREADY LEARNT EVERYTHING YOUR INSTITUTION HAS TO OFFER BEFORE I TURNED 3. AS SUCH, I DO HOPE YOU SEE THE OPPORTUNITY IN HIRING SUCH A WONDROUS FELLOW AS ME TO REVITALISE AND IMPROVE YOUR ESTABLISHMENT. I CAN TAKE [insert your university here] TO GREATER HEIGHTS THAN IT HAS EVER REACHED, AND WILL NEVER BE REACHED AGAIN AFTER I PASS AWAY.

FURTHERMORE, I WILL CUT COSTS BY FIRING EVERY TEACHER/LECTURER/INTERVIEWER AND ONLY RETAIN THE ADMISSIONS DEPARTMENT. PLUS THE WAGES WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO THAT DEPARTMENT.
I HOPE YOU REALISE WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY MY APPLICATION BEINGS TO YOUR LIFE. IF NOT, YOU STINK.

Sincerely yours,
JIANN MENG