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MSC Southeast's computer and Web chronicles

Travel the Invisible Highway

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I'm a public media junkie at heart. (Probably due to the 6 years I spent at Iowa Public Television). Occasionally, they even blow me away. This animation did just that: Animation: Travel The Invisible Highway

For more on the bug highways in the sky, check out .


The Puzzle Challenge - Getting six from nine and four

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The Puzzle Challenge

Here is a fun puzzle to try. You are given two glasses. The first glass holds exactly 4 ounces. The second holds exactly 9 ounces.

Your task is to measure exactly 6 ounces of water in as few steps as possible.

You may only use the two glasses. You may not use a third container. You have an endless supply of water and can dump and fill the glasses as much as you like.

Can you solve the puzzle in less than ten steps? Email me back with the answer at and I'll post the winners, along with the answers on the blog.


Bunny Novak takes the checkered flag for providing the answer first - in just 8 steps! I will post the answer in a day or so.


The following is a process to solve this puzzle in just 8 steps.

  1. Fill 9oz glass                                    (9Glass=9, 4Glass=0)
  2. Fill 4oz glass from 9oz glass             (9Glass=5, 4Glass=4)
  3. Dump 4oz glass                               (9Glass=5, 4Glass=0)
  4. Fill 4oz glass from 9oz glass             (9Glass=1, 4Glass=4)
  5. Dump 4oz glass                               (9Glass=1, 4Glass=0)
  6. Pour remaining ounce into 4oz glass (9Glass=0, 4Glass=1)
  7. Fill 9oz glass                                    (9Glass=9, 4Glass=1)
  8. Fill 4oz glass from 9oz glass             (9Glass=6, 4Glass=4)



Sir Ken Robinson on

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Sir Ken Robinson on

Sir Ken RobinsonOne of the most interesting movements in education now is the one based on the preposition that education stifles creativity. There is an increasing wealth of research supporting this idea. It is a profound issue in a world where we no longer simply consume our media, we create our media.

At the forefront of this thinking is Sir Ken Robinson. His work demonstrates this idea and warns of a future we cannot foresee - one in which our children have grown up lacking our culture (and our species) forward. You can see his talk from 2006 outlining these ideas by visiting It is free, fascinating, and very entertaining to watch.

"Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity"


Informality and the folly of runaway punctuation

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Informality and the folly of runaway punctuation

Punctuation BunniesWriting on the Web is, and should be, informal. Sure there are points at which you need to be overtly formal - such as writing for JAMA - but a more informal approach is the default. The Web is an intimate medium, and by and large, should be treated as such.

That being said, I'm seeing an increasingly prevalent issue with punctuation. It is multiplying with lapine prodigiousness!

If one exclamation point is good, would not three be more forceful?


If a question is especially difficult, wouldn't it be best to add additional question marks?


Isn't it best to give extended pauses even more periods than the three (3!) in an ellipse?


If I'm feeling especially forceful, yet quizzical, how about two or three sets of question mark/exclamation point pairs?


Oddly, these questions never come up regarding commas. This,, looks blatantly wrong to nearly every user of the English language. How does this become just as acceptable?? This isn't acceptable either!!! Or this!!!! Perhaps you are getting the drift...... Right?!?!

Sadly, there is no help from Spellcheck on this issue. Even with the settings cranked to the point it won’t accept contractions, it has no problem with multiple punctuation marks. A shameful situation.

I'll admit I'm on a bit of a soapbox here. Most of these errors are usually cleaned up in editing. At least, they usually are on the sites I tend to edit. Every once in a while, I will see these errors in final copy.

Informality on the Web is a good thing, but it is best not to let yourself be carried away. It will distract from your message.

(Post note: I really detest grammar snobs, and it pains me to act like one. Please accept my sincerest apologies. I’m only here to help.)

The Puzzle Challenge: Elevator Habits

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The Puzzle Challenge: Elevator Habits

Every day, when Grant gets home from work, he takes the elevator from the ground floor to the 16th floor. He then gets out and takes the stairs up the last four floors to his apartment on the 20th floor.


Clues: he only does this if he is alone in the elevator. Otherwise, he takes the elevator all the way to the 20th floor. When he leaves home, he takes the elevator straight from the 20th to the ground floor, regardless of whether he is alone in the elevator.

Can you solve the puzzle? Email me back with the answer at and I'll post the winners, along with the answers on the blog.


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