Sunday Funnies – LOLs, October 2nd, 2022

Is it nice to pose a math problem on a Sunday?

I had a stationary bike. After a few years, I had done 12,500 miles on that bike — halfway around, at the equator. But I wondered what degree of north latitude would be12,500 miles long (so I could see what cities were at that latitude). I thought I’d figured it out, but wanted validation; it had been a long time since I was in junior high. We were having parent-teacher conferences, so I asked the 7th grade math teacher. She took the problem and said she’d get back to me. Never did. When my daughter asked about it, she said she’d lost the problem — but didn’t ask for another copy.

I repeated this with math teachers each year. Never got an answer.

Can you finnish this problem?

Thanks to Chemgal for this Zits, which earns a LOL-Ewww!

And here is your LOL-CIDU-Geezer for the week!

Another CIDU-LOL, or Arlo-LOL, and the one calling for the category tag about “There must be a popculture reference that will clear it up instantly” — if you can see putting the chess world in “popculture”. Yes, something upsetting happened recently in the world of chess, and then Twitter has its way with answering some of the questions raised.

Thanks to dollarbill for this DSOH, featuring one of their favorite tropes, counting sheep.
See also the posts in Random Comments and Site Comments on his idea for a structured-commenting game. (Please respond there, not so much here.)

And now, a mini-fest of Wrong Hands!


  1. On your math problem, I can solve your problem, but it requires a drawing, which I can’t include.

    Let me give an intuitive answer. The circumference decreases as the cosine of the latitude. So the latitude you want is the one where its cosine is 0.5.

    So the answer is 60 degrees north or soutn latitude.

  2. Mark H. has the correct answer, but I used the fact that the circumference of the circle is linearly proportional to the radius as measured from the axis of the Earth. Since SIN(30) is the same as COS(60), the answer is the same either way. There is even a line in the Wikipedia article about the 60th parallel that confirms it.

  3. Seems to be an easy problem. Call A the centre of the earth; B any point on the parallel you are seeking; and C the point where a line going from the north ploe through the earth’s centre ontersects the plane of that latitude. This forms a right triangle with the right angle at ∠C. The angle we want is the complement of ∠A.
    You need to find the radius of the circle of 12,500 miles (line BC), which is approx 1990 miles: call this measurement α. Assuming earth is a perfect sphere — not an oblate spheroid — we take the radius of the earth, or approx 3963 miles (line AB): call this β; it is the hypotenuse of the right triangle.
    The sine of ∠A is α/β, or 0.502144, so ∠A is roughly 30.142, and its complement is 59° 51′ 28.8″ or almost 60° N. In Canada, that’s the border between the Territories (NWT, Yukon, and Nunavut) to the north and the provinces (BC, AB, MB) to the south. It also runs across Hudson Bay, Quebec, and Labrador.

    There’s probably an easier / more straightforward way but I can’t be asred to look.

  4. I assume that the extra “N” in the third word of the last line was just a typo, but the northern circle does in fact pass just south of Helsinki.

  5. My God, I’m beginning to hate this site. I spent idk how long trying to work out the answer and type it in on my phone, but it keeps asking me to log in. When I do, and I post my answer again, it again asks me to log in, but tells me I’ve already posted it, but I can’t see it.

  6. Kilby, I thought zbicyclist intentionally placed that extra ‘n’ as a clue!
    (And so did not proofread it away.)

  7. “When I do, and I post my answer again, it again asks me to log in, but tells me I’ve already posted it, but I can’t see it.”

    LazarusJohn, that bit about “you already posted this” is in a way a good sign — it couldn’t say that unless it had ahold of the first try in some way. That’s better than getting lost in your own browser before it can get transmitted. That happens to me sometimes when I unintentionally close a tab, thumb typing on iPad.

    When the comment does not show up, despite you knowing it was transmitted, and there is no moderation warning, generally that means that the Akismet spam detector (whose operation and parameters we have no control over) has marked it as probable spam. Which in turn means it can be pulled back out. Which I will take care of in a minute.

    Sorry about the difficulty of logging in and staying logged in. There has been some discussion but no clear resolution. The settings for the site are by now as loose as we can make them.

    Probably these two kinds of trouble are connected. The spam detector comes down harder on posts that come from unlogged origins.

  8. The lost-and-found long solution comment from Lazarusjohn can be read by scrolling down, to timestamp 6:45, where it begins
    “Seems to be an easy problem. Call A the centre of the earth; B any point on the parallel,,,”

  9. Thanks for adding to the data, Carl. I think I recall when you were reporting on the difficulties, and it was around that time that I adjusted what appear to be some relevant settings. But we see it has not changed the situation for everybody.

  10. I still think that the interaction between WordPress and browser is dependent on the browser’s cache, possibly compounded by whether permission has been given for wordpress to store cookies on the user’s system. At the moment I can comment without logging in on my desktop and either tablet, but I do have to log in on my phone. The new, massive disadvantage on the iPads is that Safari now displays only the one-line data entry field, with no option to resize it. Personally, I’d rather have the old multiple-line field, and re-enter my password every time.

  11. “Is it bigger than a breadbox?” From a geezer tv panel quiz show, maybe “What’s My Line” or “I’ve Got a Secret”. A way of narrowing down a product or object by size, on the way to fully identifying it and then the person connected to it.

  12. @ Mitch – That overly precise answer is probably for the geographic midpoint of the entire country; a similar inquiry for Germany produces “51.1657° N, 10.4515° E”, which is very close to Kassel, which meteorologists traditionally use when listing sunrise and sunset times, rather than listing exact values for each city.

  13. @ deety – In our family, “breadbox” was often used when playing “20 Questions”, but as a kid I had no idea what size it meant, since we did not have one in the house. At some point my mom pointed out the one that my grandmother had, so that I then had a reference. My kids never had the same problem, because we have one in our kitchen.

  14. “Can you finnish this problem?” Was that a hint? The 60th parallel of north latitude passes through Finland. If it was not an intentional hint, please respond “No[r]way!”

  15. @Ooten Aboot (or “Canadian Raising” as you could be called!), it’s becoming pretty clear that this was an intentional spelling, and meant as a confirmation clue at least.

  16. Yes, 60 north (or south) latitude is correct. “Finnish” was intentional, as Helsinki (capital and largest city) is at this latitude. Anchorage, Alaska is at 61 degrees north. Well done!

  17. For anyone not aware of the background story behind the “That is Priceless”, here is a summary from NPR:

    NPR is rather proper, and doesn’t get into what “anal beads” has to do with it. The accusation raised questions among onlookers about how cheating could be even possible at public, high-level, live, over-the-board championship chess play. Well, a player could have an expert team ensconced upstairs in a hotel room, following the game on internet broadcast, and working out each next move from their combined expertise, reference works, or a big fast computer chess program. Then have another member of the team communicate the move to the player at the site. Hand signals would probably be caught on camera, so maybe an electronic quiet-buzzer taped to the player’s leg? (All that needs communicating might be a letter a-h and number 1-8.)

    In this case, Hans Niemann, the accused player, probably jocularly offered to play in the nude. This had the web and Twitter wiseacres suggest that he could still use wireless vibrating anal beads. 🙂

  18. Danny Boy’s post summarizes the scandal pretty well. I happened to have been casually following the story since the beginning, and was thus shocked when I watched last week’s Have I Got News for You and they treated the story as all anal beads, all the time… I mean, cheating hasn’t even been proved, only alleged, and you can find arguments for and against the allegation (Carlsen was playing poorly, Niemann really studied the responses to the particular play very well before-hand, Carlsen couldn’t believe it, got his panties in a twist; on the other hand Niemann has admitted to cheating before in online play when he was younger, and he is substantially lower ranked than Carlsen), but no one involved has even speculated on how, let alone settling on “anal beads”! So when Have I got News For You ran with it as if it were established, and not just the most asinine of unsubstantiated rumor-mongering, I was just disgusted. What the #^$@ is WRONG with our species?! I’d cheer the inevitable demise of Twitter with the recent whistle-blowing, Musk lawsuit nonsense, except a) the demise unfortunately is anything but “inevitable”, and b) even if it did go away, it would only be replaced by something even worse.

  19. While embedding is nice, you can actually get a still higher quality image if you follow my link.

  20. I posted the above comment from my iPad, and while I didn’t have any problem posting exactly, the experience was poor.

    The new, massive disadvantage on the iPads is that Safari now displays only the one-line data entry field, with no option to resize it.

    I guess I’m seeing this, in fact I can only see half of a line in the Comment window. This was in either Safari or Firefox. If I were to do any significant posting using that device, I’d compose the text offline and paste it in the window.

  21. I’m not much of a chess player, but isn’t that pretty aggressive king play by Black?

  22. “I assume the login problem happens with people who have WordPress accounts.”

    That’s an interesting idea. I do have one, although I never followed through and used it for anything. When I logged onto it, read “Manage which sites appear in your profile,” and added to it, it just put into the Website field here, so that isn’t the solution.

  23. Perhaps that is the solution after all. I deleted from that profile list, then came back and sent the post just above. Lo, this time it liked me and didn’t make me go thorough all the rigamarole.

  24. I learned about the chess cheating on NPR. It was on the program “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and they had no difficulty talking about anal beads. I forget which show, last week or the week before, otherwise I’d look it up and link it.

  25. It seems probable that Melcher’s dialog line is supposed to be for the player on the right, playing white, but he cannot take any black piece at all. The only white piece in position to take anything is the knight (d4), which could take black’s rook (b3) or pawn (c6). However, moving that night leaves the king in discovered check (from the black bishop at b6), so the move is illegal. If we assume Melcher was blind to the fact that it is obviously white’s turn to move, the dialog line would work for black: the bishop (b6) can take the knight (d4), putting the king (g1) in check, but white could then take the bishop, using his rook (d3) or pawn (c3). The bishop’s attack is therefore a pointless sacrifice.

  26. P.S. @ Brian in StL – I agree with you about the wandering king, but what I find even more puzzling is how black was able to manuver a rook behind white king-side line of pawns.

  27. If it weren’t for breadboxes, Volkswagens and schoolbuses, we wouldn’t know how to compare the sizes of things. 🙂

    Stephen Colbert briefly mentioned the chess scandal on his show when the story broke.

    The Wrong Hands comic reminded me of this one regarding glasses:

    (Also, the ongoing conversation regarding the need to retype login info for each post, I’ve had to do that for years on my PC. I use Firefox, and so I had been wondering myself if the privacy settings were preventing the info from being retained.)

  28. @ Grawlix – I tried both Safari and Firefox (under iOS), but neither one was able to do anything with that webp archive, and searching for “glass” at didn’t produce anything new. What am I missing?

  29. @Kilby, I think in the last few months there has been considerable movement in more web browsers being able to handle WEBP format in more contexts.

    You may not recall but here at CIDU we posted several tests, which failed before eventually succeeding just with the passage of time. It may also have to do with server handling or context — I was seeing a cartoon I wanted to put on CIDU, downloading to my computer, uploading to this site, then not being able to see it served by WP here. All in the same browsers. (The workaround was to convert it before uploading — which just meant opening in any graphics program and immediately saving in another format. Simple but a somewhat annoying extra step.)

  30. My enthusiasm for new data formats that offer no significant advantages other than to enforce planned obsolescence upon users of older hardware and software is understandably limited. I figured that my problem with .WEBP might have been caused by something like that, which is why I tested the behavior with Firefox. Perhaps a later update might provide compatibility, but it hasn’t done so yet.

    Unfortunately, Safari is an integrated part of iOS, and since Apple is unlikely to offer any new operating system updates for either of our iPads, I don’t see an obvious solution that does not involve throwing money out the window. All I can hope for is that .WEBP doesn’t become popular.

    Not long ago I had exactly the same type of problem with some *.HEIC images sent by some of my relatives. How nice. A brand-new file extension, but this time the software that couldn’t parse it was Apple Mail. The manufacturer-recommended solution was exactly the same: take that fully-functional piece of trusty hardware and throw it in the trash, and go lay out $500 for a new iPad that we don’t need.

  31. Not to defend format creep at all, but as a side issue altho it’s true that ios integrates Safari, other browsers can be installed. My iPad mini (model below) accepts Firefox, Chrome, and Opera.

    Model number MUXP2LL/A

    Model name iPad mini (5th generation)

    Software version 15.6.1

  32. @ Mitch – Thanks very much for the tip about Opera, which I still had pegged as a “non-free” browser, but that’s obviously a long outdated prejudice. However, our iPad is a Mini 2 (iOS 12.5.6), and the version of Opera that was offered for download was 3.3.6. When tasked with interpretation of a .WEBP link, all Opera offered was “Download” and “Open With…?” It’s beginning to seem like the fundamental problem are the limited codecs made available in iOS. Both Chrome and Edge refused to download, they are only supported on iOS 14.0 or newer.

  33. HEIC files can be easily converted using apps. Supposedly the format offers advantages over JPG files.

    As far as that link I posted, I didn’t have much to choose from. I was hoping it would just embed the image.

  34. Grawlix, thanks, your link with the glasses was easily viewable for most of us. And I enjoyed it next to that Wrong Hands.

  35. @Mitch4, any web browser on iOS is actually Safari with a cosmetic mod to look like other browsers.

    That’s a slight exaggeration. Typically a few small features are added, basically what could be added to a regular browser with a plugin (e. g. password manager integration).

  36. I sign in and read the site on my laptop and I leave it signed in. Never had a problem with doing so.

  37. @ Grawlix – My apologies for the curmudgeonly screed: my complaint really wasn’t directed at you at all; if .WEBP is all that Google provides, then that’s all you can attach. It’s just another reason for me to stick with DuckDuckGo.

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