Thursday, September 27, 2007

More Fridays

I missed last week's Friday Seven, so here it is:

- polo top
- broken timer
- sponge organizers
- sponge rollers (never used)
- photo frame stand
- burned music CD
- office supplies (labels, folder, envelopes)
- small plastic bottles (about 5)
- pair of silver hoop earrings
- old underwear (just had to go)

That's 10. Total 461.

This week's:
- new sheet (too small)- to inlaws
- new pillowcases (too small) - sent to in-laws
- 2 too large sari blouses
- postcards
- 1 gold long skirt
- pair of earrings

So that's just 7. Total 468.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Checkers is solved!

Imagine my surprise when I read this headline in this week's Science magazine.

Turns out computers have been working on it for years. The question:

What would happen in a game of checkers if both players play perfectly (no mistakes, anticipating the other's moves)?

In tic-tac-toe, the result is known - a draw, unless the first player (X) wins by choosing a corner for the first move.

How did they do it? They calculated the number of possible positions with up to 24 checkers (which is the mind-boggling number 500,995,484,682,338,672,639). Then they disregarded the positions that don't make sense (like jumping across the board, which you can't do) and found a "best path" of positions. They did this by playing forward (just playing) and by playing backward (imagining the end and extrapolating the moves in reverse).

And the result: A perfect play by both sides (no mistakes!) results in (tada!) a draw.

Hmm. Kind of a disappointment, yet an amazing mathematical discovery, and the most complex game solved so far.

In the past they have also done Connect Four - first player can force a win. They've also solved a whole bunch of games I haven't heard of :)

Makes me wonder if perfect play by more complex games results in either a first player win or draw. No wonder there was such a fight over eenie-meenie-miney-moe!

Water Week Eco-tip: How do you brush your teeth - with the water running? Instead, fill a cup with water and use it to wet your brush. You can rinse out your mouth, the sink, and brush with the cup of water at the end. Compared to leaving the water running, you save at least 10 gallons over a 2 minute brush, or 2 gallons even if you only let the water run at the beginning and end. Even if you only brush once a day, that saves you 730-3650 gallons a year!

Friday Friday Friday Seven Seven Seven #26-30

I have actually missed posting 4 Seven Things, so here are 5, including this week's. So you won't think I haven't been giving stuff away:

August 17 #26
- electric beater (I can make do with a whisk)
- set of oil pastels (to a kid who will love them)
- hanging decoration (faded and worn)
- spice rack (no space in the new cabinets! I saved the bottles)
- bath toilet seat cover (old and stained)
- returned cable modem? (got a new one though)
- 1 top (given as gift)

7 items - total 413

August 24 #27
- 4 cushion covers (given as gift)
- 1 old rug (threadbare)
- returned duvet cover (to mom)
- returned 2 frying pans (to friend)
- 5 plant pots (to cousin)

13 items - total 426

August 31 #28
- ribbon/notebook fastener (from an old handmade journal, which I've also tossed)
- set of old pens (some that write, some that don't)
- petticoat (which is worn under a sari)
- 4 metal bowls (as gifts)

7 items - total 433

September 7 #29
- 2 scraps of fabric (I seem to have a lot of these)
- 2 small ceramic lamps (for tea lights or oil)
- 2 sets of duplicate photos (to mom and mil)
- espresso machine (hardly used)
- stuffed doll (as gift for a baby)

8 items - total 440

And now, this week:

September 14 #30

- 4 tops (various old ones I rediscovered, to mom and Goodwill)
- skirt (black, long, see-through)
- pair of pants (way too baggy)
- bed dust ruffle (torn apart)
- plastic clothes bin (to sister)
- set of old "wish" cards (nice wishes, but no longer necessary to keep)
- keychain
- paris brochures

11 items - total 451

That's an average of

Okay I feel up to an eco-tip now. Based on my own experience.

Eco-tip: How fast does your shower run? Put a bucket under it and run for one minute. Measure out the bucket with a gallon milk jug (use the water for plants or save in another bucket). If yours runs faster than about 3 gallons per minute, invest in a low-flow one with aeration. You'll hardly feel the difference and you'll save a LOT of water.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Everything is different...and the same

Moving changes everything.

My whole Riot for Austerity cutback is up in the air - we now have a lawn and plants to water, plus new home expenses.

How do you not buy new stuff for a new house? Well, I'm trying. Haven't bought any new furniture yet, but I did have to get a can of ant repellent. Yuck. Feeling terrible and guilty about that.

So, I've also been breaking my other rules left and right:

- I drank some (admittedly, flat and warm) Pepsi that was sitting in the car. Mmmmmmmm

- I browsed an Asian fashion magazine and drooled over swimsuits I'll never wear.

- I stood in front of my new closet and new bathroom mirror and tried on old clothes in new ways.

- We now only have a shower, no tub, so I haven't taken a bucket bath in a month.

- I've created a few more lists. I am going to have to find more list-avoiding strategies.

- I've been dishing out clothing compliments, too!

After all of that, I feel glad I've managed to remain (technically) vegan, still compost and recycle, and unpack a couple more boxes!

My mom would say this goes to show that overdoing it is never good, but I do feel like it's out of my system. I'm now raring to get rid of some more stuff.

There's no eco-tip this week either. I'm feeling too hypocritical for that. I hope you all fare better than I do!