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Over to you, Kent

10 Nov



Suarez Tucks In

25 Jun

Suarez is at it again. Fifa launches a probe into the latest Suarez biting incident.




Pick n Pay’s Puzzling Policy

21 Feb
You *magazine*, or someone else?

‘You’ magazine, or someone else?

I just had an interesting interaction at a nearby Pick n Pay Supermarket. They used to have a ‘scan-right’ policy in which they promised to give you a product gratis if they charged you a different price at the till than was listed on the shelf (and if it was demonstrably their fault). They have recently changed their policy so that they give you double the difference between the two prices.

At least, that is the simple version. According to the lovely ladies who helped me this morning, the calculation is complicated by one additional step.

Sorry if you lose sleep over maths story sums, but here is one:

Jordan goes to buy some cheese. The shelf says ‘R36’. When scanned at the till, Jordan is charged R50. He complains to the manageress who kindly honours their ‘Double the Difference™’ policy. How much change should Jordan get?

If you’re keeping up, you might be calling out ‘R28!!’ but you’d apparently be wrong, because our branch has interpreted the policy to mean that you must calculate what double the difference is, and then subtract it from the till price (R50). So I received R22 change.

I insisted that this can’t be right, and they pulled the “I’m sorry, sir, we don’t make the policies” line after trying to explain a few times. Eventually I took the R22 (because score anyway, right?), and left.

Not being a mathematician, I’ve had a go at working out by means of trial and error whether this can actually be their policy. Consider the following table:


The first line is my actual transaction. You subtract the list price from the till price to get R14, double it to get R28, and then subtract it again from the actual till price to get my change: R22.

Observe what happens when I make the difference smaller or bigger. In line 5, for example, if Pick n Pay only mislabelled their item very slightly wrong (by R2), I should receive R46 change. By contrast (line 6), if they made a huge mistake and listed the cheese at R10 instead of R50, I would owe Pick n Pay an additional R30 for their error.

Please, mathematicians, by all means tell me if I’ve gone wrong, but otherwise, Pick n Pay ladies, your move.



“Feminism? I think I’ve heard of that.” – Execs

2 Feb

I saw this little girl’s letter to the Lego company on Buzzfeed, and it reminded me of something I forgot to moan about.

buzzfeed lego girl

Us parents have to go to toy stores once in a while, and seeing as I have girls, I have to go to the pink half of the store. Judging by the toys on offer, our major toy retailer reckons that all girls ought to aspire to dressing up in outfits, wearing make-up, cooking and cleaning, or having babies. If there were any girls’ toys not in those categories, they made up about 5% of the stock.

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s been quite a long time that women have been allowed to work in any field they want, or to engage in hobbies that aren’t gossiping or racism. Why are we still telling girls that toy musical instruments and science kits and adventure equipment are ‘boys things’? I am grateful for–and deeply respect–women who choose to use their energies to be home-makers and kid-havers, but why are we training girls to think that this is the proper summit of their aspirations?

Why with 7-year-old Charlotte do we need to ask toy-makers to include girls in other awesome things?

I consider myself fairly backward, and I find this horrifying.

High-class Reviews!

17 Nov

Because of my roaring social life, I have had time to watch lots more of yesteryear’s television and movies that everyone has already forgotten about. You heard it here last! Reviews of blockbuster movie Pacific Rim, and
TV’s Suits.

Pacific Rim

Director Guillermo Del Toro is best known for giving me diagnosable post-traumatic stress disorder after watching most of Pan’s Labyrinth. Earlier this year, he released the less-disturbing bigger-budget sci-fi behemoth
Pacific Rim.

It’s about huge alien monsters, called Kaiju, who’ve invaded earth via a portal in the sea-floor. To avert their extermination, the humans unite to develop sky-scraper-sized mechwarriors piloted by pairs of synchronous street-fighting humans, who pound the aliens back to where they belong. But now, the monsters are evolving…

It’s full of colossal-scale martial-arts robot-alien battles, wrecking cities in the hope of saving mankind. What’s not to like?

<Minor-plot-hole-spoiler-that-might-ruin-the-movie-if-you-haven’t-seen-it to follow>

One thing.

The sword.

OK two things. The scientists are as annoying and cliched as it is possible to be. But the sword!

An hour into the movie… an hour full of epic battles in which the robots fist-punch the monsters, zap them with plasma weapons, blitz them with missiles, and so on, all of which only seems to annoy the creatures, and which is so dangerous that most of the crews are killed… an hour into this movie, the main surviving team seems to be all out of ammo and out of options when…
the sword.

One of the heroes even says, ‘Oh no, Other Lead Actor, we’re out of options! This is it!’

To which Other Lead Actor responds, ‘No we still have the sword!’

She then activates the sword, they whip it out, and cut the monster clean in half with the first swing. I know it would be a much shorter movie, but shouldn’t they just always be using the sword? They had to punch and kick the aliens through buildings for ages before they even dazed the suckers, but they could have just cut them in two without any effort? They have this 100% effective weapon as a last resort? So much of a last resort that one of them forgets they even have it?

I can’t forgive the sword.

Suits (TV)

Suits is like LA Law for people who were born after LA Law. Except the kid (not the Corbin-Bernsen-looking guy) in this one has law super-powers, and I can’t remember if LA Law had
super-powers in it.

Effectively, Corbin mark2 was supposed to find a new junior associate who would be the Next Big Thing, but all the Harvard graduates were cliches. So he accidentally finds this super-power kid who doesn’t actually have a law degree, but is better at law than all the lawyers.

He wants to hire him as an associate (because that’s the position he was supposed to fill, so what choice did he have?), but he’s not qualified.

What would you do in this situation, especially if you were Harvard-clever?

What’s that? You’d hire him as an associate anyway and find extremely fraudulent and incriminating ways to help him practice law without a licence, making it certain that you would lose your own lawyering licence and destroy the firm in which you’re senior partner if anyone found out? You too?

Because that’s the solution that drives the tension in this show from
episode one onwards.

Me? I’d hire him as a researcher so that I could get him to read all the stuff I didn’t want to, and so that I could take all the credit for his lawyering super-powers, which is mostly what happens anyway. Or, I’d find a way of getting him into Harvard legitimately, seeing as that is exactly what this very lawyer’s boss had done for him.

Again, it would be a shorter and more boring show, but at least it wouldn’t be incredibly stupid.