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Full Monopoly Game in 21 Seconds

I've been in plenty of Monopoly games that dragged on for hours, with one or two bankrupt players sitting on the sidelines, bored to death. But a few intrepid gamers decided to figure out the shortest theoretically possible Monopoly game. Their solution is explained here and depicted in the video below. While extremely unlikely, it's theoretically possible that it could happen. It takes only nine rolls of the dice.

But what's more interesting is this comment thread in which several other Monopoly theoreticians propose slightly shorter games -- several eight-roll versions and even one seven-roll game. There's also a two-roll solution that involves a strategy known as "insane auctioning" which seems even more unlikely (since it involves a player making remarkably stupid choices when buying properties), but hey, it's theoretically possible so I say it's valid. There is also, of course, a theoretical "shortest game" in which one player simply defaults (typically by throwing the board across the room). That requires no rolls and is thus mathematically optimal. But let's be civil.

Anyway, here's the 9-move, 21-second game that started the discussion. Behold the nerdiness!

(Via Metafilter, which has its own awesomely nerdy comment thread.)

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Courtesy University of Manchester
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History
148 Lost Alan Turing Papers Discovered in Filing Cabinet
Original image
Courtesy University of Manchester

You never know what you’re going to uncover when you finally get around to combing through that decades-old filing cabinet in the back room. Case in point: The University of Manchester recently unearthed 148 long-lost papers belonging to computer science legend Alan Turing, as ScienceAlert reports.

The forgotten papers mostly cover correspondence between Turing and others between 1949 and his death in 1954. The mathematician worked at the university from 1948 on. The documents include offers to lecture—to one in the U.S., he replied, “I would not like the journey, and I detest America”—a draft of a radio program he was working on about artificial intelligence, a letter from Chess magazine, and handwritten notes. Turing’s vital work during World War II was still classified at the time, and only one document in the file refers to his codebreaking efforts for the British government—a letter from the UK’s security agency GCHQ. The papers had been hidden away for at least three decades.

A typed letter to Alan Turing has a watermark that says 'Chess.'
Courtesy University of Manchester

Computer scientist Jim Miles found the file in May, but it has only now been sorted and catalogued by a university archivist. "I was astonished such a thing had remained hidden out of sight for so long," Miles said in a press statement. "No one who now works in the school or at the university knew they even existed." He says it’s still a mystery why they were filed away in the first place.

The rare discovery represents a literal treasure trove. In 2015, a 56-page handwritten manuscript from Turing’s time as a World War II codebreaker sold for more than $1 million.

[h/t ScienceAlert]

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Can You Figure Out How Many Triangles Are in This Picture?

Time for another brain teaser. How many triangles do you see here? A Quora user posted the image above (which we spotted on MSN) for fellow brainiacs to chew on. See if you can figure it out. We’ll wait.

Ready?

So, as you can see, all the smaller triangles can combine to become bigger triangles, which is where the trick lies. If you count up every different triangle formed by the lines, you should get 24. (Don’t forget the big triangle!)

Some pedantic Quora users thought it through and realized there are even more triangles, if you really want to go there. There’s a triangle formed by the “A” in the signature in the right-hand corner, and if we’re counting the concept of triangles, the word “triangle” counts, too.

As math expert Martin Silvertant writes on Quora, “A triangle is a mathematical idea rather than something real; physical triangles are by definition not geometrically perfect, but approximations of triangles. In other words, both the pictorial triangles and the words referring to triangles are referents to the concept of a triangle.” So yes, you could technically count the word “triangle.”  (Silvertant also includes a useful graphic explaining how to find all the pictorial triangles.)

Check out the whole Quora discussion for in-depth explainers from users about their methods of figuring it out.

[h/t MSN]

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