Monday, October 2, 2017

What is your quest?

I take attendance by having the students answer a question. This one has occurred previously.

What is your quest?

References first, of course:
  • To seek the holy grail.
  • blue?
  • blue! no, wait...
  • To catch them all
Then things that might be references, but the Stodgy Professor Didn't Get It:
  • To catch the golden shoop
  • neze!
  • :)
Locally-relevant quests:
  • to participate in a really good high five
  • to pass this class with flying colors
This attendance sheet moved a bit slowly throughout the room, so some people responded with hyper-local, context-sensitive quests:
  • To make sure everyone gets this [attendance sheet] before class ends
  • TO SIGN IN
  • to remember to fill out the attendance sheet
Achievable, a bit self-centered, but what would YOU say if you were put on the spot for a quest?
  • get the platinum trophy
  • straight As
  • have a good shoulder
  • Have a good time
  • 8 hrs of sleep a night
  • To either see the world burn or live on an island with access to League of Legends servers and golden retrievers.
  • graduate
  • Schedule sandwiches to eat by myself
Noble quests that I hope succeed:
  • To eliminate suffering and stigma caused by mental illness.
Not really achievable, because of the limitations of reality:
  • frisbee around the world
  • to make travelling from US to London as fast as 10 min
  • To do literally everything
  • to reach my asymptote
  • to pet every dog
Quests which can only be awarded retrospectively (after death, or possibly after the end of time itself):
  • to eat as much ice cream as possible
  • Live a fulfilling life
  • Make the best cup of coffee ever

Today's Recursive Award of Recursively Awarding Recursive Awards of ... goes to the quest "to find out my next quest". (Look! You achieved it! Now you achieved it again!)

The Noble Quest that I absolutely endorse and support goes to "To eliminate suffering and stigma caused by mental illness."


This post's theme word is reeve (n), "a local official." Upon her deathbed, Cynthia was delighted to hear the reeve pronounce, "You have officially eaten as much ice cream as possible!" whereupon she died of satisfaction, though the coroner later disputed the fact by stating "Sugar overdose."

Friday, September 29, 2017

What is the largest number you have counted to out loud?

I take attendance by having the students answer a question.

What is the largest number you have counted to out loud?

Again we had traditionalists: 0, 10, 50, 100, 101, 1000, 1001, 1024.

Also the unusual ones: 2, 4, 13, 21, 68, 751, 827, 922, 690,000.

Also those who wanted only to give bounds: "at least 10", "<1>=1", "probably like 15".

Also, or some reason, people who count to non-integer numbers out loud? 3.5 or 3.1415926535897932386424.

And of course "a millillion (by millillions)", all of which: [sic].

My favorite was the editorialized "100, the largest known number". The award for "wrote the longest reply and went over into a paragraph in the margin, but still somehow didn't answer the prompt" goes to "I was trying to break an iron ore in minecraft with my hands. It took like 300 hits. I didn't count, but I should have."


This post's theme word is adynaton, "hyperbole in which exaggeration is taken to a ridiculous and literally impossible extreme." I never needed a word for extra-hyperbolic hyperbole until I heard someone claim they had counted to O(∞) aloud; what adynaton!