Rear view mirror....and some possible sci-fi!

Look I’ve said this before and I’m not about to repeat it again.

Published: 30th September 2018 05:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th September 2018 11:53 AM   |  A+A-

Look I’ve said this before and I’m not about to repeat it again. If you want your email ID withheld, no problem. But in future you’ll have to give at least a city/town/village name to get it published (if it’s right of course). Otherwise I’ll have to build up fake mafia addresses on some Jovian moon like I did this time. Clear?

Okay. Think of lightning and its accompanying thunder. They happen together but we here hear the sound several seconds later because of distance. Now think of a planet that’s 10 light years away and has a large mirror pointed at Earth. If you look at that mirror with a giant telescope could you see into the past?


(The problem was regarding the Biblical God who punished Cain for killing Abel. Among other things Cain said, “My punishment is too great . . . whoever finds me will kill me.” The question was: Why is this statement is not logically wrong -- considering there was no one else on Earth?)
The wrongness is conferred by the fact that Eve names her son Seth in memory of Abel (Gen 4:25), we can conclude that the birth of Seth, when Adam and Eve were 130 (Gen 5:3), was shortly after the death of Abel. We also know that Adam and Eve had many other children (Gen 5:4). So the simplest interpretation is that in the almost 130 years between the births of Cain and Seth, Adam and Eve had many other children, who grew into adults, began families, and started spreading throughout the earth. The people Cain was afraid of were, his parents, his siblings, his nephews and nieces, and perhaps even grand-nephews and grand-nieces. -- Shashi Shekher Thakur,  
(The second one was: “What do the words SUBORDINATELY and AMBIDEXTROUSLY have something almost in common?”)

The possible answers for this question are: (1) They are adverbs. (2) They contain all vowels, that is, a, e, i, o, and u. (3) All alphabets are unique, that is, no letter repeats in both words. (4)  Both are made of 7 alphabets from the first row of the keyboard, and 4 alphabets from the second row. However, the number of alphabets in the third row differs. -- Rekha G,
Apart from the fact that both end in LY, the words contain all the five vowels -- in the first case in the reverse alphabetical order and in the second, in the natural order but for a jumble in both cases – along with the half-vowel Y. -- Rajagopalan K T,
Each of the words does not have any of the letters repeated. The first word is thirteen lettered and the second is fourteen lettered. -- Murali S L,
Both words use 13 and 14 letters respectively only once without repetition. Such words are known as isograms or heterograms. Incidentally the word UNCOPYRIGHTABLE is an isogram using 15 letters of the alphabet only once. -- Varaha Murthy,
(Usually about 50 - 75 people respond to a problem. The logic one was I guess way over the heads of most people. I got only TWO correct solutions!)

This was an interesting one. Here is the full list: Joan Caruso, Tuesday, Soprano, La Traviata, La Scala Milan; Enrico Tebaldi, Wednesday, Bass, Barber of Seville, Vienna Statsoper; Renata Chialapin, Thursday, Soprano, La Boheme, Bolshoi Opera; Luciano Sutherland, Thursday, Tenor, Rigoletto, Covent Garden; Fyodor Domingo, Friday, Tenor, Turandot, Met New York; Placido Price, Saturday, Baritone, Magic Flute, Zurich Opera; Leontyne Pavarotti, Sunday, Mezzo, Carmen, Bastille. -- Vivek Krishnan (email ID withheld on request), Somewhere on Ganymede. (Yes, Seshadri Nathan Krishnan,, you too got it right.)


The comment on my problem by Abhay Prakash as “surprisingly easy” only shows his high IQ. My congratulations! (I have seen many people struggling with it.) Here’s another. An apple costs Rs ‘a’; a banana costs Rs ‘b’; and a cherry costs Rs ‘c’. The cost of ‘b’ apples, ‘b’ bananas and ‘a’ + ‘b’ cherries is Rs 77. What would be the cost for one apple, two bananas and one cherry? The numbers ‘a’, ‘b’ and ‘c’ are +ve integers. (Submitted by Dr P Gnanaseharan,

(Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine)


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