Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Base case trouble

The entirety of my silverware is packed in boxes on their way across the Atlantic. It only took me a few hours to realize my mistake. As backpackers know, one cannot survive long without a knife, so I quickly bought a knife at the nearest store. There is a world of a difference between having one knife and no knife at all! However, good, sturdy knives come in good, sturdy packaging, a mixture of cardboard and of hard plastic. How do you open such packaging? With a knife. Thus, in order to get a knife, you need to already have a knife! So, how can one go from the knife-less state to the state of having one knife? After that initial knife it is easy to get a second one, a third one, etc., but getting started with the first one is a challenge. (Today's solution used a lengthy mix of the following ingredients: twisting, turning, hitting, pulling, and a dash of swearing.)

5 comments:

  1. Borrow a knife from your neighbor

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  2. Grab the handle end, and push the packaged knife into the ground?

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  3. Sounds like a modern (and shorter) version of "There's a hole in my bucket".

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  4. That song also exists in French: "Chère Elise". Very apt. I should use it next time I teach intro to recursive programming (or to proofs by induction). But I never knew that there was also an English version. Thanks for pointing it out!

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