Mrs D and I took the train to Vallorcine this morning on the basis of a favourable weather forecast for the afternoon. We found cloud, snow showers, flat light or whiteout, and we saved an American from disappearing into a stream bed, possibly forever. Whilst the snow was lovely, the problem, most of the time, was that you couldn’t see it! We skied a few runs in the cloud and found this American who asked for help because “I am a fair weather skier”. We took it in turns to find piste markers to follow down a blue run. At the bottom, which he reached just before us, we saw him heading off over a helicopter landing station (and potentially down a very long way, eventually into the Arve). I called him back, shouting that the piste ran between the blue marker poles, and that the clearing was for helicopters. He thanked me and pointed out he was ‘waiting for a lift’! Mrs D and I left him to it. We skied a bit more before we took an earlier train back than originally planned.
I am very grateful to another blogger (thanks Action Outdoors) for leading me to “Marcel – the shell with shoes on”. If you have the time please take a look, I think you will be amused. Try these two links
I was interested to discover a few things about Sudoku that I did not know before. The first is that, although Sudoku squares, with no duplicate numbers in rows or columns, have been around for hundreds of years, the first puzzles were published in America. They were called Number Place and were first published in 1979. In 1984 a Japanese publisher produced this type of puzzle with the name Sudoku. In 1997, Wayne Gould, a retired judge from New Zealand, discovered them and wrote a computer program to generate them. In 2004, whilst in London, Wayne Gould sold the idea to The Times. Strangely, in Japan these puzzles are still known as Number Place, while in English-speaking areas they are called Sudoku. (This information was gleaned from http://sudoku.wetpaint.com/page/The+History+of+Sudoku.)
Some recent research at University College Dublin has demonstrated that you need at least 17 numbers in a 9×9 Sudoku grid to ensure a unique solution. Nearly 50,000 single-solution, 17-clue puzzles had already been found, so the researchers focused on finding a 16-clue one. It took the whole of 2011 to test all the possibilities but none were discovered with a unique solution.