A Cruel Prank
I have done several odd jobs, including cooking. During college, I applied at a Shanghai food restaurant as a “Study Boy”. A study boy’s job is to assist the chefs while learning from them in the process. Most of the greatest Chinese cuisine chefs started their careers like that.
I was surprised when they hired me since I didn’t know anything about cooking. They said that it doesn’t matter even if I don’t know how to boil water as they’d teach me.
How my work there turned out is a story for another time. This time, I’ll talk about a vicious prank that I witnessed there.
Pranks were normal in the workplace. Ordinary pranks such as putting a piece of tofu on the slipper of someone while he’s tiptoeing, dropping raw egg yolks on someone’s head while he’s cleaning his head, or replacing regular cookies with salted ones.
Sometimes, they can be more creative like the time when one of the chefs cooked a pair of black shorts and convincingly disguised it into a sea cucumber dish. He even went as far as to decorate it like a gourmet dish. When the dish was served to another chef who wasn’t present when the “food” was prepared, he was confused since that dish was quite expensive. The head chef told him that they had cooked too much of it so it’s all right for him to eat it. Needless to say, he’s not amused afterward.
However, all of these pale in comparison with the following prank.
One of my coworkers (for simplicity, I’ll refer him as Rudy) was not well-liked. He barely talked with anyone and he’d only talk to his subordinates when issuing instructions (he’s the head of the Dim Sum department). I didn’t remember seeing him socializing with anyone. He wouldn’t even greet us in the morning which is considered very rude by the Chinese.
Personally, I have nothing against Rudy since I understand that some people prefer to keep to themselves. However, the others didn’t share my opinion and they felt offended every time he ignored them.
So, one time, they decided to pull a big prank against him.
At the time, the jackpot for Mark 6 (a lottery in Hong Kong) reached around HKD90 million. So, many of my coworkers bought some tickets. A Jockey Club center (where you buy lottery tickets) being near to the restaurant also helped. When Rudy bought a ticket that day, someone had secretly followed him and had somehow learned the numbers that he bought.
You may wonder what’s the point of acquiring that information. Well, there’s a whiteboard in the kitchen where they write the lottery and horse racing results. So, the following day, they wrote the numbers they “acquired” on the board. When Rudy saw the board, he just smiled and started to do his work with an uncharacteristic smile. Perhaps due to excitement, he didn’t even read the newspaper in the kitchen to confirm the result.
The next day, Rudy looked pissed when I saw him, but who could blame him?
Last year, the price of GPU (computer graphics card) started to rise at ridiculous levels and it peaked at the beginning of 2018. This is due to a shortage of GPU caused by cryptocurrency miners. Saying that this is the most significant crisis in the history of GPU isn’t an overstatement.
I had to hold off on upgrading my GTX 1070 because the price of the GPU I wanted to purchase had increased by US$400. That’s an absurd price to pay for a mere GPU.
The good news is, the GPU prices are now starting to stabilize because the cryptocurrency market is currently experiencing a slow downturn. I could only hope that this trend would continue.
No, I’m not giving you a finger. In the Japanese sign language, this is the sign for ani (elder brother).
Recently, I asked a group of math teachers how many pairs of primes are there that sum up to 1111. They wrote down some prime numbers to see which of them would yield the answer. It took them a few minutes to figure out that the answer is “one” — 1109 + 2 = 1111.
There is only one even prime, which is 2. When two prime numbers (other than 2) are added, the sum would be an even number since the sum of two odd numbers is an even number. Therefore, one of them must be an even number to produce an odd number sum. Both 1109 and 2 are prime numbers so they fit the criteria.
I must have caught the teachers off guard for them to not realize this immediately.
This is a video of Mary Hopkins performing Those were the Days in France (1969).
Mysterious Nothing! how shall I define
Thy shapeless, baseless, placeless emptiness?
Nor form, nor colour, sound, nor size is thine,
Nor words nor fingers can thy voice express;
But though we cannot thee to aught compare,
A thousand things to thee may likened be,
And though thou art with nobody nowhere,
Yet half mankind devote themselves to thee.
How many books thy history contain!
How many heads thy mighty plans pursue!
What labouring hands thy portion only gain!
What busy bodies thy doings only do!
To thee the great, the proud, the giddy bend,
And — like my sonnet — all in nothing end.
— Mr. Porson, “To Nothing”, The Gentleman’s Magazine, Vol. 115, April 1814
“I am not sincere, even when I am saying that I am not sincere.” — Jules Renard
This is an impressive billiard trick. It’s easy for anyone who knows enough science and mathematics to dismiss the skill involved and say that this was only achieved due to the setup (and the physics and mathematics behind it). But in the end, you still need a certain level of skill (and guts) to pull it off.