If you're visiting from Tangled Bank #62 you've probably already noticed that this isn't your usual science blog. I rarely post about cool science from other sources, but concentrate on the research going on in my own lab. We're trying to understand how and why bacteria take up DNA (Is it food? Is it sex?), using a mix of molecular and bioinformatics approaches. I hope the things I write give others a peek into how research is really done, but I don't expect the day-to-day stuff to be of much interest to anyone except the other members of our lab (the sidebar has links to their blogs).
But sometimes I post about other things, and today I have a puzzle. The scintillation counter we use identifies its users' preset programs by number, and each job's program is flagged by a small card whose black-and-white pattern encodes the user number. The other day card #9 went missing, so we had to decipher the code so we could create a fake card #9.
Unfortunately other cards were also missing, but we were able to infer the pattern for card #9 from the five cards shown on the left. If you get stuck, there's a hint on the USS-R-US blog (link in the sidebar).
The rule we inferred didn't seem to make sense for user cards with numbers higher than 10; I'll post those patterns tomorrow.
How chemistry exemplifies the Fermi method
1 hour ago in The Curious Wavefunction