Geek fun: How to catch a lion and Proof techniques

Randomly going through links to links to my Facebook entries, I bumped into a compendium of “proof” techniques at Chris Riesbeck’s site: Dana Angluin’s List of Proof Techniques . Here are some samples:

Proof by eminent authority:
‘I saw Karp in the elevator and he said it was probably NP-complete.’
Proof by elimination of the counterexample:
‘Assume for the moment that the hypothesis is true. Now, let’s suppose we find a counterexample. So what? QED.’ (from Don Woods <DON@SU-AI.ARPA>)

Reading this, I was reminded of the article on “How to catch a lion” that I read eons ago (Journal of Irreproducible Results, maybe?) I found a version from 1989; check out:
How To Catch A Lion

Some favorites from this page, on the
Problem: To Catch a Lion in the Sahara Desert:

The geometrical inversion method: We place a spherical cage in the desert, enter it and lock it from inside. We then perform an inversion with respect to the cage. Then the lion is inside the cage, and we are outside.
The Schrödinger method: At every instant there is a non-zero probability of the lion being in the cage. Sit and wait.

Do you have pointers to other such fun reading? Please do share! Thanks!

#proofs #jokes #geekfun

 

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About Chandra

Interested in people, language, ideas, technology and their interactions.
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