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Meurig
2010-Dec-31, 05:34 PM
When I was young, while hunting for long-forgotten treasures in the attic, I came across what appeared to be a single box. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a handwritten note on one of the top interlocking flaps. It simply read "5 boxes". This piqued my curiosity, so I opened the box, only to discover what appeared to be another single box. Inside of this one, I found two more boxes sitting side by side; one being empty; the other containing maybe the most interesting item of the group: an empty, heart-shaped box, like those given to lovers or 'significant others' on Valentine's Day. After mulling over the fact that not all "boxes' are cubed-shaped, I found myself momentarily stumped. After all, the boxes in front of me only added up to four. It wasn't until I remembered the one at my back …that the solution hit me. The biggest box was included in (though not contained by any of) the "5 boxes".

Paul Beardsley
2010-Dec-31, 06:08 PM
This story is right up my street. I read it out to my wife, who didn't share my appreciation: "That's an awful lot of words to say nothing." Still, what does she know? Er, quite a lot, actually, but she doesn't understand the intellectual joy of boxes that challenge our conception of expectations and numbers.

My favourite episode of Futurama is the one with the boxes. The Simpsons episode in which Bart visits a box factory doesn't hit the spot quite so much.

Anyway, that was more fun than reading Jorge Luis Borges in the bath.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-31, 06:19 PM
Or Luis, even.

When Graham went overseas, he gave my two best friends permission to throw out anything of his they deemed broken. (This was his response to being badgered about a box of broken sunglasses we found once; he'd said he could fix them, even though he couldn't and had bought them from the dollar store anyway.) Turns out quite a lot of things were "broken." However, we did find a box with a crowbar, a set of lock picks, an axe head, and a box labeled "This Is Not a Bomb." We still own that box. I don't think there's anything untoward in it, and what it says on the box is certainly true. No bombs there. I can never remember what it actually is, though.

Strange
2010-Dec-31, 06:20 PM
er... what?

NEOWatcher
2010-Dec-31, 06:31 PM
http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/haushalt/e020.gif

Happy belated boxing day!

http://www.cosgan.de/images/smilie/musik/k020.gif

mike alexander
2010-Dec-31, 07:06 PM
After our last move (now ten blessed years past) we were in the garage, down to the last half dozen boxes. I grabbed one one that seemed light and turning it around found the words "Attic Thing" written on the side in green marker. It was empty.

Perhaps the Thing had already gotten out.

Moose
2010-Dec-31, 08:46 PM
I once watched a truck hauling a flatbed trailer with four identical flatbed trailers stacked (some upside down) on it. I then had a not-quite zen-like revelation about what they ship boxes in, and how they protect those packing peanuts during transport.

/ Still figuring out why cargo goes by ships, and shipments by car (or truck).

Gillianren
2010-Dec-31, 09:07 PM
Do you want me to explain? I can do park on driveways and drive on parkways, too.

Moose
2010-Dec-31, 09:15 PM
Actually, yeah, Gillian. I'm all ears. (Well, all eyes, but you know what I mean.)

Gillianren
2010-Dec-31, 09:46 PM
We'll start with the fact that the words are both older than, well, cars and trucks. Indeed, "cargo" is the older word, dating back to the 1650s. (The Online Etymology Dictionary proves its worth again!) "Shipment" goes back to 1802. From that, logically, one may assume that the method of transport is not the relevant issue. "Cargo" originated from a Latin word meaning "to carry on a cart," but as I'm sure you know, old words do new jobs. When a word was needed to describe that which was carried on a ship, they just took the one about carts and made it do the same job there. And originally, "shipment" just meant "stuff to be put on a ship." As it happens, neither word's definition specifically requires a mode of transport. I believe the actual distinction is more that "cargo" is "stuff you've carried" and "shipment" is "a specific allotment of stuff intended for one destination." A Google search under "cargo" does bring up UPS and FedEx.

As for parkway/driveway, it's another "the words are older than that" issue. Parkways are called that because they're beautiful and scenic, and they're laid out to be. (At least originally.) Driveways used to just be the path from the gates to the manor on large estates, which are often pretty lengthy. It's only as more people started needing places to keep their vehicles that they became so short.

megrfl
2010-Dec-31, 09:50 PM
After our last move (now ten blessed years past) we were in the garage, down to the last half dozen boxes. I grabbed one one that seemed light and turning it around found the words "Attic Thing" written on the side in green marker. It was empty.

Perhaps the Thing had already gotten out.

This made me laugh out loud, thank you. :D

Meurig
2010-Dec-31, 10:44 PM
This story is right up my street. I read it out to my wife, who didn't share my appreciation: "That's an awful lot of words to say nothing."[...]

She's right. In fact, pending a sentence or two defining the symbols, "{{{},{{}}}}" could've conveyed the sum of the boxes, as well as the manner in which they were situated when I discovered them.

But that wouldn't have done justice to the fact that one of the two empties was heart-shaped!

Paul Beardsley
2010-Dec-31, 11:02 PM
She's right. In fact, pending a sentence or two defining the symbols, "{{{},{{}}}}" could've conveyed the sum of the boxes, as well as the manner in which they were situated when I discovered them.

But that wouldn't have done justice to the fact that one of the two empties was heart-shaped!

Actually, when I read the story out to her, she assumed it was one of my stories. She was quite chagrined when she realised it was another person's story.

As for the symbols, you could have used different brackets, reserving the curly ones for the heart-shaped box.

Meurig
2010-Dec-31, 11:16 PM
Actually, when I read the story out to her, she assumed it was one of my stories. She was quite chagrined when she realised it was another person's story.

*lol*


As for the symbols, you could have used different brackets, reserving the curly ones for the heart-shaped box.

[[[],[{}]]] -- I like it!

Meurig
2010-Dec-31, 11:27 PM
...I like this discussion board, as well. :)

I've posted this story on a few other DB's, but this thread has already generated more responses than all of the others combined.

Swift
2010-Dec-31, 11:40 PM
At a place I used to work at (it was a company that grew quartz crystals), in the R&D department we had a long set of shelves in our office space/lab where we kept research samples in small identical white boxes. The boxes were all labeled with what their contents were. Our boss would always come in, looking for a specific sample, and could never seem to find it, so the rest of us would have to help him look. After one of these searches, one of the other guys and myself randomly picked one of the boxes and stuck a post-it note on it saying "This is the one you want".

A week or so later our boss was again looking for a sample and we were helping him find it. Yes, it was the box we had labeled "this is the one you want". We almost hurt ourselves with laughter.

jokergirl
2011-Jan-03, 09:30 AM
[[[],[{}]]] -- I like it!

I must be a natural programmer because I counted the first box to begin with. It took me a while to realize someone would, could possibly forget the first box.

;)

HenrikOlsen
2011-Jan-04, 04:45 AM
[[[],[<3]]]

Swift
2011-Jan-04, 02:23 PM
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Paul Beardsley
2011-Jan-04, 05:29 PM
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.


I've often wondered what the point of this song was. I remember Isaac Asimov holding forth on people who complain that ancient Romans (etc) could really build whereas nowadays we have the houses described in the song. He countered that it meant people had homes.

TrAI
2011-Jan-04, 11:05 PM
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.


Little blocks on the hillside
Little blocks made of concrete
Little blocks on the hillside
Little blocks poured just the same
Theres a gray one, and a light black one
and a dark white one and an ashy one,
and they're all made out of concrete
and they're all poured just the same

Pouring an entire house in one mold never caught on, but that's thinking outside the box, sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't. There is always some knowledge to take away from the experience, I suppose.

GeorgeLeRoyTirebiter
2011-Jan-04, 11:29 PM
I've often wondered what the point of this song was.

What? It's protesting middle-class conformity and the use of institutions such as college to eliminate individualism. The uniformity of the suburbs referenced in the first and last verses is merely an expression of this expected conformity.

Celestial Mechanic
2011-Jan-05, 05:22 AM
What? It's protesting middle-class conformity and the use of institutions such as college to eliminate individualism. The uniformity of the suburbs referenced in the first and last verses is merely an expression of this expected conformity.GLRT nailed it on the head.

Meurig
2011-Jan-05, 05:24 PM
From those who know the meaning of hard knocks:
a blanket, some discarded styrofoam --
the little things that make a house a home --
an alley and a filthy cardboard box...

Trebuchet
2011-Jan-05, 05:34 PM
I've often wondered what the point of this song was. I remember Isaac Asimov holding forth on people who complain that ancient Romans (etc) could really build whereas nowadays we have the houses described in the song. He countered that it meant people had homes.

Inspired by the various Levittowns and similar housing developments of the 1950's. Wiki article about the song, and including a picture of such a development here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boxes).

Meurig
2011-Jan-05, 05:40 PM
Sorry. -- Couldn't let a metaphorical reference to boxes as homes slide by without a literal reference to the same.

mike alexander
2011-Jan-05, 06:06 PM
As in "Big Yellow Taxi"

They took all the trees
And put them in a tree museum
Then they charged the people
A dollar and a half just to see 'em
Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you've got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

DonM435
2011-Jan-19, 01:44 PM
I must be a natural programmer because I counted the first box to begin with. It took me a while to realize someone would, could possibly forget the first box.

;)

An old-school programmer would have begin counting at zero rather than one.
:shifty:

HenrikOlsen
2011-Jan-19, 02:18 PM
An old-school programmer would have begin counting at zero rather than one.
:shifty:
Actually, the old school programmer starts at 1 as anyone who has worked in Fortran knows.

It's the youngsters using newfangled languages like Algol who counts from 0. :D

NEOWatcher
2011-Jan-19, 02:24 PM
Actually, the old school programmer starts at 1 as anyone who has worked in Fortran knows.
It's the youngsters using newfangled languages like Algol who counts from 0. :D
Back up one more step. Memory address offsets in machine language/assembler.

HenrikOlsen
2011-Jan-19, 02:30 PM
Ah, but that would depend on the machine, 0 definitely wasn't a universal origin.
I know some where 0 is an explicitly forbidden address which will cause hardware traps on any type of access, no one sane would start at 0 on that, as the very first access would fail.

NEOWatcher
2011-Jan-19, 02:33 PM
Correct, but being an "offset", the decision of base address is a different issue.
ETA:
Besides; memory address 0 also proves my point. Nyah.

DonM435
2011-Jan-19, 02:36 PM
In the 1970s, some guy wrote a series of books on Machine Language. If you picked up Volume 1 and read it, you'd learn that there was a Volume 0 that you'd missed.