Math-makers 102: “Little Mort”,The Exciting Conclusion??

    In our last episode, Johnny and Bunny were planning a party, and fretting about how best, if at all, to ensure that the invited guests would be able to sit, each opposite his or her private heart-throb. Johnny’s original instinctive confidence was tested by the intricacies of the problem, and near the cliff-hanger of an ending, both he and Miss Universe were scratching at a blank wall. Now while you slept, they continued playing with numbers, both complex, imaginary, and irrational, to no avail. But god-in-the-machine appears in this thrilling Final Chapter, in the form of a likeable Dom Delouise lookalike with an improbable name… so let’s listen in as we hear Cutie-pie say:

“Call Morti, duh!” That’s what she said, but to me it sounded alot  like the proverbial “Nu, let’s just pull over and ask somebody”
“I’d really rather just drive around in circles lost here in Beer-Sheva for another half a day or so, darling, if it’s you’re ok with that..”
I said, true to form.Ok, I was agreeing, of course, but without admission of guilt. Morti, we hadn’t heard from him since he’d sold his start-up firm to the Belgian giant, Orgasmetrics Inc. for a small fortune. Mortimer Descartes, a short comical balding immigrant from Bordeaux, France, had been our house guest for a few weeks, while he settled into his adopted homeland. We’d had a lot of fun together: I loved calling him “Le Petite Mort”, or even ‘Morti merde a la carte”. And if anyone could help us out, it’d be Mort.
“Just so he doesn’t have another ‘invention’ to try out on us..” I smiled at Sweetie, “ that ‘le petite mort-gauge’ thing with all the wires and sensors, blood-pressure cuffs, and pulse recorders, you know.”
“Yeah but it was fun, helping him to establish a base-line for..”
She smiled
“A base-line?” I corrected her. “If I recall, it was our ‘hyperactivity’ that made him go with a logarithmic scale on the damn thing.” Morti had been trying to quantify, how to say this.. um.. ‘mutual simultaneous pleasure’, and of course, being handy and even, ok, ‘loud’, we’d been a natural choice for guinea pigs. We’d done test runs twice a day for two weeks. hey, anything for science. Anyway, I dialed his old number, and ten minutes later he was sitting in the kitchen, looking at the charts.
“Simple. You need to go for quantity, not quality over here..” he pointed to the matrix.
“Can’t we have both?” I kinda winked, to remind him of our past ‘services’, but it was obvious he was intrigued enough by the problem to hang out with us till the fat lady screamed.
“No, I mean the data, just restructure it as ‘points, like in the Eurovision Song Contest, but from one to ten, for each opposite-sex guest, and then we have a simple math waltz in the park.” Morti grabbed a pencil and showed me what he meant. I could feel a chill of eureka  as I quickly grasped the correctness of his approach.

“Honey, can you..?” I turned to where the computer in the corner had been screen-saving for the last hour or so.
“I already did it.” Madame Cutie pointed to the screen with a triumphant ‘Voila!’. She must’ve figured it out at the first mention of ‘quality’ and ‘quantity’. The new charts were ready for action:

old and new versions
“Ok, now just make a third combined chart out of ’em, like a town-to-town distance cross-matrix.” Morti instructed. Smelling victory, I playfully fought with Gorgeous hand-to mouse for the honor of constructing the final version.


“Ok, now just pick the ten highest numbers off the chart and you got it” Morti was wolfing down the last of the salmon like a starving shark, but we didn’t care. Our party was saved. Or so we thought… (cue ominous music and fade… )


7 thoughts on “Math-makers 102: “Little Mort”,The Exciting Conclusion??

  1. Meerness

    Heh. It’s very easy to say “just pick the ten highest numbers off the chart”, but actually doing so is another matter. For example, the three highest numbers on the chart are 19s, but you can’t choose all three. For every number you take, you have to cross several off the chart, so you need to be very careful.I actually sat down and tried working it your way, and ended up with the following -My way (guys on the left): 1-1, 2-5, 3-8, 4-9, 5-2, 6-4, 7-3, 8-7, 9-10, 10-6Your way (same order): 1-8, 2-5, 3-1, 4-9, 5-2, 6-4, 7-3, 8-7, 9-10, 10-6Very similar lists, as you can see, but with yours guy one and girl six will leave their partners for each other’s company, and thus the party planning fails.Perhaps I simply went for the wrong numbers? It’s rather hard to figure out which ones to take. But even if your method works, it’s harder to use…I might try proving/disproving it, though.My apologies for bringing this whole thing up, Alycia and Elgan.

  2. jsolberg

    A pleasure to read your analysis, Mns,MYgoal here is equal parts math rigour and dramatic tension, so I left the “devil-in-the-details hanging over the cliff on purpose. The text of chapter three is very much on the art of compromise and the relevance of math to real life. {” My apologies for bringing this whole thing up, Alycia and Elgan.”}  Haha, those two are both pretty sharp in most fields, I’m sure they’ll have a bevy of guys fighting to sit opposite them.

  3. Meerness

    Aha, my teacher mentioned you in class today! He said, “most people who hear the wedding conjecture for the first time try to prove it using a rank method, but it turns out that choosing pairs by rank won’t necessarily lead to a stable system of marriages.”It was a good try, anyhow. ^_^

  4. jsolberg

    @Meerness – well, he hasn’t seen my chapter three. I was purposely doing it ‘brute force’/ massively parallell in order to prove exactly his point. See, in fiction you’re allowed to play dumb for a while, to build up the tension, Chapter three has ‘Little morte’ leaving, full of confidence and smoked salmon, while we rigorous love-birds are left to ‘de-tail’ the ‘devil . That’s all I can reveal, haha.


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