Monday, January 15, 2018

The Magic Sphere

According to Blogger's stats page, I've had absolutely oodles of pageviews in the last day or so, directed at the Hourman-themed post from last November. It makes me nervous when people read my blog like that. I don't really write these things in any kind of expectation that people will read them. What if it's a horde of American lawyers? Lots of people write that kind of thing about comics on the internet, and they often bandy about phrases like "brief excerpts for review purposes", which apparently makes everything okay, but I still worry. I'll just convince myself it's an invading horde of robots. Nobody's scared of robots.

Friday, January 12, 2018

It feels like a long time since the first one

I don't think I could calculate how long it's been, in fact. But the Mental Calculation World Cup is still going strong! Here's the invitation to compete, if you want to test your brains!

Mental calculators from all over the world are invited to the 8th Mental 
Calculation World Cup 2018!

The Mental Calculation World Cup 2018 will be held in Wolfsburg, Germany

Venue: Science Centre Phaeno (

Date: 28-30 September 2018

Contest Details:
Calculators will have to solve tasks in different categories (addition, 
multiplication, extracting roots, day-of-the-week calculations) and 
various surprise tasks.
Only strict mental calculation (no tools, no writing down of 
intermediate results) is allowed.

There will be several titles and trophies for the best participants.
In particular, the MEMORIAD Association will sponsor free flights to the 
MEMORIAD 2020 competition (planned to be held in Dubai, USA) 
( for the winners in the categories addition, 
multiplication, square roots and calendar calculation as well for the 
winner of the combination.
(does not apply for participants who are not allowed to enter MEMORIAD 
contests according to decisions of the MEMORIAD Association).

The registration form can be found on the MCWC web site 

Calculators who already took part at a previous MCWC event are welcome 
to send the application form by e-mail to
First-time participants please download the entry form on the MCWC web 
site. Please send it by airmail together with the documentation that is 
necessary for qualification to the address given in the form.
Please note that we have a tough qualification (with usually far more 
than 40 people registering). Calculators who took part in one of the 
previous years may want to send additional documentation about their 
recent results in the same way as the first-timers (by airmail with all 
the paperwork) in order to have better chances in the qualification.

Deadline for Registrations: 1 June 2018
You can help us with the organization if you register soon.

The number of participants is limited to 40. If more people register for 
the event, the organizer will select the participants who qualify. For 
this purpose, information about previous results at mental calculation 
events (achieved in the past ten years), other mental sports contests 
and verified achievements with the Memoriad software 
( are taken into consideration.
The results achieved should be documented (category, number of correct 
answers, time) and sent together with the application form. These 
results must be confirmed by a witness with some background in mental 
calculation (for example a maths teacher or a university researcher who 
works in a field close to mathematics).

Organizational stuff:
There is no entry fee, but participants have to pay their travel 
expenses. We will publish hotel recommendations soon enough on the MCWC 
web site.

Please contact us soon enough if you need a formal invitation letter for 
visa purposes. Keep in mind that in some countries visa formalities can 
take a long time!

More information can be found on the web site:

If you have any questions on the MCWC, please contact me at 

I am looking forward to meet the world's best calculators in Wolfsburg!

Ralf Laue

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I should get some kind of prize

I was just about to go to bed for an early night, when I remembered I hadn't written a blog entry, and if I did that, then I'd break all kinds of world records for keeping new year's resolutions. So now I've accomplished a whole week of daily uninspired short paragraphs, I can rest easy and not write anything more for whole months at a time if I feel like it.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

This looks like a job for...

There's a news story doing the rounds that someone involved with one of Stan Lee's charities has stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from The Man himself by means of forged cheques, and really, I don't think they've thought it through. Everyone knows that Stan Lee created all the cool superheroes, but of course Spider-Man and all his amazing friends are basically nice people, and just have bad guys locked up in jail - what people forget is how many cool superVILLAINS there are out there who owe Stan Lee a favour for bringing them into existence! You don't want to steal money from a guy who can just phone up Doctor Octopus and say "Hi, Otto, it's Stan. Remember how I created you and gave you those cool mechanical tentacles and all? I need someone to teach a thief a little lesson..."

There's some people you just don't want to mess with.

Friday, January 05, 2018

Lucky numbers

I'm happy to report I'm now through to the last 65,536 in the Fantasy Premier League Cup (I know you were all fascinated when I mentioned it last). This is a lucky number for elderly users of Excel spreadsheets, and I'm sure that just saying "65536" gives all the old-fashioned number-crunchers out there a happy nostalgic glow. The rest of you will be left in the dark, but don't worry, you're not missing much.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

The munchies

I haven't got any sweeties in the house. It's not even as if I'm hungry, I've already had my dinner and there's the materials to make some more if I wanted. But I have a particular craving for those rocky road bites they sell at Tesco, and I might have to venture out into the night just to buy a snack. Does that make me some kind of stereotypical American-TV drug addict?

Also, why isn't "the munchies" a thing for British-TV drug addicts? I feel like there could be some kind of universal truth revealed if I unravelled the answer to that mystery, but maybe that's just the drugs talking...

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Memory Leaguing

The new online memory league championship is well underway, and I think I'm going to see if I can make a real effort to go to the actual real live competition in Sweden in April. I keep saying I'll go to memory competitions in Sweden if I can, and then never actually getting there for one reason or another. I definitely owe Gothenburg another visit!