Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Mr Owl Ate My Metal Worm." Fascinating. You've given me quite a bit to read and think about. In fact, you've made my day.

Write down any natural number, reverse its digits to form a new number, and add the two:
lychrel number example - 1
In most cases, repeating this procedure eventually yields a palindrome:
lychrel number example - 2
lychrel number example - 3
With 196, perversely, it does not — or, at least, it hasn’t in computer trials, which have repeated the process until it produced numbers 300 million digits long.
Is 196 somehow immune to producing palindromes? No one’s yet offered a conclusive proof — so we don’t know.

Here is a map of the newly discovered cities and waterways on our nearest neighbor planet, Mars. Start at the city marked T, at the south pole, and see if you can spell a complete English sentence by making a tour of all the cities, visiting each city only once, and returning to the starting point.
When this puzzle originally appeared in a magazine, more than fifty thousand readers reported, ‘There is no possible way.’ Yet it is a very simple puzzle.