Saturday, March 06, 2010

Two-Letter Words

I’ve been playing a lot of Words With Friends lately. It’s addictive.

One of the essential elements of getting good at Scrabble (or Words With Friends) is knowing your two-letter words. They may not be worth much on their own, but they enable you to make parallel words, which can really rack up the score. Much has been said about the strategy of Scrabble, so I won’t repeat it all here.

What I do have to offer is a nerdy way of visualizing the two-letter words. Most two-letter word lists just list the words. I was curious about the spatial distribution within the alphabet, including all of the vacancies where two letter words do not exist.  So I made this grid. 

Two-Letter Words in Words With Friends 

If you want to find me in Words With Friends, my username is sagek.

The words FE KI and OI are in the OSPD4 but not acceptable in Words with Friends. 

This table was made in Microsoft Office Excel. Special thanks to the CONCATENATE formula and Conditional Formatting.

My sources were this post about Words With Friends on OSXReality and this page on 2-letter Words by Steve Trussel.

A Line at the Men’s Room

Yesterday, I encountered a line at the men’s restroom. Role reversal. I am under the impression that no one is really surprised when there is a line at the women’s room. Frustrated, yes, but not surprised. As observant people we can notice the patterns that lead to bathroom lines. 

I was in a conference center for an event that has an attendance of about 85% men. If you look historically at attendance of conferences in this building, which is on the campus of a high-tech corporation, I bet you would find a consistently unbalanced male/female ratio. So we have a fact-of-life and a non-optimized resource distribution. Was this avoidable?

Our former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld once stated, "As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

So should you build infrastructure for the demographics you have, or the demographics you might want or wish to have at a later time? And to what extent should you accept inefficiency when the alternative could be considered discrimination?  

In a related note, did you know that the pentagon was built with twice as many bathrooms as was really necessary?