The resident faculty left a self-portrait outside the mail room this morning. Okay, it wasn’t a self-portrait, because they’re not sailors. Instead it was their weekly clue. (More)

“What will they do with a drunken sailor?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked.

“Isn’t that a song lyric?” Chef asked on her way to the kitchen.

The Squirrel nodded and tapped at his Blewberry. “It is indeed. Here’s a video by the Irish Rovers.”

“So the resident faculty plan to go back to the wine cellar library after their visit to the hot tub faculty lounge for their weekly game where the underwear goes flying planning conference?” Chef asked as she brought out the decoder ring:

 photo SquirrelPecanRing.jpeg

Pootie the Precious pawed her iHazPhone: “How do u say doze wordz wiff lines thru dem?”

“I mutter under my breath,” Chef said.

“Like wen ai purrz?” Pootie the Precious texted.

Chef nodded. “Sort of. Except muttering under your breath isn’t a happy sound.”

“But it sounds as if the resident faculty will be … happy,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said.

“Actually,” the Squirrel texted, “they don’t plan to spend the week in the wine cellar library. Well, maybe they do, but not like drunken sailors.”

“Couldn’t they find an image of a drunken professor?” Chef asked.

The Squirrel nodded and tapped at his Blewberry. “I’m sure they could. There’s someone on Twitter with the handle Drunken Professor and he has an image in his avatar. But he’s never tweeted anything and besides, the Drunken Sailor Algorithm is a classic computer science exercise.”

“Lemme guess,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said. “Computer science students have to write that Drunken Sailor program before they’re allowed to design reader comment systems?”

Chef giggled. “That would explain a lot about the comments.”

“And about the problems with comments that mysteriously vanish when you finish typing,” the Professor of Astrology Janitor said.

The Squirrel shook his head and texted. “The Drunken Sailor Algorithm is a random walk program. The sailor starts at a bar on one side of a grid and has to finish at his ship on the opposite side of the grid. Each step he takes is random – up or down or left or right – but he can’t walk off the grid. The first version of the program asked students to calculate the average number of random steps the sailor would need to get back to his ship.”

“And how many does it take?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked.

“I think it would depend on the size of the grid,” Chef said. “And how many shore patrol officers are wandering about. And whether any of them are drunk too.”

The Squirrel chuckled and tapped at his Blewberry. “In fact there are variations with all of those. But the point is, this week the resident faculty will be – well, somewhere, I guess – and I’ll stumble around the news with Mixed Nuts.”

“Early in the mornin’?” the Professor of Astrology Janitor asked.

The Squirrel nodded. And balanced on one leg. But he has a tail, so that’s not fair.

+++++

Note: Please share your stories of offline political activism in Things We Did This Week.

+++++

Photo Credit: MarLon L (SoundCloud)

+++++

Happy Monday!