No. 3478 [Reply]
I went to lunch with some GNU fans, and was sitting down to eat some tteokpaekki (*), when a waitress set down six chopsticks right in front of me. It occurred to me that perhaps these were meant for three people, but it was more amusing to imagine that I was supposed to use all six. I did not know any way to do that, so I realized that if I could come up with a way, it would be a hack. I started thinking. After a few seconds I had an idea.
First I used my left hand to put three chopsticks into my right hand. That was not so hard, though I had to figure out where to put them so that I could control them individually. Then I used my right hand to put the other three chopsticks into my left hand. That was hard, since I had to keep the three chopsticks already in my right hand from falling out. After a couple of tries I got it done.
Then I had to figure out how to use the six chopsticks. That was harder. I did not manage well with the left hand, but I succeeded in manipulating all three in the right hand. After a couple of minutes of practice and adjustment, I managed to pick up a piece of food using three sticks converging on it from three different directions, and put it in my mouth.
It didn't become easy—for practical purposes, using two chopsticks is completely superior. But precisely because using three in one hand is hard and ordinarily never thought of, it has "hack value", as my lunch companions immediately recognized. Playfully doing something difficult, whether useful or not, that is hacking.
* Pronounced like stuckpeckee minus the s (with an unaspirated t), if I recall right.
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Truly a technical wizard.
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I like the asian Gilbert Gottfried behind him.