RogerBW's Blog

Gödel-encoding beer orders 30 June 2017

Every few months I go to the Wellington for beer and food (bringing the food with me; they don't have a food licence, but do provide plates and cutlery).

The beer pumps are numbered, which simplifies ordering, but one has to remember "a 5, two 6s, half a 10 and half a 14" all the way from the table to the bar. This is hard work. So here's a much easier system.

Start with a list of the first 30 prime numbers: 2, 3, 5, 7, etc. Assign these to beer orders: a half on pump 1 is 2, a pint on pump 1 is 3, a half on pump 2 is 5, etc. Then multiply the orders together: the order above becomes 29 × 37² × 67 × 103, or 273976601, which is just as easy to remember as a phone number with dialling code (027-397-6601).

The bar staff factor the number, reverse the lookup, and pull the pints; prime-factoring nine-digit numbers is obviously a trivial task in a busy and noisy pub, adding no great effort to the existing job.

I call upon the management of the Wellington to implement this simple scheme as soon as possible.

Tags: real life

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