Furthering my US News career

So currently I’m working on two projects for U.S. News:

1. A end of the summer trivia quiz. Basically, we’re putting together a bunch of puzzles and other questions about summer events. Kind of neat. I’ll probably have to build the online portion of it. Unfortunately my coding skills when it comes to that kind of web site is pretty limited, so I’ll have to get better at that soon. I will get to write a few of those questions as well. The editor has seen that people have been getting into Sudoku (which I posted on a while ago), I’m now in charge of coming up with the math questions. Sudoku, though while a numbers game, isn’t necessarily a math game. We’ll see how well I can do this; my math skills have been slowly decaying over the years. I’m confident I can recover, but I was never that good at math puzzles in general though. It maybe tough for me to find and make up good ones. We’ll see.

2. Getting a hold of celebrities to do a weekly feature on people and their college lives. Basically I call their publicist or agents, get their emails, and then email them the basic pitch of the feature. Some get back to be rather quickly and yes, but most of them don’t get back to you. And of course there are the few who get back to you and decline and sometimes do it in a mean way (a la Kathy Bates publicist). Even fewer are the people who email you back themselves (Mark Cuban for example). It’s kind of a cool assignment, but can be a bit frustrating at times. Some of the people I’ve called are incredibly helpful, but unfortunately they tend to be for the lower level celebrities.

BTW, here are some interesting facts about some of the people I had to contact:

A. Conan O’ Brien went to Harvard (unfortunately, he turned us down).

B. Danica McKellar (Winnie from the Wonder Years) apparently co-authored a math theorem with a professor and another undergrad. So she has a math theorem named after her.

So yeah, I can say I’ve been helping out the company a lot now.

Some new games

Identifying corporate logos seemed like a very easy thing to do. I mean I’m bombarding myself with ads all the time, so I would think I’d recognize more of the logos. Guess not. The Retail Alphabet Game is a lot harder than I thought it would be. You basically are given a letter in a logo and identify the company. Some of them are especially easy, but the ones you don’t know, you probably won’t have a clue.

Taking off in some newspapers is the game Sudoku, a kind of math crossword puzzle where given a set of numbers you fill in the rows, columns, and 3×3 boxes with numbers 1-9. This to me is qite a bit easier than the crossword puzzle, since there’s a 1 in 9 chance you are right in the box, compared to 1 in 26 for the crossword.