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 `pageok` [Eugene Volokh, September 8, 2005 at 11:36am] Trackbacks Puzzle: Put these in order by moving the fewest names: Washington, Wilson, Johnson, Johnson, McKinley, Davis, Jackson, Taft, Kennedy Moving a name to between two other names, before the first name, or after the last name all count as one move. Thus, exchanging #2 and #7 requires two moves (since you'd have to move #2 and then move #7). Note that "order" need not necessarily mean chronological order. UPDATE: So far, no right answers ("right" = "the one I think is cool") in the first 11 posts, so I suppose this is a tough one. If you like this, please forward it to puzzle-loving friends (or discussion lists). FURTHER UPDATE: Ed Johnson, in the comments, got it; Bob W almost got it. (link) TMA (mail): well, if you don't specify the property with respect to which to order them, I'd say they're in order already. 9.8.2005 12:42pm (link) Patrick McKenzie (mail): Spoken like a true engineer. The order he means is probably an interesting order, not, for example, "Order under a hashing function constructed specifically to produce this same order". 9.8.2005 12:58pm (link) DNL (mail): 1) Move McKinley to the end. 2) Move Jackson to the beginning. 3) Move Washington after the second Johnson (and therefore now before Taft). They are now in order (I think). What order? Alphabetically, if you spell their names backward. 9.8.2005 1:21pm (link) Joshua Hosseinof: Move Davis to the beginning, so you end up with a list ordered by people who were not U.S. Presidents, and then those who were U.S. Presidents. Unless you consider the confederacy part of the U.S. 9.8.2005 1:22pm (link) Jared (guest): It would take five moves to put them in order by the length of their surname, shortest to longest. It would take four moves to order them by length of given name in the same manner. 9.8.2005 1:24pm (link) Kevin Murphy (mail) (www): Three moves to get: Jackson, Wilson, Johnson, Johnson, Washington, Davis, Taft, Kennedy, McKinley which is alphabetical by inverse order of letters in name. NOSKCAJ being first. Is this silly? Certainly. 9.8.2005 1:24pm (link) Paul Rosenzweig (mail): Move "Davis, Jackson" as a single unit before the first "Johnson" [OK -- you can count that as two moves if you like.] Then move "Kennedy" after the second Johnson, so that we now have: Washington, Wilson, Davis, Jackson, Johnson, Johnson, Kennedy, McKinley, Taft. If you consider that the list is modular, and resumes at the front end after the conclusion, the list is now in alphabetical order, begining with Davis and moving forward and around to end with Wilson. I'm sure this is not the answer we are looking for -- but in just two [OK maybe 3] moves I get an alphabetical list ... 9.8.2005 1:25pm (link) Steve: Perhaps it is not Jefferson Davis, but Geena Davis. 9.8.2005 1:26pm (link) Kevin Murphy (mail) (www): Hmmm DNL beat me to it, but he's slightly off in his explanation, foregtting about Davis. 9.8.2005 1:26pm (link) DNL (mail): Kevin, I think I beat you to it. Silly minds do indeed think alike, though. 9.8.2005 1:27pm (link) Mike Z (mail) (www): The real question is, what is the order? Obviously, not chronological. Next is party. Alphabetical doesn't seem likely - too many moves. The "Johnson, Johnson" pair is intriguing, because we can reverse the pair without moving at all - just think the first names. Like many similar problems, it's likely that more than one "order" will emerge. Wait a minute! Davis??? Consider the following curve-ball: the full names are Harold Washington (College in Chicago), Mount Wilson, Howard Johnson, ... 9.8.2005 1:27pm (link) Kevin Murphy (mail) (www): perhaps these are counties in some state somewhere. Or cities by population? Or frequency of occurance of last name? 9.8.2005 1:30pm (link) Kevin Murphy (mail) (www): DNL, yes, but I beat you to pointing out that you beat me to it! 9.8.2005 1:30pm (link) RStapleton: One move: Put Jackson at the front of the list, and they're in (descending) order of age at election to president. 9.8.2005 1:41pm (link) random (mail): Make no moves. The ordering is the ascii code of the second letter from the right of the name as read from left to right encrypted by a DES64 algorithm with a key which I will release to you once you acknowledge the correctness of this answer. 9.8.2005 1:49pm (link) Bob W (mail): Two moves: Put Washington between the Johnsons. Move Jackson after Taft. And get away from the Executive Branch. 9.8.2005 1:53pm (link) Henry Woodbury (mail): Why just one Jackson? 9.8.2005 2:03pm (link) Steve Donohue (mail) (www): Damn you, Bob W! I thought I had it first! Hmmm...Bushrod Washington. You learn something new everyday. 9.8.2005 2:05pm (link) Steve Donohue (mail) (www): Because there was only one Jackson president- so it throws you off. Besides, regardless of which justice you choose, it's still the same chronology. 9.8.2005 2:06pm (link) Jeff R.: Swap one of the Johnsons with Jackson. You're then in alphabetical order by middle name, with the people who had no middle name in arbitrary order. 9.8.2005 2:14pm (link) Londo: Move: Jackson after Washington Taft after Washington Kennedy after Wilson McKinley before the 2nd Johnson You get: Washington, Jackson, Taft, Wilson, Kennedy, Johnson, Johnson, Davis Which is the order, decending, of how many USSC justices were named by each man 8, 5, 5, 3, 2, 2, 1, 0, 0 9.8.2005 2:27pm (link) Jeffrey King (mail) (www): Assume Davis = Gina Davis. Move Davis to end of the list (three moves) The list is now in decending alphetibical order of profession: President, President, President, President, President, President, President, President, Actor 9.8.2005 2:32pm (link) Shelby (mail): If you treat Davis as a President based on his position in the Confederacy, 4 moves to get chronological order: Jackson after Washington Davis after Jackson Johnson after Kennedy Wilson after Taft If you want date of first election to federal office, do your own research. I also considered highest military rank attained, but Wilson (at least) doesn't seem to have served. 9.8.2005 3:03pm (link) W J J Hoge (mail): Mt McKinley (Alaska) 20320 ft Mt Wilson (Colorado) 14246 ft Mt Kennedy (Yukon) 13904 ft Mt Johnson (Calif) 12871 ft Mt Johnson (Wash) 7680 ft Mt Washington (NH) 6280 ft Mt Taft (VT) 4393 ft Mt Jackson (NH) 4052 ft Mt Davis (NH) 3213 ft Move McKinley to first position. Move Kennedy between Wilson and Johnson. Swap Jackson and Taft. Move Davis to last position. Move Washington between Johnson and Taft. 9.8.2005 3:04pm (link) W J J Hoge (mail): Opps, a typo! Mt Davis is in PA. 9.8.2005 3:06pm (link) ed johnson (mail) (www): One move: put Washington between the two Johnsons. SCOTUS. 9.8.2005 3:34pm (link) Blar (mail) (www): Three moves to get Jackson, Wilson, Washington, Johnson, McKinley, Davis, Taft, Johnson, Kennedy, nine presidents ordered by decreasing length of their term in office (with one tie between Jackson and Wilson). Moves are: Wilson and Jackson to front, Johnson down to come between Taft and Keneddy. 9.8.2005 3:54pm (link) Blar (mail) (www): Lengths of term in office to nearest month: years, months 8, 0 Jackson 8, 0 Wilson 7,10 Washington 5, 2 Johnson (LB) 4, 6 McKinley 4, 3 Davis 4, 0 Taft 3,11 Johnson (A) 2,10 Kennedy 9.8.2005 4:11pm (link) Warmongering Lunatic: Well, i'm certain this is wrong, but . . . Move Davis after Washington, Wilson after Johnson, and McKinley after Taft. Electoral Vote Percentage: Washington -- 100% in 2 elections Davis -- 100% Johnson (A) -- 91% (as VP, 1864) Johnson (LB) -- 90% (1964) Jackson -- 82% (1832) Taft -- 66% McKinlesy -- 65% Kennedy -- 58% 9.8.2005 4:18pm (link) random (mail): ed, The problem with that is that there are two Jacksons and one Johnson, not two Johnson and one Jackson. Soooo, is this a typo here? (Because otherwise it would make sense). 9.8.2005 5:18pm (link) random (mail): My Bad, you are right (two Johnsons and no need to worry about which Jackson). 9.8.2005 5:22pm (link) 42USC1983 (mail): Five moves gives you their names in alphabetical order. 9.8.2005 5:48pm (link) Angus Dwyer (mail) (www): If you move Washington into the #3 position (between the two Johnsons) and leave everything else as it is, you have them in chronological order of appointment to the Supreme Court. 1. (James) Wilson, app. 10/5/1789 2. (Thomas) Johnson, app. 8/6/1792 3. (Bushrod) Washington, app. 2/4/1799 4. (William) Johnson, app. 5/7/1804 5. (John) McKinley, app. 1/9/1838 6. (David) Davis, app. 12/10/1862 7. (Howell) Jackson, app. 3/4/1893 8. (William Howard) Taft, app. 7/11/1921 9. (Anthony) Kennedy, app. 2/18/1988 9.8.2005 6:44pm (link) Eugene Volokh (www): Ed Johnson is right; Bob W was almost right. 9.8.2005 6:46pm (link) William Baude (mail) (www): It is not strictly an answer to the question any more, but I cannot help but append this quote from David Currie's empirical investigation of "insignificant" justices. The secret of a good questionnaire is to be sneaky. There must be Justices everyone remembers, like John Marshall; there must be names of people one is likely to think might or should have been [*479] Justices, like Learned Hand and Daniel Webster; there must be people whose names are easily confused with those of actual Justices, like Edward Livingston, Caleb Cushing, and John Chipman Gray; there should be a misleading plethora of people named Johnson (Andrew, Michael, Thomas, William, and Pearl). Most important of all, there should be a substantial number of people (real or imaginary) who, like Wayne Terwilliger and Emil Verban, have achieved a substantial measure of anonymity in other pastures. In such carefully controlled surroundings, I submit, Justices like Howell Jackson, John Blair, and Samuel Blatchford may find a true test of their own obscurity. David Currie, The Most Insignificant Justice: A Preliminary Inquiry, 50 U. Chi. L. Rev. 466 (1983). 9.8.2005 10:14pm `pageok` `pageok`