Best riddles

logicmathprobability

The same birthday

What is the least number of people that need to be in a room such that there is greater than a 50% chance that at least two of the people have the same birthday?
Only 23 people need to be in the room. Our first observation in solving this problem is the following: (the probability that at least 2 people have the same birthday + the probability that nobody has the same birthday) = 1.0 What this means is that there is a 100% chance that EITHER everybody in the room has a different birthday, OR at least two people in the room have the same birthday (and these probabilities don't add up to more than 1.0 because they cover mutually exclusive situations). With some simple re-arranging of the formula, we get: the probability that at least 2 people have the same birthday = (1.0 - the probability that nobody has the same birthday) So now if we can find the probability that nobody in the room has the same birthday, we just subtract this value from 1.0 and we'll have our answer. The probability that nobody in the room has the same birthday is fairly straightforward to calculate. We can think of this as a "selection without replacement" problem, where each person "selects" a birthday at random, and we then have to figure out the probability that no two people select the same birthday. The first selection has a 365/365 chance of being different than the other birthdays (since none have been selected yet). The next selection has a 364/365 chance of being different than the 1 birthday that has been selected so far. The next selection has a 363/365 chance of being different than the 2 birthdays that have been selected so far. These probabilities are multiplied together since each is conditional on the previous. So for example, the probability that nobody in a room of 3 people have the same birthday is (365/365 * 364/365 * 363/365) =~ 0.9918 More generally, if there are n people in a room, then the probability that nobody has the same birthday is (365/365 * 364/365 * ... * (365-n+2)/365 * (365-n+1)/365) We can plug in values for n. For n=22, we get that the probability that nobody has the same birthday is 0.524, and thus the probabilty that at least two people have the same birthday is (1.0 - 0.524) = 0.476 = 47.6%. Then for n=23, we get that the probability that nobody has the same birthday is 0.493, and thus the probabilty that at least two people have the same birthday is 1.0 - 0.493) = 0.507 = 50.7%. Thus, once we get to 23 people we have reached the 50% threshold.
89.44 %
54 votes

cleanlogic

Two ropes burning

You have two lengths of rope. Each rope has the property that if you light it on fire at one end, it will take exactly 60 minutes to burn to the other end. Note that the ropes will not burn at a consistent speed the entire time (for example, it's possible that the first 90% of a rope will burn in 1 minute, and the last 10% will take the additional 59 minutes to burn). Given these two ropes and a matchbook, can you find a way to measure out exactly 45 minutes?
The key observation here is that if you light a rope from both ends at the same time, it will burn in 1/2 the time it would have burned in if you had lit it on just one end. Using this insight, you would light both ends of one rope, and one end of the other rope, all at the same time. The rope you lit at both ends will finish burning in 30 minutes. Once this happens, light the second end of the second rope. It will burn for another 15 minutes (since it would have burned for 30 more minutes without lighting the second end), completing the 45 minutes.
89.44 %
54 votes

clean

Two paths to a mountain

You walk up to a mountain that has two paths. One leads to the other side of the mountain, and the other will get you lost forever. Two twins know the path that leads to the other side. You can ask them only one question. Except! One lies and one tells the truth, and you don't know which is which. So, What do you ask?
You ask each twin What would your brother say?. This works because.... Well let's say the correct path is on the left side. So say you asked the liar "What would your brother say?" Well, the liar would know his brother was honest and he would say the left side, but since the liar lies, he would say right. If you asked the honest twin the same question, he would say right, because he knows his brother will lie. Therefore, you would know that the correct path was the left.
89.33 %
39 votes

logicshort

How much dirt

How much dirt would be in a hole 6 feet deep and 6 feet wide that has been dug with a square edged shovel?
None. No matter how big a hole is, it's still a hole: the absence of dirt. And those of you who said 36 cubic feet are wrong for another reason, too. You would have needed the length measurement too. So you don't even know how much air is in the hole.
89.33 %
39 votes

logicmath

The missing dollar

Three people check into a hotel room. The bill is $30 so they each pay $10. After they go to the room, the hotel's cashier realizes that the bill should have only been $25. So he gives $5 to the bellhop and tells him to return the money to the guests. The bellhop notices that $5 can't be split evenly between the three guests, so he keeps $2 for himself and then gives the other $3 to the guests. Now the guests, with their dollars back, have each paid $9 for a total of $27. And the bellhop has pocketed $2. So there is $27 + $2 = $29 accounted for. But the guests originally paid $30. What happened to the other dollar?
This riddle is just an example of misdirection. It is actually nonsensical to add $27 + $2, because the $27 that has been paid includes the $2 the bellhop made. The correct math is to say that the guests paid $27, and the bellhop took $2, which, if given back to the guests, would bring them to their correct payment of $27 - $2 = $25.
89.33 %
39 votes

logicshort

Admin's birthday

Today is Admin's birthday. His five close friends Nell, Edna, Harish, Hsirah and Ellen surprised him with party. What is special with this list of these five names ?
If you read the names from last to start, it reads the same.
89.33 %
39 votes

logic

Suitcase Locks

A man needs to send important documents to his friend across the country. He buys a suitcase to put the documents in, but he has a problem: the mail system in his country is very corrupt, and he knows that if he doesn't lock the suitcase, it will be opened by the post office and his documents will be stolen before they reach his friend. There are lock stores across the country that sell locks with keys. The only problem is that if he locks the suitcase, he has no way to send the key to his friend so that the friend will be able to open the lock: if he doesn't send the key, then the friend can't open the lock, and if he puts the key in the suitcase, then the friend won't be able to get to the key. The suitcase is designed so that any number of locks can be put on it, but the man figures that putting more than one lock on the suitcase will only compound the problem. After a few days, however, he figures out how to safely send the documents. He calls his friend who he's sending the documents to and explains the plan. What is the man's plan?
The plan is this: 1. The man will put a lock on the suitcase, keep the key, and send the suitcase to his friend. 2. The friend will then put his own lock on the suitcase as well, keep the key to that lock, and send the suitcase back to the man. 3. The man will use his key to remove his lock from the suitcase, and send it back to the friend. 4. The friend will remove his own lock from the suitcase and get to the documents.
89.33 %
39 votes