It can't be seen, can't be felt,
can't be heard and can't be smelt.
It lies behind stars and under hills,
and empty holes it fills.
It comes first and follows after,
ends life and kills laughter.
What is it?
Using only and all the numbers 3, 3, 7, 7, along with the arithmetic operations +,-,*, and /, can you come up with a calculation that gives the number 24? No decimal points allowed.
[For example, to get the number 14, we could do 3 * (7 - (7 / 3))]
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.
You have twelve balls, identical in every way except that one of them weighs slightly less or more than the balls.
You have a balance scale, and are allowed to do 3 weighings to determine which ball has the different weight, and whether the ball weighs more or less than the other balls.
What process would you use to weigh the balls in order to figure out which ball weighs a different amount, and whether it weighs more or less than the other balls?
Take eight balls, and put four on one side of the scale, and four on the other.
If the scale is balanced, that means the odd ball out is in the other 4 balls.
Let's call these 4 balls O1, O2, O3, and O4.
Take O1, O2, and O3 and put them on one side of the scale, and take 3 balls from the 8 "normal" balls that you originally weighed, and put them on the other side of the scale.
If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are heavier, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is heavier. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is heavier than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is heavier. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is heavier.
If the O1, O2, and O3 balls are lighter, that means the odd ball out is among these, and is lighter. Weigh O1 and O2 against each other. If one of them is lighter than the other, this is the odd ball out, and it is lighter. Otherwise, O3 is the odd ball out, and it is lighter.
If these two sets of 3 balls weigh the same amount, then O4 is the odd ball out. Weight it against one of the "normal" balls from the first weighing. If O4 is heavier, then it is heavier, if it's lighter, then it's lighter.
If the scale isn't balanced, then the odd ball out is among these 8 balls.
Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was heavier H1, H2, H3, and H4 ("H" for "maybe heavier").
Let's call the four balls on the side of the scale that was lighter L1, L2, L3, and L4 ("L" for "maybe lighter").
Let's also call each ball from the 4 in the original weighing that we know aren't the odd balls out "Normal" balls.
So now weigh [H1, H2, L1] against [H3, L2, Normal].
-If the [H1, H2, L1] side is heavier (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is lighter), then this means that either H1 or H2 is the odd ball out and is heavier, or L2 is the odd ball out and is lighter.
-So measure [H1, L2] against 2 of the "Normal" balls.
-If [H1, L2] are heavier, then H1 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-If [H1, L2] are lighter, then L2 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
-If the scale is balanced, then H2 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-If the [H1, H2, L1] side is lighter (and thus the [H3, L2, Normal] side is heavier), then this means that either L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter, or H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
-So measure L1 and H3 against two "normal" balls.
-If the [L1, H3] side is lighter, then L1 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
-Otherwise, if the [L1, H3] side is heavier, then H3 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
If the [H1, H2, L1] side and the [H3, L2, Normal] side weigh the same, then we know that either H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier, or one of L3 or L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
So weight [H4, L3] against two of the "Normal" balls.
If the [H4, L3] side is heavier, then H4 is the odd ball out, and is heavier.
If the [H4, L3] side is lighter, then L3 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
If the [H4, L3] side weighs the same as the [Normal, Normal] side, then L4 is the odd ball out, and is lighter.
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.
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