You're walking down a path and come to two doors. One of the doors leads to a life of prosperity and happiness, and the other door leads to a life of misery and sorrow. You don't know which door is which.
In front of the door is ONE man. You know that this man either always lies, or always tells the truth, but you don't know which. The man knows which door is which.
You are allowed to ask the man ONE yes-or-no question to figure out which door to go through. To make things more difficult, the man is very self-centered, so you are only allowed to ask him a question about what he thinks or knows; your question cannot involve what any other person or object (real or hypothetical) might say.
What question should you ask to ensure you go through the good door?
You should ask: "If I asked you if the good door is on the left, would you say yes?"
Notice that this is subtly different than asking "Is the good door on the left?", in that you are asking him IF he would say yes to that question, not what his answer to the question would be. Thus you are asking a question about a question, and if it ends up being the liar you are talking to, this will cause him to lie about a lie and thus tell the truth. The four possible cases are:
The man is a truth-teller and the good door is on the left. He will say "yes".
The man is a truth-teller and the good door is on the right. He will say "no".
The man is a liar and the good door is on the left. He will say "yes" because if you asked him "Is the good door on the left?", he would lie and say "no", and so when you ask him if he would say "yes", he will lie and say "yes".
The man is a liar and the good door is on the right. Similar to the previous example, he'll say "no".
So regardless of whether the man is a truth-teller or a liar, this question will get a "yes" if the door on the left is the good door, and a "no" if it's not.
Bruce is an inmate at a large prison, and like most of the other prisoners, he smokes cigarettes. During his time in the prison, Bruce finds that if he has 3 cigarette butts, he can cram them together and turn them into 1 full cigarette. Whenever he smokes a cigarette, it turns into a cigarette butt.
One day, Bruce is in his cell talking to one of his cellmates, Steve.
"I really want to smoke 5 cigarettes today, but all I have are these 10 cigarette butts," Bruce tells Steve. "I'm not sure that will be enough."
"Why don't you borrow some of Tom's cigarette butts?" asks Steve, pointing over to a small pile of cigarette butts on the bed of their third cellmate, Tom, who is out for the day on a community service project.
"I can't," Bruce says. "Tom always counts exactly how many cigarette butts are in his pile, and he'd probably kill me if he noticed that I had taken any."
However, after thinking for a while, Bruce figures out a way that he can smoke 5 cigarettes without angering Tom. What is his plan?
Bruce takes 9 of his 10 cigarette butts and turns them into 3 cigarettes total (remember, 3 cigarette butts can be turned into 1 cigarette). He smokes all three of these, and now he has 4 cigarette butts.
He then turns 3 of the 4 cigarette butts into another cigarette and smokes it. He has now smoked 4 cigarettes and has 2 cigarette butts.
For the final step, he goes and borrows one of Tom's cigarette butts. With this cigarette butt plus the 2 he already has, he is able to make his 5th cigarette to smoke. After smoking it, he is left with 1 cigarette butt, which he puts back in Tom's pile so that Tom won't find anything missing.
Two soldiers, William and Ethan, are assigned to guard a bridge, which connects the West and East sides of the Great Kingdom. Each soldier is ordered to stand at an end of the bridge to make sure no criminals cross.
On one side of the bridge stands William, watching over the West side of the kingdom, and making sure no shady characters try to cross the bridge.
Ethan stands on the other side of the bridge, facing the East side of the kingdom with his rifle at the ready in case any criminals try to pass across.
"Any criminals today?" William asks.
Ethan rolls his eyes. "What do you think?" he asks.
"You roll your eyes too much," William says.
How could William tell that Ethan was rolling his eyes?
William is on the east side of the bridge, facing the West side of the kingdom, while Ethan is on the west side of the bridge, facing the East side of the kingdom. So William and Ethan are facing each other, and can see each other's faces.
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.
Search: Man-in-the-middle attack
An infinite number of mathematicians are standing behind a bar. The first asks the barman for half a pint of beer, the second for a quarter pint, the third an eighth, and so on. How many pints of beer will the barman need to fulfill all mathematicians' wishes?