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.
This teaser is based on a weird but true story from a few years ago. A complaint was received by the president of a major car company: "This is the fourth time I have written you, and I don't blame you for not answering me because I must sound crazy, but it is a fact that we have a tradition in our family of having ice cream for dessert after dinner each night. Every night after we've eaten, the family votes on which flavor of ice cream we should have and I drive down to the store to get it. I recently purchased a new Pantsmobile from your company and since then my trips to the store have created a problem. You see, every time I buy vanilla ice cream my car won't start. If I get any other kind of ice cream the car starts just fine. I want you to know I'm serious about this question, no matter how silly it sounds: 'What is there about a Pantsmobile that makes it not start when I get vanilla ice cream, and easy to start whenever I get any other kind?'"
The Pantsmobile company President was understandably skeptical about the letter, but he sent an engineer to check it out anyway. He had arranged to meet the man just after dinner time, so the two hopped into the car and drove to the grocery store. The man bought vanilla ice cream that night and, sure enough, after they came back to the car it wouldn't start for several minutes. The engineer returned for three more nights. The first night, the man got chocolate. The car started right away. The second night, he got strawberry and again the car started right up. The third night he bought vanilla and the car failed to start. There was a logical reason why the man's car wouldn't start when he bought vanilla ice cream. What was it?
The man lived in an extremely hot city, and this took place during the summer. Also, the layout of the grocery store was such that it took the man less time to buy vanilla ice cream.
Vanilla ice cream was the most popular flavor and was on display in a little case near the express check out, while the other flavors were in the back of the store and took more time to select and check out. This mattered because the man's car was experiencing vapor lock, which is excess heat boiling the fuel in the fuel line and the resulting air bubbles blocking the flow of fuel until the car has enough time to cool.. When the car was running there was enough pressure to move the bubbles along, but not when the car was trying to start.
This is an unusual paragraph. I’m curious as to just how quickly you can find out what is so unusual about it. It looks so ordinary and plain that you would think nothing was wrong with it. In fact, nothing is wrong with it! It is highly unusual though. Study it and think about it, but you still may not find anything odd. But if you work at it a bit, you might find out. Try to do so without any coaching.
The letter "e", which is the most common letter in the English language, does not appear once in the long paragraph.
Jack and Joe were on vacation and driving along a deserted country road from the town of Kaysville to the town of Lynnsville. They came to a multiple fork in the road. The sign post had been knocked down and they were faced with choosing one of five different directions. Since they had left their map at the last gas station and there was no one around to ask, how could Jack and Joe find their way to Lynnsville?
They need to stand the signpost up so that the arm reading Kaysville points in the direction of Kaysville, the town they had just come from. With one arm pointing the correct way, the other arms will also point in the right directions.