Riddle #679

logicmathprobability

An infinite basket

You have a basket of infinite size (meaning it can hold an infinite number of objects). You also have an infinite number of balls, each with a different number on it, starting at 1 and going up (1, 2, 3, etc...). A genie suddenly appears and proposes a game that will take exactly one minute. The game is as follows: The genie will start timing 1 minute on his stopwatch. Where there is 1/2 a minute remaining in the game, he'll put balls 1, 2, and 3 into the basket. At the exact same moment, you will grab a ball out of the basket (which could be one of the balls he just put in, or any ball that is already in the basket) and throw it away. Then when 3/4 of the minute has passed, he'll put in balls 4, 5, and 6, and again, you'll take a ball out and throw it away. Similarly, at 7/8 of a minute, he'll put in balls 7, 8, and 9, and you'll take out and throw away one ball. Similarly, at 15/16 of a minute, he'll put in balls 10, 11, and 12, and you'll take out and throw away one ball. And so on....After the minute is up, the genie will have put in an infinite number of balls, and you'll have thrown away an infinite number of balls. Assume that you pull out a ball at the exact same time the genie puts in 3 balls, and that the amount of time this takes is infinitesimally small. You are allowed to choose each ball that you pull out as the game progresses (for example, you could choose to always pull out the ball that is divisible by 3, which would be 3, then 6, then 9, and so on...). You play the game, and after the minute is up, you note that there are an infinite number of balls in the basket. The next day you tell your friend about the game you played with the genie. "That's weird," your friend says. "I played the exact same game with the genie yesterday, except that at the end of my game there were 0 balls left in the basket." How is it possible that you could end up with these two different results?
Your strategy for choosing which ball to throw away could have been one of many. One such strategy that would leave an infinite number of balls in the basket at the end of the game is to always choose the ball that is divisible by 3 (so 3, then 6, then 9, and so on...). Thus, at the end of the game, any ball of the format 3n+1 (i.e. 1, 4, 7, etc...), or of the format 3n+2 (i.e. 2, 5, 8, etc...) would still be in the basket. Since there will be an infinite number of such balls that the genie has put in, there will be an infinite number of balls in the basket. Your friend could have had a number of strategies for leaving 0 balls in the basket. Any strategy that guarantees that every ball n will be removed after an infinite number of removals will result in 0 balls in the basket. One such strategy is to always choose the lowest-numbered ball in the basket. So first 1, then 2, then 3, and so on. This will result in an empty basket at the game's end. To see this, assume that there is some ball in the basket at the end of the game. This ball must have some number n. But we know this ball was thrown out after the n-th round of throwing balls away, so it couldn't be in there. This contradiction shows that there couldn't be any balls left in the basket at the end of the game. An interesting aside is that your friend could have also used the strategy of choosing a ball at random to throw away, and this would have resulted in an empty basket at the end of the game. This is because after an infinite number of balls being thrown away, the probability of any given ball being thrown away reaches 100% when they are chosen at random.
90.26 %
43 votes

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logicmath

How long was he walking

Every day, Jack arrives at the train station from work at 5 pm. His wife leaves home in her car to meet him there at exactly 5 pm, and drives him home. One day, Jack gets to the station an hour early, and starts walking home, until his wife meets him on the road. They get home 30 minutes earlier than usual. How long was he walking? Distances are unspecified. Speeds are unspecified, but constant. Give a number which represents the answer in minutes.
The best way to think about this problem is to consider it from the perspective of the wife. Her round trip was decreased by 30 minutes, which means each leg of her trip was decreased by 15 minutes. Jack must have been walking for 45 minutes.
94.24 %
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logicprobability

Russian roulette choice

Your enemy challenges you to play Russian Roulette with a 6-cylinder pistol (meaning it has room for 6 bullets). He puts 2 bullets into the gun in consecutive slots, and leaves the next four slots blank. He spins the barrel and hands you the gun. You point the gun at yourself and pull the trigger. It doesn't go off. Your enemy tells you that you need to pull the trigger one more time, and that you can choose to either spin the barrel at random, or not, before pulling the trigger again. Spinning the barrel will position the barrel in a random position. Assuming you'd like to live, should you spin the barrel or not before pulling the trigger again?
You are better off shooting again without spinning the barrel. Given that the gun didn't fire the first time, it was pointing to one of the four empty slots. Because your enemy spun the cylinder randomly, it would have been pointing to any of these empty slots with equal probability. Three of these slots would not fire again after an additional trigger-pull, and one of them would. Thus, by not spinning the barrel, there is a 1/4 chance that pulling the trigger again would fire the gun. Alternatively, if you spin the barrel, it will point to each of the 6 slots with equal probability. Because 2 of these 6 slots have bullets in them, there would be a 2/6 = 1/3 chance that the gun would fire after spinning the barrel. Thus, you are better off not spinning the barrel.
94.11 %
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Red and blue marbles

Your friend shows you two jars, one with 100 red marbles in it, the other with 100 blue marbles in it. He proposes a game. He'll put the two jars behind his back and tell you to pick one of them at random. You'll then close your eyes, he'll hand you the jar you picked, and you'll pick a random marble from that jar. You win if the marble you pick is blue, and you lose otherwise. To give you the best shot at winning, your friend gives you the two jars before the game starts and says you can move the marbles around however you'd like, as long as all 200 marbles are in the 2 jars (that is, you can't throw any marbles away). How should you move the marbles around to give yourself the best chance of picking a blue marble?
Put one blue marble in one jar, and put the rest of the marbles in the other jar. This will give you just about a 75% chance of picking a blue marble.
94.11 %
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logicmath

A grandfather's clock

A grandfather's clock chimes the appropriate number of times to indicate the hour, as well as chiming once at each quarter hour. If you were in another room and hear the clock chime just once, what would be the longest period of time you would have to wait in order to be certain of the correct time?
You would have to wait 90 minutes between 12:15 and 1:45. Once you had heard seven single chimes, you would know that the next chime would be two chimes for 2 o'clock.
93.98 %
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A fly in between trains

Two trains are traveling toward each other on the same track, each at 60 miles per hour. When they are exactly 120 miles apart, a fly takes off from the front of one of the trains, flying toward the other train at a constant rate of 100 miles per hour. When the fly reaches the other train, it instantly changes directions and starts flying toward the other train, still at 100 miles per hour. It keeps doing this back and forth until the trains finally collide. If you add up all the distances back and forth that the fly has travelled, how much total distance has the fly travelled when the trains finally collide?
The fly has travelled exactly 100 miles. We can figure this out using some simple math. Becuase the trains are 120 miles apart when the fly takes off, and are travelling at 60 mph each, they will collide in exactly 1 hour. This gives the fly exactly 1 hour of flying time, going at a speed of 100 miles per hour. Thus, the fly will travel 100 miles in this hour.
93.98 %
42 votes

logicmath

Land of Brainopia

In the land of Brainopia, there are three races of people: Mikkos, who tell the truth all the time, Kikkos, who always tell lies, and Zikkos, who tell alternate false and true statements, in which the order is not known (i.e. true, false, true or false, true, false). When interviewing three Brainopians, a foreigner received the following statements: Person 1: I am a Mikko. Person 2: I am a Kikko. Person 3: a. They are both lying. b. I am a Zikko. Can you help the very confused foreigner determine who is who, assuming each person represents a different race?
Person 1 is a Miko. Person 2 is a Ziko. Person 3 is a Kikko.
93.98 %
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logicmath

In a bank

A women walks into a bank to cash out her check. By mistake the bank teller gives her rupee amount in change, and her paise amount in rupees. On the way home she spends 5 paise, and then suddenly she notices that she has twice the amount of her check. How much was her check amount ?
The check was for Rupees 31.63. The bank teller gave her Rupees 63.31 She spent .05, and then she had Rupees 63.26, which is twice the check. Let x be the rupees of the check, and y be the paise. The check was for 100x + y paise He was given 100y + x paise Also 100y + x - 5 = 2(100x + y) Expanding this out and rearranging, we find: 98y = 199x + 5 or 199x ≡ -5 (mod 98) or 98*2*x + 3x ≡ -5 (mod 98) 3x ≡ -5 ≡ 93 (mod 98) this quickly leads to x = 31
93.84 %
41 votes

animallogicmath

Ants on a Board

There are 100 ants on a board that is 1 meter long, each facing either left or right and walking at a pace of 1 meter per minute. The board is so narrow that the ants cannot pass each other; when two ants walk into each other, they each instantly turn around and continue walking in the opposite direction. When an ant reaches the end of the board, it falls off the edge. From the moment the ants start walking, what is the longest amount of time that could pass before all the ants have fallen off the plank? You can assume that each ant has infinitely small length.
The longest amount of time that could pass would be 1 minute. If you were looking at the board from the side and could only see the silhouettes of the board and the ants, then when two ants walked into each other and turned around, it would look to you as if the ants had walked right by each other. In fact, the effect of two ants walking into each other and then turning around is essentially the same as two ants walking past one another: we just have two ants at that point walking in opposite directions. So we can treat the board as if the ants are walking past each other. In this case, the longest any ant can be on the board is 1 minute (since the board is 1 meter long and the ants walk at 1 meter per minute). Thus, after 1 minute, all the ants will be off the board.
93.84 %
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logicmath

Moochers

A man who lives in Middletown has two girlfriends, one in Northtown and one in Southtown. Trains from the Middletown train station leave for Northtown once every hour. Separate trains from the station also leave for Southtown once every hour. No trains go to both Northtown and Southtown. Each day he gets to the Middletown train station at a completely random time and gets onto the first train that is going to either Northtown or Southtown, whichever comes first. After a few months, he realizes that he spends 80% of his days with his girlfriend from Northtown, and only 20% of his days with his girlfriend from Southtown. How could this be?
The train to Northtown leaves every hour, on the hour (9:00AM, 10:00AM, etc...). The train to Southtown leaves at 12 after the hour (9:12AM, 10:12AM, etc...). So there is only a 12/60 (1/5) chance that he will end up on the train to Southtown each day, since he will usually get to the station during the 48 minutes of each hour when the train to Northtown will be the next to come.
93.84 %
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logicmath

Strange Miles

You are somewhere on Earth. You walk due south 1 mile, then due east 1 mile, then due north 1 mile. When you finish this 3-mile walk, you are back exactly where you started. It turns out there are an infinite number of different points on earth where you might be. Can you describe them all? It's important to note that this set of points should contain both an infinite number of different latitudes, and an infinite number of different longitudes (though the same latitudes and longitudes can be repeated multiple times); if it doesn't, you haven't thought of all the points.
One of the points is the North Pole. If you go south one mile, and then east one mile, you're still exactly one mile south of the North Pole, so you'll be back where you started when you go north one mile. To think of the next set of points, imagine the latitude slighty north of the South Pole, where the length of the longitudinal line around the Earth is exactly one mile (put another way, imagine the latitude slightly north of the South Pole where if you were to walk due east one mile, you would end up exactly where you started). Any point exactly one mile north of this latitude is another one of the points you could be at, because you would walk south one mile, then walk east a mile around and end up where you started the eastward walk, and then walk back north one mile to your starting point. So this adds an infinite number of other points we could be at. However, we have not yet met the requirement that our set of points has an infinite number of different latitudes. To meet this requirement and see the rest of the points you might be at, we just generalize the previous set of points. Imagine the latitude slightly north of the South Pole that is 1/2 mile in distance. Also imagine the latitudes in this area that are 1/3 miles in distance, 1/4 miles in distance, 1/5 miles, 1/6 miles, and so on. If you are at any of these latitudes and you walk exactly one mile east, you will end up exactly where you started. Thus, any point that is one mile north of ANY of these latitudes is another one of the points you might have started at, since you'll walk one mile south, then one mile east and end up where you started your eastward walk, and finally, one mile north back to where you started.
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