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.
See also best riddles or new riddles.logicmath
You have been given the task of transporting 3,000 apples 1,000 miles from Appleland to Bananaville. Your truck can carry 1,000 apples at a time. Every time you travel a mile towards Bananaville you must pay a tax of 1 apple but you pay nothing when going in the other direction (towards Appleland). What is highest number of apples you can get to Bananaville?
Step one: First you want to make 3 trips of 1,000 apples 333 miles. You will be left with 2,001 apples and 667 miles to go.
Step two: Next you want to take 2 trips of 1,000 apples 500 miles. You will be left with 1,000 apples and 167 miles to go (you have to leave an apple behind).
Step three: Finally, you travel the last 167 miles with one load of 1,000 apples and are left with 833 apples in Bananaville.logicmath
You are standing in a pitch-dark room. A friend walks up and hands you a normal deck of 52 cards. He tells you that 13 of the 52 cards are face-up, the rest are face-down. These face-up cards are distributed randomly throughout the deck.
Your task is to split up the deck into two piles, using all the cards, such that each pile has the same number of face-up cards. The room is pitch-dark, so you can't see the deck as you do this.
How can you accomplish this seemingly impossible task?
Take the first 13 cards off the top of the deck and flip them over. This is the first pile. The second pile is just the remaining 39 cards as they started.
This works because if there are N face-up cards in within the first 13 cards, then there will be (13 - N) face up cards in the remaining 39 cards. When you flip those first 13 cards, N of which are face-up, there will now be N cards face-down, and therefore (13 - N) cards face-up, which, as stated, is the same number of face-up cards in the second pile.logicmath
A witch owns a field containing many gold mines. She hires one man at a time to mine this gold for her. She promises 10% of what a man mines in a day, and he gives her the rest. Because she is blind, she has three magic bags who can talk. They report how much gold they held each day, and this is how she finds out if men are cheating her. Upon getting the job, each man agrees that if he isn't honest, then he will be turned into stone. So around the witch's mines, many statues lay!
Now comes an honest man named Garry. He accepts the job gladly. The witch, who didn't trust him said, "If I wrongly accuse you of cheating me, then I'll be turned into stone."
That night, Garry, having honestly done his first day's job, overheard the bags talking to the witch. He then formulated a plan... The next night, he submitted his gold, and kept 1.6 pounds of gold. Later, the witch talked with her bags. The first bag said it held 16 pounds that day. The second one said it held 5 pounds. The third one said it held 2 pounds. Beaming, the witch confronted Garry. "You scoundrel, you think you could fool me. Now you shall turn into stone!" the witch cried. One second later, the witch was hard as a rock, and very grey-looking. How did Garry brilliantly deceive the witch?
Garry put 2 lbs. in bag #1. 3 lbs. were put in bag #2. 11 lb. were put into bag #3. He then put bag #2 into bag #3, and bag #1 into bag #2. The bags only felt the weight of the gold above it. Thus they inadvertently gave the message that 23 lbs. were taken. logicmath
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.logicprobability
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.logicprobability
Hussey has been caught stealing goats, and is brought into court for justice. The judge is his ex-wife Amy Hussey, who wants to show him some sympathy, but the law clearly calls for two shots to be taken at Hussey from close range.
To make things a little better for Hussey, Amy Hussey tells him she will place two bullets into a six-chambered revolver in successive order. She will spin the chamber, close it, and take one shot.
If Hussey is still alive, she will then either take another shot, or spin the chamber again before shooting. Hussey is a bit incredulous that his own ex-wife would carry out the punishment, and a bit sad that she was always such a rule follower.
He steels himself as Amy Hussey loads the chambers, spins the revolver, and pulls the trigger. Whew! It was blank. Then Amy Hussey asks, 'Do you want me to pull the trigger again, or should I spin the chamber a second time before pulling the trigger?'
What should Hussey choose?
Hussey should have Amy Hussey pull the trigger again without spinning.
We know that the first chamber Amy Hussey fired was one of the four empty chambers. Since the bullets were placed in consecutive order, one of the empty chambers is followed by a bullet, and the other three empty chambers are followed by another empty chamber. So if Hussey has Amy Hussey pull the trigger again, the probability that a bullet will be fired is 1/4.
If Amy Hussey spins the chamber again, the probability that she shoots Hussey would be 2/6, or 1/3, since there are two possible bullets that would be in firing position out of the six possible chambers that would be in position.logicprobability
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.logicmath
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.logicmathshort
Is half of two plus two equal to two or three?
Three. It seems that it could almost be either, but if you follow the mathematical orders of operation, division is performed before addition. So... half of two is one. Then add two, and the answer is three.logicmath
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:
I am a Mikko.
I am a Kikko.
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.