Riddle #739


Consider the following explanation for why 1=2: 1. Start out Let y = x 2. Multiply through by x xy = x2 3. Subtract y2 from each side xy - y2 = x2 - y2 4. Factor each side y(x-y) = (x+y)(x-y) 5. Divide both sides by (x-y) y = x+y 6. Divide both sides by y y/y = x/y + y/y 7. And so... 1 = x/y + 1 8. Since x=y, x/y = 1 1 = 1 + 1 8. And so... 1 = 2 How is this possible?
Step 5 is invalid, because we are dividing by (x-y), and since x=y, we are thus dividing by 0. This is an invalid mathematical operation (division by 0), and so by not followinng basic mathematical rules, we are able to get strange results like these.
79.60 %
53 votes

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A swan sits at the center of a perfectly circular lake. At an edge of the lake stands a ravenous monster waiting to devour the swan. The monster can not enter the water, but it will run around the circumference of the lake to try to catch the swan as soon as it reaches the shore. The monster moves at 4 times the speed of the swan, and it will always move in the direction along the shore that brings it closer to the swan the quickest. Both the swan and the the monster can change directions in an instant. The swan knows that if it can reach the lake's shore without the monster right on top of it, it can instantly escape into the surrounding forest. How can the swan succesfully escape?
Assume the radius of the lake is R feet. So the circumference of the lake is (2*pi*R). If the swan swims R/4 feet, (or, put another way, 0.25R feet) straight away from the center of the lake, and then begins swimming in a circle around the center, then it will be able to swim around this circle in the exact same amount of time as the monster will be able to run around the lake's shore (since this inner circle's circumference is 2*pi*(R/4), which is exactly 4 times shorter than the shore's circumference). From this point, the swan can move a millimeter inward toward the lake's center, and begin swimming around the center in a circle from this distance. It is now going around a very slightly smaller circle than it was a moment ago, and thus will be able to swim around this circle FASTER than the monster can run around the shore. The swan can keep swimming around this way, pulling further away each second, until finally it is on the opposite side of its inner circle from where the monster is on the shore. At this point, the swan aims directly toward the closest shore and begins swimming that way. At this point, the swan has to swim [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] to get to shore. Meanwhile, the monster will have to run R*pi feet (half the circumference of the lake) to get to where the swan is headed. The monster runs four times as fast as the swan, but you can see that it has more than four times as far to run: [0.75R feet + 1 millimeter] * 4 < R*pi [This math could actually be incorrect if R were very very small, but in that case we could just say the swan swam inward even less than a millimeter, and make the math work out correctly.] Because the swan has less than a fourth of the distance to travel as the monster, it will reach the shore before the monster reaches where it is and successfully escape.
81.89 %
53 votes

There are 1 million closed school lockers in a row, labeled 1 through 1,000,000. You first go through and flip every locker open. Then you go through and flip every other locker (locker 2, 4, 6, etc...). When you're done, all the even-numbered lockers are closed. You then go through and flip every third locker (3, 6, 9, etc...). "Flipping" mean you open it if it's closed, and close it if it's open. For example, as you go through this time, you close locker 3 (because it was still open after the previous run through), but you open locker 6, since you had closed it in the previous run through. Then you go through and flip every fourth locker (4, 8, 12, etc...), then every fifth locker (5, 10, 15, etc...), then every sixth locker (6, 12, 18, etc...) and so on. At the end, you're going through and flipping every 999,998th locker (which is just locker 999,998), then every 999,999th locker (which is just locker 999,999), and finally, every 1,000,000th locker (which is just locker 1,000,000). At the end of this, is locker 1,000,000 open or closed?
Locker 1,000,000 will be open. If you think about it, the number of times that each locker is flipped is equal to the number of factors it has. For example, locker 12 has factors 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12, and will thus be flipped 6 times (it will end be flipped when you flip every one, every 2nd, every 3rd, every 4th, every 6th, and every 12th locker). It will end up closed, since flipping an even number of times will return it to its starting position. You can see that if a locker number has an even number of factors, it will end up closed. If it has an odd number of factors, it will end up open. As it turns out, the only types of numbers that have an odd number of factors are squares. This is because factors come in pairs, and for squares, one of those pairs is the square root, which is duplicated and thus doesn't count twice as a factor. For example, 12's factors are 1 x 12, 2 x 6, and 3 x 4 (6 total factors). On the other hand, 16's factors are 1 x 16, 2 x 8, and 4 x 4 (5 total factors). So lockers 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, etc... will all be open. Since 1,000,000 is a square number (1000 x 1000), it will be open as well.
81.83 %
67 votes

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.
81.30 %
65 votes

A women walks into a bank to cash out her check. By mistake the bank teller gives her dollar amount in change, and her cent amount in dollars. On the way home she spends 5 cents, and then suddenly she notices that she has twice the amount of her check. How much was her check amount?
The check was for dollars 31.63. The bank teller gave her dollars 63.31 She spent .05, and then she had dollars 63.26, which is twice the check. Let x be the dolars of the check, and y be the cent. The check was for 100x + y cent He was given 100y + x cent Also 100y + x - 5 = 2(100x + y) Expanding this out and rearranging, we find: 98y = 199x + 5 Which doesn't look like enough information to solve the problem except that x and y must be whole numbers, so: 199x ≡ -5 (mod 98) 98*2*x + 3x ≡ -5 (mod 98) 3x ≡ -5 ≡ 93 (mod 98) This quickly leads to x = 31 and then y = 63 Alternative solution by substitution: 98y = 199x + 5 y = (199x + 5)/98 = 2x + (3x + 5)/98 Since x and y are whole numbers, so must be (3x + 5)/98. Call it z = (3x+5)/98 so 98z = 3x + 5, or 3x = 98z - 5 or x = (98z - 5)/3 or x = 32z-1 + (2z-2)/3. Since everything is a whole number, so must be (2z-2)/3. Call it w = (2z-2)/3, so 3w = 2z-2 so z = (3w+2)/2 or z = w + 1 + w/2. So w/2 must be whole, or w must be even. So try w = 2. Then z = 4. Then x = 129. Then y = 262. if you decrease y by 199 and x by 98, the answer is the same: y = 63 and x = 31.
81.23 %
51 votes

A black dog stands in the middle of an intersection in a town painted black. None of the street lights are working due to a power failure caused by a storm. A car with two broken headlights drives towards the dog but turns in time to avoid hitting him. How could the driver have seen the dog in time?
It was daylight.
81.21 %
78 votes

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.
81.11 %
71 votes

Two men are in a desert. They're both wearing backpacks. One of the men is dead. The man who is alive, has his pack open. The dead man's pack is closed. What is in their packs?
A parachute.
81.02 %
64 votes

Sam is talking to his lawyer in jail. They are very upset because the judge has refused to grant bail. At the end of the conversation Sam is allowed to leave the jail. Why?
Sam is visiting his lawyer, who had been arrested and jailed.
80.89 %
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