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A bit of lateral thinking


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#1 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:09 AM

Many years ago in a small Indian village, a farmer had the misfortune of owing a large sum of money to a village moneylender. The moneylender, who was old and ugly, fancied the farmer's beautiful daughter. So he proposed a bargain.

He said he would forgo the farmer's debt if he could marry his daughter. Both the farmer and his daughter were horrified by the proposal. So the cunning money-lender suggested that they let providence decide the matter. He told them that he would put a black pebble and a white pebble into an empty money bag. Then the girl would have to pick one pebble from the bag.

If she picked the black pebble, she would become his wife and her father's debt would be forgiven.
If she picked the white pebble she need not marry him and her father's debt would still be forgiven.
If she refused to pick a pebble, her father would be thrown into jail.
They were standing on a pebble strewn path in the farmer's field. As they talked, the moneylender bent over to pick up two pebbles. As he picked them up, the sharp-eyed girl noticed that he had picked up two black pebbles and put them into the bag. He then asked the girl to pick a pebble from the bag.

Now, imagine that you were standing in the field. What would you have done if you were the girl? If you had to advise her, what would you have told her?

Careful analysis would produce three possibilities:

The girl should refuse to take a pebble.
The girl should know that there were two black pebbles in the bag and expose the money-lender as a cheat.
The girl should pick a black pebble and sacrifice herself in order to save her father from his debt and imprisonment.
Take a moment to ponder this.

The above story is used with the hope that it will make us appreciate the difference between Lateral Thinking and logical thinking.

The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend that the girl do?

#2 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:37 PM

Grab one pebble from outside the bag and turn the bag over. A black peble falls out, so you clearly have picked the white one.

The moneylender can't complain, without exposing himself as a cheat.</p>

:cheers:


PS: The solution lies not so much in lateral thinking vs. logical thinking, but in not accepting prefabricated solutions.

People will often ask you, to choose between two solutions. The one they want and the one you want even less. Never mentioning solution 3, which is what you will want and they don't.
It's rather surprising how many people fall for this.

#3 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:41 PM

Grab one pebble from outside the bag and turn the bag over. A black peble falls out, so you clearly have picked the white one.

What will you do with the pebble you picked up from putside? Are you planning it to put in the bag?

#4 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:47 PM

You misunderstood me.
I grab the bag, so that i hold one pebble. Then i turn the bag over, so that the pebble, i did not choose, falls out.

:cheers:

#5 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:50 PM

You misunderstood me.
I grab the bag, so that i hold one pebble. Then i turn the bag over, so that the pebble, i did not choose, falls out.

:cheers: Correct

#6 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 01:04 PM

Grab one pebble from outside the bag and turn the bag over.


Maybe it was "from inside the bag (and keep it in your hand without showing it)" :whistling:

:cheers:
Wonko

#7 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 01:06 PM

Maybe it was &quot;from inside the bag (and keep it in your hand without showing it)&quot; :whistling:

The original solution, which is too close to Medevil's one, is here (http://www.debonoonl...bles-Answer.asp).

#8 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:17 PM

Now to logical thinking. ;)

You have 9 sacks of rice. All have equal weight, but one.
Your tool to find that one sack is a balance.

Which is the minimum number of weightings, you have to perform, to find that sack?

:cheers:

#9 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 02:45 PM

Which is the minimum number of weightings, you have to perform, to find that sack?



Should be 2. (if you know if the "different" bag is lighter or heavier)

:cheers:
Wonko

#10 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:09 PM

Yep, correct.

:cheers:

#11 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 03:30 PM

Yep, correct.

... but 3 are needed (in the worst cases) if you don't know whether the "different" bag is lighter or heavier.....

:cheers:
Wonko

#12 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 05:00 PM

... but 3 are needed (in the worst cases) if you don't know whether the "different" bag is lighter or heavier.....

Hey bro, you have proved your sanity once again.

#13 technoteze

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:40 PM

Here's another on for you guys....

You're driving down a dessert highway with your call fully loaded and very little space when you suddenly come by a bus stop. There are 3 people standing at the bus stop.

A very good friend of yours who once id you a great favor. He's late for a business meeting and really needs a lift.
An old woman who is need of a hospital. She doesn't look well at all and time is limited.
A woman who you have never met before but you think she is the woman of your dreams.

Who should you take with you?

#14 pscEx

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:46 PM

The smallest one may fit into my full car.

Peter

#15 pscEx

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 09:59 PM

Before I go to vacation, another Mind Teaser:

In a room there are three people sitting on chairs, one behind the other.
The third one can see the two ones in front of him, the second one sees only the first one, and the first one does not see anybody.

There is a man with 3 red and two white hats.
He puts one of his hat collection to every of the three people.

Then he asks the third one "What's the colour of your hat"? answer "I do not know"
Then he asks the second one "What's the colour of your hat"? answer "I do not know"
Then he asks the first one "What's the colour of your hat"? answer ????

Peter

#16 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:10 PM

I don't get this question / problem? Is there a right solution?

It seems to me, that there are only opinions.
Like, unload all the stuff from the car and take all 3 or the classic one, bros before hoes.

:cheers:

#17 technoteze

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:13 PM

Ha ha, lets assume they are all of approximately the same size pscEx...

#18 technoteze

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:16 PM

For the sake of clarity there is one space available in your car. The 3 options still stand...

#19 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:17 PM

Red

:cheers:

#20 Nuno Brito

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:18 PM

The girl's dilemma cannot be solved with traditional logical thinking. Think of the consequences if she chooses the above logical answers.

What would you recommend that the girl do?


Nuno's recommendation :thumbsup: :
Pick up the black pebble and marry the guy.

Rationale:
What are the odds that the girl will have a better end anyways?

Alternatives:
At best, she might marry a young and good looking guy that won't give her any attention since he is too focused on his own career or ends up dumping her for some other young girl since they'll be targeting the same guy like flies.

Feasibility:
This ugly guy will treat the girl like a queen and she'll have no competition from other girls. This means that he will give her attention and provide money to continue helping her family in the future while getting a comfortable life for herself. Since the girl is obviously smart (looking at the answer she gave to get herself out of this mess), I'd say that they would be a good match for each other. Even if she gets bored, I'm sure that old guys don't last long and she'll soon be young, rich and single again.

Future prospects:
The proposed solution only saved the debts of a farmer who will sooner or later get himself trapped again in the same situation with the difference that his daughter will no longer be attractive enough or available to save him from paying his bills.

Game plan:
- Pick up the black pebble
- Marry the rich guy
- Enjoy life

Otherwise
- Use some excuse to avoid the black pebble
- Stay single or marry some poor dude
- Work until you're 80

Is this lateral enough?

:cheers:

#21 pscEx

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:24 PM

Can you help me and translate your post into "Oxford English"?

I assume that "call" should be "car", "dessert" should be "desert", etc.

And I do not understnad why for the hell a desert highway has bus stops :dubbio:

If all is a fata morgana, I wuold not take any of them with me.

Peter

#22 MedEvil

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:43 PM

Nuno, Nuno, your wife is much too pretty and your not rich enough, to know all that!!! ;)

:cheers:

#23 coglistings

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 11:52 PM

... but 3 are needed (in the worst cases) if you don't know whether the "different" bag is lighter or heavier.....

:cheers:
Wonko




Should be 2. (if you know if the "different" bag is lighter or heavier)

:cheers:
Wonko


no, the least weighings needed is one. you assume that you weigh the bags seperately and that on the first weighing, you have choosen a bag with the different weight.

proof: take 4 bags on one side of the scale, and put 4 bags on the other side of the scale. you find that there is no difference between the either side and are able to deduce that the bag that you haven't weighed is actually different by process of elimation.

I do not understand what you mean by "worst" case senerio. The worst case senerio would be that your last weighing is the one that you find that the bag with the weight difference, ie all of your weighings have shown an equal weight except for the last weighing.

Edited by coglistings, 05 September 2011 - 11:55 PM.


#24 Holmes.Sherlock

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 12:05 AM

Nuno's recommendation :thumbsup: :
Pick up the black pebble and marry the guy.
.
.
.

Is this lateral enough?

Boss, beware of your health. Unknowingly, you are getting affected by Wonko-virus.

#25 patpat

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Posted 06 September 2011 - 08:25 AM

the girl should let the lender pick up a pebble first saying she's going to accept the (opposite color) pebble left at the bag as hers
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