Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Island Riddle

I took a math class in college called Math, Logic, and Knowledge. To my surprise, my professor began the first day of course with a riddle. We could not leave class until we solved it. It was only after students began to work cooperatively that we began to make real progress. There are many variations of this riddle; here is my version:

You are stranded on an island. You want to leave this island. You come to a clearing in the brush and find two paths in front of you. You know that one of these paths leads to freedom and the other to certain death, but you don't know which is which. In front of each path stands a man. You know that one of these men is a liar and the other a truth-teller, but you don't know who is who. You are allowed to ask ONE of the men ONE question; the answer to this question will give you the information necessary to choose the right path.* What is the question?

The thing I enjoy about this particular riddle is the fact that the answer isn't cheap or gimmicky. It takes some genuine reasoning to answer it.

*The liar does not necessarily stand in front of the "bad" path, nor does the truth-teller necessarily stand in front of the "good" path; this association is unsystematic.


Mr. Kefor said...

Rachel M. and Katrina I. solved it.

Mr. Kefor said...

John C. as well.

Dom S said...

Dom S. and Kevin S. solved it as well.

Matt P said...

HAH i got it!

Rachel m. said...

yay! i got it!

Anonymous said...

Since you like riddles here's one you might like.For this one you will have to visualize the actual situation. You have to set-up 2 seperate printers into a teacher's room but there is only room for 1. And there is only 1 place to put it but, your network cable is only 2 feet long and you need a longer one. Here's the catch: that is the only size cable you have that is already made.One of the two printers is already used for something totally different and cannot be used for all pc's in the room. Also the jack it goes into isn't easy to access, so how do you put the new printer into the room and use it but still not trip over the wires? And how long does the cable need to be? (hint: the answer to this problem can be found somewhere in Mr. Kefor's room.)You are only allowed to make 1 cable.NO measuring tools are ALLOWED beyond the IT stations. Remember to measure twice and cut once.

What I like about this problem is that it's so easy but yet it's hard at the same time. And it doesn't apply to just IT there will be times in the real world in which you will have the same or similar problem and it's good to know how to fix it.

-Lauren Wefers