More Limitin', Wrong Major, and Parallel Universe Replacement

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  • HockeyMonkey 2011-11-22 13:20
    Shoot - SCORE!!!
  • fennec 2011-11-22 13:29
    Allow me to modify Gresham's Law. Where hiring managers can't tell the difference, bad programmers drive out the good.
  • Nagesh 2011-11-22 13:29
    Why is Omar being upset with obviose perfect candidate for job?
  • Nagesh 2011-11-22 13:35
    Outsoursing company story sound fishie to me.
  • Yaos 2011-11-22 13:36
    If I were hiring and training my replacement I would most certainly go after the person that is least capable of being my replacement.
  • Anketam 2011-11-22 13:42
    Yaos:
    If I were hiring and training my replacement I would most certainly go after the person that is least capable of being my replacement.
    In that case it looks like you would have gotten the perfect replacement on the first try.
  • frits 2011-11-22 13:46
    Andrew must not have ever met any Southerners before. I think the candidate sounded very enthusiatic given the context.
  • mjk340 2011-11-22 13:47
    TRWTF is an ORA-1555 error
  • Mcoder 2011-11-22 13:57
    Hey, I've never met an android. Except for repeating memorized sentences, what was he like? Could you tell any other difference from a human? Did he display emotions?

    By the way, TRWTF is Oracle. The company. Or worse yet, its clients.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-22 14:00
    So, to help them find the right candidates, they'd ask me what kind of problems I'd deal with on, which these systems, and I say something like "..."


    Waitaminnit, something fishy here. Even Alex can't screw up the English language that bad.


    Nagesh, are you writing for Alex now?
  • Nabhi Singh 2011-11-22 14:04
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
  • Troll Script Writer 2011-11-22 14:06
    NageshScript:
    Why is Omar being upset with obviose perfect candidate for job?


    Ooops! Sorry about that, folks. I think I forgot to re-enable the subtlety module. NageshScript has been writing for Dane Cook recently.
  • ping floyd 2011-11-22 14:07
    Well, to be honest, HTML really is more limiting that Java or C.
  • mz001 2011-11-22 14:10
    The one time that happened to me the company had already taken care of that prior to the interview stage. IIRC within a year of that their gross value went from 14 million to 3.5 million.
  • clcto 2011-11-22 14:11
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-22 14:12
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?
  • My Name Is Missing 2011-11-22 14:14
    IF YOU HAVE A BOX WITH THREE LIGHTBULBS... I'd answer "I 'd have something smarter than you"
  • GreyWolf 2011-11-22 14:15
    >"That isn't Systems Integration."<

    I happen to agree. SI ought to include non-PC hardware (such as cash registers, weighing machines, bar-code readers), training employees, connecting to existing company finance, sales, and logistics processes, roll-out planning, help-desk setup, on top of a new application and a new DB. Otherwise it's too easy - there's not much of a challenge in that syllabus.

    And what's with the Networking modules being about Residential? Where's the scale issues that apply in the business environment?
  • Mmm, racism 2011-11-22 14:22
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
  • VeryBestDeveloperNumber1 2011-11-22 14:25
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!


    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
  • Lucent 2011-11-22 14:27
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!
  • Jellineck 2011-11-22 14:32
    Lucent:
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!


    I'm not sure he is black. He said "jarva", not purkles.

    Captcha: acsi - how black people say ASCII.
  • Cujo DeSockpuppet 2011-11-22 14:35
    I'd once gotten a job request from a recruiter with the position specifications lifted right off my resume word for word. I'd worked there previously and someone found my resume on Dice and sent it to the recruiter for a job spec. I think they went through 3 different people in less than 6 months. The best part of that was my new job got one of the rejects. He left off his brief stay at my former job where he spent most of his time chatting on the phone and decided to substitute some other company. I'd even met him over lunch with my former cow-orkers[1] a few months back.

    I wouldn't have recognized his name had he not put down 19 years of SQL server experience (this was 2007), 20 years of Oracle experience as well as DB2 and IMS experience.

    His resume was about 20 pages, nothing in the last 10 years over 3 months. Since this was a work-at-home position, I might have gotten some work out of him as long as he didn't have unlimited calling but I wasn't interested in finding out.

    [1] Deliberate misspelling for the SpellingNazis(tm).
  • wonk 2011-11-22 14:38
    He tried the cortical stimulators, but there was no response....
  • Richard 2011-11-22 14:45
    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?


    The general solution for N weights is CEIL(N / 3) weighings, so 5 weights would need 2 weighings, and 8 would need 3.
  • Bryan the K 2011-11-22 14:53
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?


    Because the level of troll has gone downhill so much since he/she went missing. Used to love watching Topc0d3r say something really dumb to bait everyone.

    Nagesh is the closest thing we have now, but that's not even really close.

    CAPTCHA: capio - I had to capio the audience with stories of yore.
  • AdamJS 2011-11-22 14:53
    I'm assuming I'm misinterpreting the question, but if you have five weights wherein 4 are the same and 1 is different, but they are visually identical, then how can you possibly detect the different one (for sure, under all 5 possible cases of which one is different) without at least weighing all five at least once?

    Or does it mean comparative weightings i.e. using a scale (thus checking two weights at once)?
  • D-Coder 2011-11-22 14:54
    Bryan the K:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?


    Because the level of troll has gone downhill so much since he/she went missing. Used to love watching Topc0d3r say something really dumb to bait everyone.

    Nagesh is the closest thing we have now, but that's not even really close.
    Outsourcing.
  • N00bie McN00berson 2011-11-22 15:02
    Bryan the K:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?


    Because the level of troll has gone downhill so much since he/she went missing. Used to love watching Topc0d3r say something really dumb to bait everyone.

    Nagesh is the closest thing we have now, but that's not even really close.

    CAPTCHA: capio - I had to capio the audience with stories of yore.
    Fascinating! What other super-cool hobbies do you have?
  • nonpartisan 2011-11-22 15:06
    Omar Haikal:
    The candidate started telling me exactly every single word I told the outsourcing folks. Oddly enough, he even used the same database name at one point (P008A). I then asked him what he would do if a user reports an ORA 1555 error?

    Except it wasn't the same database:
    Omar Haikal:
    So, to help them find the right candidates, they'd ask me what kind of problems I'd deal with on, which these systems, and I say something like "On this database, I once got a request to kill the session DMA session as it did not complete execution before recycle time, and caused problems on the website for the P001a database."

    He doesn't even know what database he's using! No wonder he got outsourced!
  • Anonymous Coward 2011-11-22 15:10
    Richard:
    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?


    The general solution for N weights is CEIL(N / 3) weighings, so 5 weights would need 2 weighings, and 8 would need 3.

    No, you definitely need three weighings in order to pick from five objects. Keep in mind you don't know whether the anomalous object is heavier or lighter than the others, only that it is different.

    AdamJS: Assume you are using a balance for comparative measurements.
  • inori 2011-11-22 15:11
    It's possible to sort out 12 weights within 3 weighings. You can also decide whether the odd weight out is heavy or light within those three. (It's usually called the 12 coins problem, for googling.)
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-22 15:14
    Bryan the K:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?


    Because the level of troll has gone downhill so much since he/she went missing. Used to love watching Topc0d3r say something really dumb to bait everyone.

    Nagesh is the closest thing we have now, but that's not even really close.

    CAPTCHA: capio - I had to capio the audience with stories of yore.
    What about geoffrey? He had some pretty good trolls last week, definitely better than any from any of the Nageshes.
  • Steve H. 2011-11-22 15:16
    It can be done in 4 measurements without any assumptions, and 3 if you know whether the odd one out is heavier or lighter.

    It can also be done with 3 if a comparative scale is used.
  • Archimedes 2011-11-22 15:20
    Amateurs! With the proper device, you only need to make one measurement.
  • Puzzles 2011-11-22 15:23
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.

    The normal assumption in a puzzle is that all the components are ideal, because the story is really just window-dressing on an ABSTRACT puzzle. If something is in an opaque box, you can't peek through a crack. If something has an on/off switch, you can't hold it in some middle position that makes intermittent contact. If you don't make those kinds of assumptions, these puzzles generally have a huge number of possible solutions, most of which are uninteresting and rely on circumstances not specified in the problem statement.

    The accepted solution of the lightbulb puzzle is to check the temperature of the bulbs. But that relies on an arbitrary non-ideal assumption (non-negligible waste heat) that isn't stated in the problem, so that's no more legitimate an answer than "I peek through a crack in the box" or "I trace the wires to see what's connected to what". It's arguably not even a REASONABLE assumption these days--what if the lights are LEDs?

    Lateral thinking puzzles don't generally belong in interviews, but that particular puzzle doesn't even belong in a game of puzzles. If you got the "correct" answer without being told, that actually means you're WORSE at these puzzles than many of the people who didn't get it, because under the normal implicit rules, it doesn't have a solution.

    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    I imagine that puzzle has many permutations depending on the exact nature of the measurement tool you use and whether you are told in advance that the different weight is lighter or heavier or only that it is "different".

    8 is likely a popular number because it is a power of 2, and therefore adds an extra red herring to the puzzle.
  • Nagesh == Satan's smegma 2011-11-22 15:26
    Nagesh:
    ...some unfunny trolling nonsense...


    Oh, so you haven't died in a fire yet. Well, there's always tomorrow.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-22 15:29
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.

    The normal assumption in a puzzle is that all the components are ideal, because the story is really just window-dressing on an ABSTRACT puzzle. If something is in an opaque box, you can't peek through a crack. If something has an on/off switch, you can't hold it in some middle position that makes intermittent contact. If you don't make those kinds of assumptions, these puzzles generally have a huge number of possible solutions, most of which are uninteresting and rely on circumstances not specified in the problem statement.

    The accepted solution of the lightbulb puzzle is to check the temperature of the bulbs. But that relies on an arbitrary non-ideal assumption (non-negligible waste heat) that isn't stated in the problem, so that's no more legitimate an answer than "I peek through a crack in the box" or "I trace the wires to see what's connected to what". It's arguably not even a REASONABLE assumption these days--what if the lights are LEDs?

    Lateral thinking puzzles don't generally belong in interviews, but that particular puzzle doesn't even belong in a game of puzzles. If you got the "correct" answer without being told, that actually means you're WORSE at these puzzles than many of the people who didn't get it, because under the normal implicit rules, it doesn't have a solution.

    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    I imagine that puzzle has many permutations depending on the exact nature of the measurement tool you use and whether you are told in advance that the different weight is lighter or heavier or only that it is "different".

    8 is likely a popular number because it is a power of 2, and therefore adds an extra red herring to the puzzle.


    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.
  • chic 2011-11-22 16:00
    mjk340:
    TRWTF is an ORA-1555 error

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview. Although perhaps common enough, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to know numbers that correspond to errors. Surely asking "What does a 'snapshot too old' error mean, and how would you go about fixing it?" would be more appropriate.

    I hate dickheads who think it's important to know what error numbers correspond to what error off the top of your head - there is no reason to know which number a particular error is, there is very much reason to understand what a particular error is (and Oracle provides functionality to see the actual error message to this end).
  • flighart 2011-11-22 16:01
    mz001:
    The one time that happened to me the company had already taken care of that prior to the interview stage. IIRC within a year of that their gross value went from 14 million to 3.5 million.
    Coincidentally, the GFC happened at about the same time....
  • Nagesh number 7 2011-11-22 16:04
    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    Pick any 6 and weigh 3 vs 3
    if one side heaver, pick two of them to find if one of them heavier else leftover
    else weigh other 2 - 1 vs 1

    Would also work for 9....
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-22 16:04
    geoffrey:
    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.
    This is what I'm talking about, people. You can't seriously tell me that this troll isn't up to TopCod3r's level.
  • VeryBestDeveloperNumber1 2011-11-22 16:05
    chic:
    mjk340:
    TRWTF is an ORA-1555 error

    I hate dickheads who think it's important to know what error numbers correspond to what error off the top of your head - there is no reason to know which number a particular error is, there is very much reason to understand what a particular error is (and Oracle provides functionality to see the actual error message to this end).


    You obviously haven't dealt with Oracle before. Work with anything more than a toy database, and you'll learn to hate certain numbers with a passion. They will haunt your dreams and possess your soul.
  • Nagesh number 7 2011-11-22 16:05
    Nagesh number 7:
    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    Pick any 6 and weigh 3 vs 3
    if one side heaver, pick two of them to find if one of them heavier else leftover
    else weigh other 2 - 1 vs 1

    Would also work for 9....
    this works only if you know specifically that wrong weight is heaver or lighter. If we only told that it is diffrent we must do more weighs
  • Professor Q 2011-11-22 16:07
    GreyWolf:
    >"That isn't Systems Integration."<

    I happen to agree. SI ought to include non-PC hardware (such as cash registers, weighing machines, bar-code readers), training employees, connecting to existing company finance, sales, and logistics processes, roll-out planning, help-desk setup, on top of a new application and a new DB. Otherwise it's too easy - there's not much of a challenge in that syllabus.

    And what's with the Networking modules being about Residential? Where's the scale issues that apply in the business environment?
    I'll assume (I don;'t know why) that you're not a troll

    What SI is and isn't in real life is irrelevant (in the context). The candidate was relating to the interviewer a course he studied called Systems Integration. Whether that course actually taught Systems Integration as advertised is totally irrelevant, and the interviewer is merely being a knob-jockey by challenging the candidate.

  • arrtn 2011-11-22 16:10
    Bryan the K:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Nabhi Singh:
    Whatever happened to TopCod3r I miss him
    How do you know he's not posting as one of the myriad troll sock-puppets we seem to have here?


    Because the level of troll has gone downhill so much since he/she went missing. Used to love watching Topc0d3r say something really dumb to bait everyone.

    Nagesh is the closest thing we have now, but that's not even really close.

    CAPTCHA: capio - I had to capio the audience with stories of yore.
    Wot about Geoffery?
  • airdrik 2011-11-22 16:12
    geoffrey:
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.
    ...


    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.


    It is still a fundamentally broken puzzle - it relies on assumptions about particular light bulbs (yes the most common type, but alternatives are readily available and that common type is approaching a rapid decline). While most candidates will have had some experience with a heated bulb (who hasn't changed a light bulb just after turning it off, or tried while it was still on), slim few are going to make the required leap to the assumption made by the puzzle to make it solvable.

    There are plenty of other puzzles which don't have some catch to them from which the puzzle draws assumptions and requires familiarity with the catch to solve.
  • Herby 2011-11-22 16:21
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.
  • boog 2011-11-22 16:24
    "If you have a set of five weights that are identical except for one, how can you find the one in only 3 measures?"
    Maybe if we didn't waste all this time chit-chatting about useless brain-teasers, we'd have time for 4 measures.
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-22 16:25
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.
    And here, folks, we have an excellent example of an IRL troll.
  • ObiWayneKenobi 2011-11-22 16:31
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.


    Did you put on a shit-eating grin and say to the teacher "Problem?"
  • geoffrey 2011-11-22 16:48
    airdrik:
    geoffrey:
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.
    ...


    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.


    It is still a fundamentally broken puzzle - it relies on assumptions about particular light bulbs (yes the most common type, but alternatives are readily available and that common type is approaching a rapid decline). While most candidates will have had some experience with a heated bulb (who hasn't changed a light bulb just after turning it off, or tried while it was still on), slim few are going to make the required leap to the assumption made by the puzzle to make it solvable.

    There are plenty of other puzzles which don't have some catch to them from which the puzzle draws assumptions and requires familiarity with the catch to solve.


    You are looking at the puzzle from only one perspective. Try instead to look at the value to a leader who values efficiency and common sense in his team.
  • Dirty Sock Smell 2011-11-22 16:49
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.
    And here, folks, we have an excellent example of an IRL troll.
    I'm not so sure that counts as a troll. It's more of a buttinsky dork maneuver.
  • Zylon 2011-11-22 16:50
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    And here, folks, we have an excellent example of an IRL troll.

    That's not trolling. That's just being a jackass. Trolling would have been giving persuasive but wrong answers.

    As for geoffrey, his trolling is so subtle that it's redundant to all the genuine stupidity circulating around here.

    The plague of Nagesh doesn't even try to troll. It's just line noise at this point.
  • Nagesh 2011-11-22 16:55
    Nagesh == Satan's smegma:
    Nagesh:
    ...some unfunny trolling nonsense...


    Oh, so you haven't died in a fire yet. Well, there's always tomorrow.

    Luky I was not being on number 7 trane this am: it deraled an kiling 2.3 million persons.
  • Puzzles 2011-11-22 16:59
    geoffrey:
    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.

    Actually, since the puzzle specifies that all the switches are permanently locked when you open the box, someone who attempts this solution and fails has quite possibly destroyed any chance for an alternate solution. (If the puzzle could be reset, it would be trivial.)

    If that's truly the "point" of the light bulb puzzle, its design is even worse than I imagined!
  • no Bob 2011-11-22 17:01
    Zylon:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    And here, folks, we have an excellent example of an IRL troll.

    That's not trolling. That's just being a jackass. Trolling would have been giving persuasive but wrong answers.

    As for geoffrey, his trolling is so subtle that it's redundant to all the genuine stupidity circulating around here.

    The plague of Nagesh doesn't even try to troll. It's just line noise at this point.

    Of course it's a troll. The story is bout him being a jackass. The troll is how he's extremely proud of 1) being a jackass and 2) solving middle school-level puzzles.

    He can't possibly be serious.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-22 17:04
    Puzzles:
    geoffrey:
    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.

    Actually, since the puzzle specifies that all the switches are permanently locked when you open the box, someone who attempts this solution and fails has quite possibly destroyed any chance for an alternate solution. (If the puzzle could be reset, it would be trivial.)

    If that's truly the "point" of the light bulb puzzle, its design is even worse than I imagined!


    Failure is part of life. So wouldn't your attempt at a solution be one that gave you the greatest probability of success?
  • Ken 2011-11-22 17:11
    I have never worked in a place where the lightbulbs produce heat and the lightbulbs my landlord gives me for free do not produce heat either. Therefore your assumption that most lightbulbs produce heat is outdated.
  • anonymouser 2011-11-22 17:15
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.

    Do you have 3 feet? Why couldn't you just take 2 black socks?

    Or, did you forgot to mention that the room is dark and you can't see the socks, which is quite important to this puzzle. In that case, you'd be correct that 3 would guarantee a proper pair. It being too dark to see them, however, you only have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a proper pair on your feet.
  • operagost 2011-11-22 17:19
    ping floyd:
    Well, to be honest, HTML really is more limiting that Java or C.

    For one, it can't take screen shots of wooden tables on embedded systems using NetBeans.
  • 404d 2011-11-22 17:43
    If I am interviewing for a web development position, and a candidate has no idea what a 404 is, s/he has something to explain...
  • 404d 2011-11-22 17:43

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview. Although perhaps common enough, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to know numbers that correspond to errors.


    If I am interviewing for a web development position, and a candidate has no idea what a 404 is, s/he has something to explain...
  • stir mr pot 2011-11-22 18:07
    404d:

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview. Although perhaps common enough, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to know numbers that correspond to errors.


    If I am interviewing for a web development position, and a candidate has no idea what a 404 is, s/he has something to explain...

    I agree it [i]might[/p] point to some serious knowledge gaps (especially in that context - as would not knowing 200 (and maybe 401,403)), but isn't it more important to understand what the error is and what the cause may be, than to know exactly what the number is?

    Interestingly, the biggest reason that we expect people (even outside of the Web Development space) to know what 404 is, because we are obsessed with bashing them over the head with it....
  • Captain Jean Luc Picard 2011-11-22 18:21
    Teh Borgs:
    "IF YOU HAVE A BOX WITH THREE LIGHTBULBS..."

    There are FOUR LIGHTS.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-22 18:37
    404d:

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview. Although perhaps common enough, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to know numbers that correspond to errors.


    If I am interviewing for a web development position, and a candidate has no idea what a 404 is, s/he has something to explain...


    No offense, but that's very Web 1.0 thinking. Modern development platforms have abstracted error codes into semantically meaningful data items. I care little if someone has committed a bunch of arcane error numbers to rote memory.
  • Nagesh == Satan's smegma 2011-11-22 18:45
    geoffrey:
    404d:

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview. Although perhaps common enough, I don't think it is reasonable to expect people to know numbers that correspond to errors.


    If I am interviewing for a web development position, and a candidate has no idea what a 404 is, s/he has something to explain...


    No offense, but that's very Web 1.0 thinking. Modern development platforms have abstracted error codes into semantically meaningful data items. I care little if someone has committed a bunch of arcane error numbers to rote memory.


    Oh, goody, it's Nagesh's annoying little brother.
  • MarkJ 2011-11-22 19:11
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh == Satan's smegma:
    Nagesh:
    ...some unfunny trolling nonsense...


    Oh, so you haven't died in a fire yet. Well, there's always tomorrow.

    Luky I was not being on number 7 trane this am: it deraled an kiling 2.3 million persons.
    You may return to your office under the bridge now.
  • Mathlete 2011-11-22 20:03
    Richard:
    The general solution for N weights is CEIL(N / 3) weighings, so 5 weights would need 2 weighings, and 8 would need 3.


    This is just plain wrong. For the version of the problem where you do now know if the fake coin is lighter or heavier, and need to determin which it is, the maximum number of coins you can have for n > 1 weighings is c = (3^n - 3)/2.

    Conversely, the minimum number of weighings for c > 2 coins is n = ceil(log3(2c + 3)).

  • Chris 2011-11-22 20:22
    [quote user="geoffrey"][quote user="404d"][quote]
    No offense, but that's very Web 1.0 thinking. Modern development platforms have abstracted error codes into semantically meaningful data items. I care little if someone has committed a bunch of arcane error numbers to rote memory.[/quote]

    Yes, as Vertiy Stob says, nowadays the standard approach on handling an exception is to send the user a page of ODBC diagnostics, preferably mashed up with a few suggestions from Apache.
  • ooblek 2011-11-22 21:55
    Ha! We were interviewing candidates for our offsore team member positions and I KNEW that subsequent candidates would be given hints about our interview questions given to previous candidates. During the interviews, the handler is always on the phone too for some reason.

    So I laid a little trap.

    I asked the first candidate how they would handle parsing a 20GB XML file on a machine with only 4GB of memory. They didn't know, of course. So in my feedback, I put "did not know when to use a SAX or a DOM parser".

    The next candidate I ask, "What is the difference between a SAX and a DOM parser." The answer: "Well, you can use a SAX parser to parse a 20GB XML file on a machine with 4GB of memory."

    As if.
  • Master Troll (formerly Top3Coder) 2011-11-22 22:36
    I had to leave this site because of the abysmal quality of trolling. I was trolled so badly, when all I did was express my honest opinions.
  • Master Troll (formerly Top3Coder) 2011-11-22 22:37
    If you create a 20GB XML file, you're doing it wrong.
  • Dani 2011-11-22 23:16
    Zylon:
    PedanticCurmudgeon:
    And here, folks, we have an excellent example of an IRL troll.

    That's not trolling. That's just being a jackass. Trolling would have been giving persuasive but wrong answers.

    As for geoffrey, his trolling is so subtle that it's redundant to all the genuine stupidity circulating around here.

    The plague of Nagesh doesn't even try to troll. It's just line noise at this point.


    The answers are actually wrong, and since you didn't notice they are also persuasive.
    So he does count as a troll.
  • NPSF3000 2011-11-22 23:42
    geoffrey:
    airdrik:
    geoffrey:
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.
    ...


    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.


    It is still a fundamentally broken puzzle - it relies on assumptions about particular light bulbs (yes the most common type, but alternatives are readily available and that common type is approaching a rapid decline). While most candidates will have had some experience with a heated bulb (who hasn't changed a light bulb just after turning it off, or tried while it was still on), slim few are going to make the required leap to the assumption made by the puzzle to make it solvable.

    There are plenty of other puzzles which don't have some catch to them from which the puzzle draws assumptions and requires familiarity with the catch to solve.


    You are looking at the puzzle from only one perspective. Try instead to look at the value to a leader who values efficiency and common sense in his team.


    How about the perspective of hiring a programmer who is more than happy to use undocumented and unreliable side-effects of systems?

    Though it's a good question for a hacker :P
  • Franz Kafka 2011-11-22 23:45
    ooblek:

    The next candidate I ask, "What is the difference between a SAX and a DOM parser." The answer: "Well, you can use a SAX parser to parse a 20GB XML file on a machine with 4GB of memory."

    As if.


    You left out the actual trap: "Describe how that is."
  • QJo 2011-11-23 03:57
    My Name Is Missing:
    IF YOU HAVE A BOX WITH THREE LIGHTBULBS... I'd answer "I 'd have something smarter than you"


    Why can't interviewers ask more challenging questions like:

    What's the quickest way to toast 3 slices of bread on both sides under a grill that toasts only two slices, and only one one side of each, at a time?
  • GA2K 2011-11-23 04:00
    Ken:
    I have never worked in a place where the lightbulbs produce heat and the lightbulbs my landlord gives me for free do not produce heat either. Therefore your assumption that most lightbulbs produce heat is outdated.


    Are you 5 years old? Are you seriously suggesting you know that lightbulbs generate heat?
  • QJo 2011-11-23 04:08
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.


    You're not necessarily right. If the day before the last day all the leaves drop but one, then on the last day there's only that one leaf left to drop, and be blowed to your mathematics.
  • QJo 2011-11-23 04:11
    Nagesh:
    Nagesh == Satan's smegma:
    Nagesh:
    ...some unfunny trolling nonsense...


    Oh, so you haven't died in a fire yet. Well, there's always tomorrow.

    Luky I was not being on number 7 trane this am: it deraled an kiling 2.3 million persons.


    Only one carriage fell over, then?
  • Andrew Brehm 2011-11-23 04:14
    Herby:

    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.


    Actually, the real answer is 7.

    Try it out.

    I found that when it comes to socks, all theory is useless.

    Captcha: "enim" = "truly"
  • QJo 2011-11-23 04:17
    Puzzles:
    geoffrey:
    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.

    Actually, since the puzzle specifies that all the switches are permanently locked when you open the box, someone who attempts this solution and fails has quite possibly destroyed any chance for an alternate solution. (If the puzzle could be reset, it would be trivial.)

    If that's truly the "point" of the light bulb puzzle, its design is even worse than I imagined!


    Presumably the question is to determine which of the bulbs in the box is broken, with the limitation that when the box is open all the bulbs are turned off.

    I'd put the question back to the questioner: "How do you *know* one of the bulbs is broken if you can't see them when they're lit? Oh, so you've stuck an ammeter into the circuit to see it's drawing only two thirds the current. So why can't you stick the ammeter into each individual circuit? I can see why you need a new system designer - you've just fired the idiot who built this box of lights. Have you got one of those devices that you clip round the wire and it measures the magnetic flux, so determining the current going through the wire? ..." etc.
  • SEMI-HYBRID code 2011-11-23 04:43
    ping floyd:
    Well, to be honest, HTML really is more limiting that Java or C.


    i certainly miss the "data flow" feature. and garbage collection, but i suppose that would make 98% of web display just a blank page so it's a good thing... maybe?
  • this socks 2011-11-23 04:51
    anonymouser:

    It being too dark to see them, however, you only have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a proper pair on your feet.


    The first sock you pick will always be right (or left)
    The chance to pick a correct second sock is now 9 out of 19.
    So not 1 out of 3 but almost 50%abico
  • Pim 2011-11-23 05:11
    If you can't see what color socks are in your drawer, how does it matter how many socks you fetch? You always have the same chance of ending up with two different socks on your feet.

    Unless I'm missing some vital information in this question, such as "you can, for some reason, only turn the light on AFTER you have got your socks from the drawer."
    For putting your socks on in the dark, it doesn't matter how many socks you have in your hands.
    So why can't you just turn the light on first?

  • itsmo 2011-11-23 05:22
    My Name Is Missing:
    IF YOU HAVE A BOX WITH THREE LIGHTBULBS... I'd answer "I 'd have something smarter than you"


    Brighter FFS, brighter...
  • Expert 2011-11-23 05:25
    this socks:
    anonymouser:

    It being too dark to see them, however, you only have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a proper pair on your feet.


    The first sock you pick will always be right (or left)
    The chance to pick a correct second sock is now 9 out of 19.
    So not 1 out of 3 but almost 50%abico


    One extra failure is when you put both blues, but they didn't match brown shoes (which you pulled randomly, too)
  • The poop of DOOM 2011-11-23 05:25
    Pim:
    If you can't see what color socks are in your drawer, how does it matter how many socks you fetch? You always have the same chance of ending up with two different socks on your feet.

    Unless I'm missing some vital information in this question, such as "you can, for some reason, only turn the light on AFTER you have got your socks from the drawer."
    For putting your socks on in the dark, it doesn't matter how many socks you have in your hands.
    So why can't you just turn the light on first?


    I'm colourblind, so even with the lights on, chances'd be about 8% that I'd have a matching pair, even with only 2 colours to choose from.
  • Brilliand 2011-11-23 05:25
    Mathlete :
    Richard:
    The general solution for N weights is CEIL(N / 3) weighings, so 5 weights would need 2 weighings, and 8 would need 3.


    This is just plain wrong. For the version of the problem where you do now know if the fake coin is lighter or heavier, and need to determin which it is, the maximum number of coins you can have for n > 1 weighings is c = (3^n - 3)/2.

    Conversely, the minimum number of weighings for c > 2 coins is n = ceil(log3(2c + 3)).



    For not knowing whether the weight is larger or smaller, and not needing to determine that: c = (3^n)/2 and n = ceil(log3(2c)) [Usually what I assume upon hearing this sort of problem]
    For knowing in advance: c = 3^n and n = ceil(log3(c)) [Apparently what the 8 coins 2 weighings version is]
  • The poop of DOOM 2011-11-23 05:26
    I never actually heard the lightbulbs thing. How does that one go?
  • muteKi 2011-11-23 05:26
    I could actually see a situation where this might be the case.
    Walk-in-closet without windows, light burnt out*. Sock drawer's in back, it's hard to tell what color sock is what, but all you need is a matching pair of either kind. Take 3 socks and wear the 2 that match.


    *Well, we could replace it, but the guy who wired the house was a moron and we can't tell what switches or breakers go to it. And for some reason after tripping a breaker we can't reset it.
  • itsmo 2011-11-23 05:28
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.

    The normal assumption in a puzzle is that all the components are ideal, because the story is really just window-dressing on an ABSTRACT puzzle. If something is in an opaque box, you can't peek through a crack. If something has an on/off switch, you can't hold it in some middle position that makes intermittent contact. If you don't make those kinds of assumptions, these puzzles generally have a huge number of possible solutions, most of which are uninteresting and rely on circumstances not specified in the problem statement.

    The accepted solution of the lightbulb puzzle is to check the temperature of the bulbs. But that relies on an arbitrary non-ideal assumption (non-negligible waste heat) that isn't stated in the problem, so that's no more legitimate an answer than "I peek through a crack in the box" or "I trace the wires to see what's connected to what". It's arguably not even a REASONABLE assumption these days--what if the lights are LEDs?

    Lateral thinking puzzles don't generally belong in interviews, but that particular puzzle doesn't even belong in a game of puzzles. If you got the "correct" answer without being told, that actually means you're WORSE at these puzzles than many of the people who didn't get it, because under the normal implicit rules, it doesn't have a solution.

    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    I imagine that puzzle has many permutations depending on the exact nature of the measurement tool you use and whether you are told in advance that the different weight is lighter or heavier or only that it is "different".

    8 is likely a popular number because it is a power of 2, and therefore adds an extra red herring to the puzzle.


    Seriously, please, STFU with the fucking brain-teasers
    (nothing personal Puzzles, this is just the point where I couldn't stand it anymore)
  • muteKi 2011-11-23 05:29
    If it wasn't clear the idea is that after taking the socks you could verify in a better-lit area which two matched. But it probably is and I'm just thinking it isn't because I'm up at 3:30 AM for no good reason.
  • dkf 2011-11-23 06:10
    The poop of DOOM:
    I never actually heard the lightbulbs thing. How does that one go?
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    The answer's obvious and trivial to remember once you know it; it's a stupid “A-ha!” question that reveals that the interviewer isn't very good at it. A good interview question should be either genuinely tricky or thoroughly open-ended; in the former case, you're testing whether they actually know what they claim, and in the latter case you'd be looking for whether the interviewee identifies the major strategies for tackling the problem.
  • The poop of DOOM 2011-11-23 06:26
    dkf:
    The poop of DOOM:
    I never actually heard the lightbulbs thing. How does that one go?
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    The answer's obvious and trivial to remember once you know it; it's a stupid “A-ha!” question that reveals that the interviewer isn't very good at it. A good interview question should be either genuinely tricky or thoroughly open-ended; in the former case, you're testing whether they actually know what they claim, and in the latter case you'd be looking for whether the interviewee identifies the major strategies for tackling the problem.

    Oh, so it's basically one of those questions that interviewer read in one of their magazines, and base their judgement of you on your response. Bet he wouldn't know what to do if you tell him to smash every bulb, so you know 100% sure that all of them are broken and need to be replaced.

    That or, if he's actually genuinly into riddles, you can solve it for him, then ask him another one. Good interview will be good then :P
  • MarkW 2011-11-23 06:28
    Solution to the 5 weights problem:

    1) Weigh A+B against C+D. If they are equal, E is the odd weight.
    OTHERWISE: note which set is heavier.
    2) Weigh B+C against D+E. If they are equal, A is the odd weight.
    OTHERWISE: note which set is heavier.
    If A+B was heavier than C+D and D+E was heavier than B+C:
    C is the odd weight (and is lighter than the others)
    If C+D was heavier than A+B and B+C was heavier than D+E:
    C is the odd weight (and is heavier than the others)
    3) Weight B against A:
    If they are the same, D is the odd weight, otherwise B is the odd weight.
  • Enam Rouy 2011-11-23 06:37
    3 weighs if you want to know whether it's heavier or lighter. With weights ABCDE:

    Weigh(1) A+B against C+D. If they match then E is different. Weigh(2) E against any other weight to determine heavier or lighter.

    Otherwise:
    Weigh(2) A against C. If unmatched then weigh(3) A against E
    - If unmatched A is different, heavier/lighter is also given by the last comparison
    - If matched then C is different. Result of A,C comparison gives heavier or lighter since we know whether A was heavier or lighter than C.

    If same:
    Weigh(3) B against E
    If unmatched then B is different, heavier or lighter
    If same then D is different. Result of A+B vs C+D comparison determines whether D is heavier or lighter.

    Three weighs, heavier/lighter known.
  • Anchors aweigh 2011-11-23 06:43
    The question usually assumes a balance scale (at least for the 8 weight issue).

    For that:
    1) Weigh A+B+C vs D+E+F. If they are equal then G or H are heavier.
    2) If G or H are heavier, then obviously weigh them against each other.
    3) If G and H are the same, then repeat the step one with the heavier triad, but leaving one out.

    So 2 weighings for 8 on a balance scale.
  • C# Guy 2011-11-23 06:46
    anonymouser:
    Or, did you forgot to mention that the room is dark and you can't see the socks, which is quite important to this puzzle. In that case, you'd be correct that 3 would guarantee a proper pair. It being too dark to see them, however, you only have a 1 in 3 chance of getting a proper pair on your feet.


    Actually, you'd have a better than 1 in 3 chance.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-23 07:00
    NPSF3000:
    geoffrey:


    You are looking at the puzzle from only one perspective. Try instead to look at the value to a leader who values efficiency and common sense in his team.


    How about the perspective of hiring a programmer who is more than happy to use undocumented and unreliable side-effects of systems?

    Though it's a good question for a hacker :P


    Or from the perspective of hiring someone who just gets things done. I don't care how it's done; I just want results.

    Standing in front of a whiteboard all day does not lead to results.
  • Paddy Ryan 2011-11-23 07:17
    The real tricky one is 12 in 3 balances (all outcomes covered)
  • Richard 2011-11-23 07:51
    Mathlete :
    This is just plain wrong.


    Yes, I'm a feckin' eejit. I meant to write CEIL(Log(N)/Log(3)) - aka CEIL(Log3(N)) - which is correct when you *do* know whether the fake coin is heavier or lighter.
  • QJo 2011-11-23 07:55
    Anchors aweigh:
    The question usually assumes a balance scale (at least for the 8 weight issue).

    For that:
    1) Weigh A+B+C vs D+E+F. If they are equal then G or H are heavier.
    2) If G or H are heavier, then obviously weigh them against each other.
    3) If G and H are the same, then repeat the step one with the heavier triad, but leaving one out.

    So 2 weighings for 8 on a balance scale.


    Step 2 is flawed. G and H are obviously going to weigh differently. Which is which? You don't know.

    What you can do is weigh A against G, and if G is lighter/heavier then G's the odd one, if not then H is - but you can't know whether H is heavier or lighter.
  • Tarl 2011-11-23 07:58
    Paddy Ryan:
    The real tricky one is 12 in 3 balances (all outcomes covered)
    I assume this is an important problem because you are selling live chickens from your farm in Ye Olde Common Marketplace for 12 Copper Tarsks each, and you suspect the Warrior in front of you (smartly equipped with red tunic and steel sword) is attempting to defraud you by sneaking in one Copper Tarsk that has been slightly shaved around the edges.

    1. How do you know he didn't offer you two shaved coins?

    2. You brought your scales, but forgot to bring a Reference Tarsk?

    3. Since your prices aren't posted, tell everyone else the price is 12 C.T. but tell the Warrior 13. Then it doesn't matter if one of them is bad.

    3A. If, in talking to others at the Marketplace, the Warrior learns you are selling chickens for 12 CT to everyone but him, offer him a 1 CT refund. Now he has to sweat that you might give him the false CT!

    4. He's a Warrior goddammit! When you get out the balance and start playing tiddly winks, he will know you are essentially accusing him of fraud. He's standing and you are seated behind your counter. Just give him the chicken already and rejoice that he allows you to keep your head!
  • Cishuman 2011-11-23 08:29
    The first one is just wrong. After all, HTML + CSS is Turing Complete, and therefore it is in principle possible to write a Java interpreter in it...
  • Larry 2011-11-23 08:46
    Cishuman:
    The first one is just wrong. After all, HTML + CSS is Turing Complete, and therefore it is in principle possible to write a Java interpreter in it...
    So is HTML + JavaScript; but he didn't say "HTML plus some language is limitin" he said "HTML is limitin".
  • this socks 2011-11-23 08:57
    dkf:
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    The answer's obvious and trivial to remember once you know it; it's a stupid “A-ha!” question that reveals that the interviewer isn't very good at it. A good interview question should be either genuinely tricky or thoroughly open-ended; in the former case, you're testing whether they actually know what they claim, and in the latter case you'd be looking for whether the interviewee identifies the major strategies for tackling the problem.


    The only correct answer is: "Don't replace the lightbulb, it's inside a box and completly useless. Why change it?"
    Think outside the box.
  • The poop of DOOM 2011-11-23 09:07
    this socks:
    dkf:
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    The answer's obvious and trivial to remember once you know it; it's a stupid “A-ha!” question that reveals that the interviewer isn't very good at it. A good interview question should be either genuinely tricky or thoroughly open-ended; in the former case, you're testing whether they actually know what they claim, and in the latter case you'd be looking for whether the interviewee identifies the major strategies for tackling the problem.


    The only correct answer is: "Don't replace the lightbulb, it's inside a box and completly useless. Why change it?"
    Think outside the box.

    Maybe it's a simulation to find the answer to the question if the light in the fridge goes out when you close the door. Then you should fix it to make sure your tests are valid.
  • pjt33 2011-11-23 09:09
    dkf:
    The poop of DOOM:
    I never actually heard the lightbulbs thing. How does that one go?
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    Most people seem to be answering a different lightbulb question. You have three switches, and three lightbulbs in a box. Each switch controls one lightbulb. You are allowed to look in the box precisely once. How can you work out which switch controls which lightbulb?
  • Peter 2011-11-23 09:11
    Tarl:
    I assume this is an important problem because you are selling live chickens from your farm in Ye Olde Common Marketplace for 12 Copper Tarsks each, and you suspect the Warrior in front of you (smartly equipped with red tunic and steel sword) is attempting to defraud you by sneaking in one Copper Tarsk that has been slightly shaved around the edges.
    Tarl? Would that be Tarl Cabot, Tarnsman of Gor?

    Oh God, I'm so embarrassed that I caught the reference...
  • QJo 2011-11-23 09:16
    Peter:
    Tarl:
    I assume this is an important problem because you are selling live chickens from your farm in Ye Olde Common Marketplace for 12 Copper Tarsks each, and you suspect the Warrior in front of you (smartly equipped with red tunic and steel sword) is attempting to defraud you by sneaking in one Copper Tarsk that has been slightly shaved around the edges.
    Tarl? Would that be Tarl Cabot, Tarnsman of Gor?

    Oh God, I'm so embarrassed that I caught the reference...


    I believe he may be travelling incognito under the alias Bosk ... You will find him by the trail of meek, submissive, exquisitely-ringed and -silked slave girls he leaves in his wake.
  • MrBester 2011-11-23 09:24
    You get someone else to look in the box each time a switch is turned "on" (this assumes that the lights are off to begin with). This only needs to happen twice.

    Then you get to look in the box and marvel at the stupidity ad pointlessness of making an opaque box containing light bulbs that can be switched on when the box is closed.
  • CrisW 2011-11-23 09:31
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.

    The normal assumption in a puzzle is that all the components are ideal, because the story is really just window-dressing on an ABSTRACT puzzle. If something is in an opaque box, you can't peek through a crack. If something has an on/off switch, you can't hold it in some middle position that makes intermittent contact. If you don't make those kinds of assumptions, these puzzles generally have a huge number of possible solutions, most of which are uninteresting and rely on circumstances not specified in the problem statement.

    The accepted solution of the lightbulb puzzle is to check the temperature of the bulbs. But that relies on an arbitrary non-ideal assumption (non-negligible waste heat) that isn't stated in the problem, so that's no more legitimate an answer than "I peek through a crack in the box" or "I trace the wires to see what's connected to what". It's arguably not even a REASONABLE assumption these days--what if the lights are LEDs?

    Lateral thinking puzzles don't generally belong in interviews, but that particular puzzle doesn't even belong in a game of puzzles. If you got the "correct" answer without being told, that actually means you're WORSE at these puzzles than many of the people who didn't get it, because under the normal implicit rules, it doesn't have a solution.

    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    I imagine that puzzle has many permutations depending on the exact nature of the measurement tool you use and whether you are told in advance that the different weight is lighter or heavier or only that it is "different".

    8 is likely a popular number because it is a power of 2, and therefore adds an extra red herring to the puzzle.


    Light bulbs don't give out any detectable heat any more. (well, not so that you could detect it by touch anyway.)
  • Bulby McBulb 2011-11-23 09:32
    MrBester:
    Then you get to look in the box and marvel at the stupidity ad pointlessness of making an opaque box containing light bulbs that can be switched on when the box is closed.


    Probably that same idiot who wired up the bulb in the sock drawer puzzle
  • Mastur Plan Software 2011-11-23 09:40
    I would grab as many socks as possible.

    Also, I may be suffering from "puppeteer's bias".
  • geoffrey 2011-11-23 10:00
    this socks:
    dkf:
    It goes something like this: You've got a box with a bunch of lights in it, one of which is broken. The box is opaque and openable; a switch in the hinge mechanism ensures that no electricity is flowing through the circuit when the lid is open. How do you work out which light is broken so you can fit the replacement?

    The answer's obvious and trivial to remember once you know it; it's a stupid “A-ha!” question that reveals that the interviewer isn't very good at it. A good interview question should be either genuinely tricky or thoroughly open-ended; in the former case, you're testing whether they actually know what they claim, and in the latter case you'd be looking for whether the interviewee identifies the major strategies for tackling the problem.


    The only correct answer is: "Don't replace the lightbulb, it's inside a box and completly useless. Why change it?"
    Think outside the box.


    That's not thinking outside the box. It's thinking pragmatically. I would give you points for your ability to triage a situation. Not all defects need to be fixed.
  • Quant Ummm 2011-11-23 10:01
    Look, as long as the box is closed, you can't observe the light bulbs so there is a 50% chance that each one is on or off. More precisely, each one is 50% on and 50% off until you open the lid, at which point the universe tosses a coin (of full standard weight) and the wavefunction resolves.

    Just make sure someone is watching you open the lid, so your wavefunction resolves to ensure your own existence.

    That's why I always have someone watch me while I watch porn.
  • golddog 2011-11-23 10:05
    When I took the socks out of the laundry, I would bundle them into matching pairs before putting them in the drawer.

    100% that I'll get a matched pair.
  • QJo 2011-11-23 10:09
    airdrik:
    geoffrey:
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.
    ...


    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.

    I'm more interested in someone who will troubleshoot through experimentation and observation, and who will not be more interested in the elegance or cleverness of the solution than in solving the problem at hand.


    It is still a fundamentally broken puzzle - it relies on assumptions about particular light bulbs (yes the most common type, but alternatives are readily available and that common type is approaching a rapid decline). While most candidates will have had some experience with a heated bulb (who hasn't changed a light bulb just after turning it off, or tried while it was still on), slim few are going to make the required leap to the assumption made by the puzzle to make it solvable.

    There are plenty of other puzzles which don't have some catch to them from which the puzzle draws assumptions and requires familiarity with the catch to solve.


    One is almost tempted to say to the interviewer: "In such a set of circumstances, I would ask myself: What would Jesus do?"
  • Cishuman 2011-11-23 10:13
    Eh, just change all light bulbs. The beancounters will complain about the cost, but who cares about that, amiright?
  • Pommes-Frites Avec 2011-11-23 10:19
    I would use a tricorder to determine the odd weight out and which lightbulb in the box is broken. I don't think they work on socks but since their display gives off light I can use that to get a matching pair with only two socks, a 50% improvement over the stated goal! My solutions not only show my out-of-the-box thinking and imagination, but also my wittiness because I said "out-of-the-box" while dealing with lightbulbs that are in a box.
  • A Gould 2011-11-23 10:29
    geoffrey:

    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.


    That's an assumption that is only going to get worse, and it begs the question - if you're giving me physical access to the bulbs and the switches, why don't I have access to the wiring?

    It's also a question that assumes that you're willing to play with electricity with no gear. Always wondered why this would be considered a desirable trait, considering how high Worker's Comp premiums can go...
  • boog 2011-11-23 10:29
    QJo:
    One is almost tempted to say to the interviewer: "In such a set of circumstances, I would ask myself: What would Jesus do?"
    That ought to change the subject! On that note:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    A: Because God made them that way.
  • Mastur Plan Software 2011-11-23 10:32
    boog:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    I prefer my manholes uncovered.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 10:33
    Cishuman:
    Eh, just change all light bulbs. The beancounters will complain about the cost, but who cares about that, amiright?


    They won't complain when you compare the cost of developer time to the cost of light bulbs, and when you point out that you can donate the old bulbs to some poor but noble charitable organization and get a tax advantage plus good fodder for the goodwill advertising.

    Picture it! The dark screen, suddenly illuminated, and we see a hand pulling away from a light bulb. Scenes of people doing Important Work, all of them illuminated by light bulbs in subtly prominent positions in shot. Moves into a montage of young and ethnically-diverse staff people helping younger and slightly less ethnically-diverse blind indigent tap dancers to perfect their steps in a brightly-lit dance studio, as the voiceover comes in:
    "SymBoolean is proud to support the efforts of the home for blind indigent tap dancers. SymBoolean... helping everyone to look on the bright side of life!"

    Followed of course by the fast disclaimer mumble:

    "...except when there isn't a bright side because the light bulb doesn't work, but hell, they're blind, what do they need light bulbs for? whaddaya want from us, blood?"

    At least, that's what I'm spending my morning on, 'cause nothing much is going on the day before the holiday weekend.
  • Rootbeer 2011-11-23 10:36
    First, challenge the interviewer to justify the purpose of the box with light bulbs inside it. If it doesn't serve a legitimate business function, then performing any maintenance on it whatsoever is a waste of company time and it should be decommissioned.

    But let's say for argument's sake that it's part of an industrial cookie-making machine. The uncooked rounds of dough travel along a conveyor belt, where they are cooked to a perfect golden brown by a gauntlet of infrared lamps; if one of the lamps has stopped working, then cookies are ruined and the company loses money. This scenario also validates the assumption that these lamps give off a discernible amount of heat.

    Opening the box to determine which lamp has malfunctioned requires the entire line to be shut down, which also costs the company money, explaining the restriction that the box can only be opened and observed once.

    The solution as typically given is only part of the full solution.

    After the errant bulb has been replaced, the next step is to check the maintenance logs and see who is responsible for the switches being installed improperly; each should be labeled, and each should have the same orientation. Find that person and fire them.

    If insufficient logs exist, find the person responsible for the maintenance logs and fire them.

    Finally, fix the actual problems. Re-install the switches correctly, label each one, and wire up an external indicator lamp in series with each infrared lamp, so that in the future when a lamp dies, it will be immediately obvious which one.

    Now you have more time to work on optimizing the machine that figures out which of the 6 million cookies manufactured today is outside of the acceptable weight range.
  • Jeff 2011-11-23 10:41
    Rootbeer:
    if one of the lamps has stopped working, then cookies are ruined and the company loses money.
    An elegant scenario, but FFS if the company depends on the bloody light bulbs, have some redundancy! You ought to be able to hot-swap up to N/2-1 bulbs without shutting down the line!
  • Mr Zip 2011-11-23 10:42
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.


    What if my tree has 1025 leaves? You need to give me a probability distribution of leaf counts in the population of trees to be able to assess whether the most leaves drop on the last day or second to last day.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 10:54
    Rootbeer:


    But let's say for argument's sake that it's part of an industrial cookie-making machine. The uncooked rounds of dough travel along a conveyor belt, where they are cooked to a perfect golden brown by a gauntlet of infrared lamps; if one of the lamps has stopped working, then cookies are ruined and the company loses money. ...
    Opening the box to determine which lamp has malfunctioned requires the entire line to be shut down, which also costs the company money, explaining the restriction that the box can only be opened and observed once.



    If one of the bulbs has gone on strike, then fire any idiot who's running the machine and wasting cookie dough while the machine is not working.
    Then fire the maintenance guy who's apparently sitting on his thumbs instead of fixing the damned busted bulb by opening the box and turning on the switches until he finds the busted one.
    And then re-hire him and fire him again for not having an effective schedule for bulb replacement. These bulbs should be replaced before they hit expected end-of-life, not after they fail.
    Then fire everyone in the place and outsource the thing to Hyderabad and ship the cookies back to the states.

    Nagesh, we have work for you!
  • Nagesh 2011-11-23 11:02
    trtrwtf:
    Rootbeer:


    But let's say for argument's sake that it's part of an industrial cookie-making machine. The uncooked rounds of dough travel along a conveyor belt, where they are cooked to a perfect golden brown by a gauntlet of infrared lamps; if one of the lamps has stopped working, then cookies are ruined and the company loses money. ...
    Opening the box to determine which lamp has malfunctioned requires the entire line to be shut down, which also costs the company money, explaining the restriction that the box can only be opened and observed once.



    If one of the bulbs has gone on strike, then fire any idiot who's running the machine and wasting cookie dough while the machine is not working.
    Then fire the maintenance guy who's apparently sitting on his thumbs instead of fixing the damned busted bulb by opening the box and turning on the switches until he finds the busted one.
    And then re-hire him and fire him again for not having an effective schedule for bulb replacement. These bulbs should be replaced before they hit expected end-of-life, not after they fail.
    Then fire everyone in the place and outsource the thing to Hyderabad and ship the cookies back to the states.

    Nagesh, we have work for you!


    Your atitude is very demeening. Sorry!
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 11:09
    Nagesh:
    trtrwtf:
    Rootbeer:


    But let's say for argument's sake that it's part of an industrial cookie-making machine. The uncooked rounds of dough travel along a conveyor belt, where they are cooked to a perfect golden brown by a gauntlet of infrared lamps; if one of the lamps has stopped working, then cookies are ruined and the company loses money. ...
    Opening the box to determine which lamp has malfunctioned requires the entire line to be shut down, which also costs the company money, explaining the restriction that the box can only be opened and observed once.



    If one of the bulbs has gone on strike, then fire any idiot who's running the machine and wasting cookie dough while the machine is not working.
    Then fire the maintenance guy who's apparently sitting on his thumbs instead of fixing the damned busted bulb by opening the box and turning on the switches until he finds the busted one.
    And then re-hire him and fire him again for not having an effective schedule for bulb replacement. These bulbs should be replaced before they hit expected end-of-life, not after they fail.
    Then fire everyone in the place and outsource the thing to Hyderabad and ship the cookies back to the states.

    Nagesh, we have work for you!


    Your atitude is very demeening. Sorry!


    Okay, you're fired.

    Shiva, we have work for you!
  • boog 2011-11-23 11:11
    Mastur Plan Software:
    boog:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    I prefer my manholes uncovered.
    Another discomforting answer - just be sure to wink at the interviewer, for added hilarity.
  • not frits at all 2011-11-23 11:12
    What was his favorite project to work on? "Uhh, they're'll'bout the same."
    Well, I had a "friend" who was afflicted with advanced indecision disorder, and let me assure you that either:
    a) It is no laughing matter
    b) It is funny as hell
    c) I don't remember

    Decide for yourself.
  • Nagesh 2011-11-23 11:21
    boog:
    Mastur Plan Software:
    boog:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    I prefer my manholes uncovered.
    Another discomforting answer - just be sure to wink at the interviewer, for added hilarity.


    Manhole cover is round because the mold to make them is round. If mold to meke them is square, then you can have square or rectangle or any shape you like.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-23 11:25
    A Gould:
    geoffrey:

    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.


    That's an assumption that is only going to get worse, and it begs the question - if you're giving me physical access to the bulbs and the switches, why don't I have access to the wiring?

    It's also a question that assumes that you're willing to play with electricity with no gear. Always wondered why this would be considered a desirable trait, considering how high Worker's Comp premiums can go...


    Why you don't have access to the wiring is irrelevant. You do not get to dictate the conditions under which you can solve a problem.

    This quiz weeds out the bystanders from the go-getters. Case in point.
  • QJo 2011-11-23 11:27
    geoffrey:
    A Gould:
    geoffrey:

    The point of the light bulb puzzle is that it is best to go down the path of least resistance first. Maybe the bulbs do not put out heat, but given that most do, it is an option with a high probability of success.


    That's an assumption that is only going to get worse, and it begs the question - if you're giving me physical access to the bulbs and the switches, why don't I have access to the wiring?

    It's also a question that assumes that you're willing to play with electricity with no gear. Always wondered why this would be considered a desirable trait, considering how high Worker's Comp premiums can go...


    Why you don't have access to the wiring is irrelevant. You do not get to dictate the conditions under which you can solve a problem.

    This quiz weeds out the bystanders from the go-getters. Case in point.


    "Do you want me to fix the stupid light-bulb? Then get out of my way and let me get on with the damn job!"
  • Behold My Final Form! Zunesis! 2011-11-23 11:30
    Mastur Plan Software:
    I would grab as many socks as possible.

    Also, I may be suffering from "puppeteer's bias".
    I like tube socks, too, but it has nothing to do with puppets.

    I also enjoy putting them back in someone's drawer when I'm done - you know, icing on the cake.
  • CodeRage 2011-11-23 11:40
    Actually, the hardest problem is 12 weights, 3 weighings, and you do not know if the odd one is heavier or lighter. I don't know how that fits into the general solution, but there is a solution for this.
  • no laughing matter 2011-11-23 11:45
    not frits at all:
    What was his favorite project to work on? "Uhh, they're'll'bout the same."
    Well, I had a "friend" who was afflicted with advanced indecision disorder, and let me assure you that either:
    a) It is no laughing matter
    b) It is funny as hell
    c) I don't remember

    Decide for yourself.

    Well for sure i know a) falls out of the scope, but i cannot really decide between b) and c) because:
    a) i cannot remember if i have already decided
    b) would be funny, but i am no laughing matter, so this would be a contradiction.
  • Cantabrigian 2011-11-23 11:49
    Mr Zip:
    Herby:
    Puzzles...
    One time when I was in an airport lounge, I noticed a math teacher giving quizzes to his group of students. Being the helpful type, I answered them before he could get the whole puzzle out. It felt real good for me (a bystander) and you could see the math teacher fuming that I knew the answers.
    The two puzzles were:
    You have a bunch of socks in a drawer, (usually 10 black, and 10 brown), how many socks does it take to get a proper pair to wear. Answer: 3.
    A tree is dropping leaves as the season progresses. Each day it drops twice as many as the day before. Assuming that it always drops the maximum numbe, on which day do most of the leaves drop. Answer: last day.

    I was smiling as I went to the plane.


    What if my tree has 1025 leaves? You need to give me a probability distribution of leaf counts in the population of trees to be able to assess whether the most leaves drop on the last day or second to last day.


    The puzzle says "Each day it drops twice as many as the day before", so the number of leaves on the tree must be of the form k(2^n - 1). (Strictly speaking there is no solution: the first day that any leaves fall fails to satisfy the condition.)
  • CodeRage 2011-11-23 11:50
    Puzzles:
    Whenever I see someone bring up that lightbulb puzzle, I feel compelled to point out that the puzzle itself is fundamentally broken.

    The normal assumption in a puzzle is that all the components are ideal, because the story is really just window-dressing on an ABSTRACT puzzle. If something is in an opaque box, you can't peek through a crack. If something has an on/off switch, you can't hold it in some middle position that makes intermittent contact. If you don't make those kinds of assumptions, these puzzles generally have a huge number of possible solutions, most of which are uninteresting and rely on circumstances not specified in the problem statement.

    The accepted solution of the lightbulb puzzle is to check the temperature of the bulbs. But that relies on an arbitrary non-ideal assumption (non-negligible waste heat) that isn't stated in the problem, so that's no more legitimate an answer than "I peek through a crack in the box" or "I trace the wires to see what's connected to what". It's arguably not even a REASONABLE assumption these days--what if the lights are LEDs?

    Lateral thinking puzzles don't generally belong in interviews, but that particular puzzle doesn't even belong in a game of puzzles. If you got the "correct" answer without being told, that actually means you're WORSE at these puzzles than many of the people who didn't get it, because under the normal implicit rules, it doesn't have a solution.

    clcto:
    5 weights in 3 weighings? That doesn't require any level of brain power. Isn't the question 8 in 2 weighings?

    I imagine that puzzle has many permutations depending on the exact nature of the measurement tool you use and whether you are told in advance that the different weight is lighter or heavier or only that it is "different".

    8 is likely a popular number because it is a power of 2, and therefore adds an extra red herring to the puzzle.


    The puzzle is not broken. The idea is to solve the problem without adding additional elements. From your examples, "I peek through a crack in the box" adds an element, a crack in the box. "I trace the wires" adds an element, some object that lets you trace the wires.

    The puzzle (this particular version) has these elements: you, a box, a switch, light bulbs

    Using only those elements, find the solution. Of course you have to make some RIDICULOUS assumptions, such as that you, a human, can detect heat. Or, that a light bulb holds its heat, and dissipates its heat in a reasonable amount of time. You know, like almost every light bulb ever made! But even with these RIDICULOUS assumptions, the correct solution is the most elegant, creative, and requires no additional elements added to the puzzle. Second, it's not just the solution that matters, but the process you go through to rule out those "extra elements", and to discover those "reasonable assumptions", that really leads to the "correct" solution. That is what the puzzle is about.

    Sorry you don't like the puzzle.
  • pjt33 2011-11-23 12:02
    trtrwtf:
    And then re-hire him and fire him again for not having an effective schedule for bulb replacement. These bulbs should be replaced before they hit expected end-of-life, not after they fail.

    You missed the step where you verify that the bulbs didn't fail before the expected end-of-life.
  • no laughing matter 2011-11-23 12:07
    Cantabrigian:

    The puzzle says "Each day it drops twice as many as the day before", so the number of leaves on the tree must be of the form k(2^n - 1). (Strictly speaking there is no solution: the first day that any leaves fall fails to satisfy the condition.)

    Strictly speaking there is a solution:

    2*0 = 0

    so we are talking about a conifer here!
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 12:10
    pjt33:
    trtrwtf:
    And then re-hire him and fire him again for not having an effective schedule for bulb replacement. These bulbs should be replaced before they hit expected end-of-life, not after they fail.

    You missed the step where you verify that the bulbs didn't fail before the expected end-of-life.


    I don't care about that. I'm not firing him for bulbs failing, I'm firing him for not having a bulb replacement schedule. If he had a bulb replacement schedule, I'll fire him for something else. I don't like that guy. I don't like the cut of his jib, if you know what I mean.
  • Behold My Final Form! Zunesis! 2011-11-23 12:21
    trtrwtf:
    I don't care about that. I'm not firing him for bulbs failing, I'm firing him for not having a bulb replacement schedule. If he had a bulb replacement schedule, I'll fire him for something else. I don't like that guy. I don't like the cut of his jib, if you know what I mean.
    He's a flaming queer? This that what you mean?

    Or are you queer and would have preferred him un-cut?

    Now we see the true purpose of "rules": a means of establishing arbitrary authority to get rid of people you don't like.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 12:24
    Behold My Final Form! Zunesis!:

    Now we see the true purpose of "rules": a means of establishing arbitrary authority to get rid of people you don't like.


    Yep. That's what we need around here - we need some rules.
  • The Bytemaster 2011-11-23 12:25
    Jellineck:
    Lucent:
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!


    I'm not sure he is black. He said "jarva", not purkles.
    I find the racisim comments funny. I was picturing a white guy in more of a cowboy hat... almost "southern gentleman" style.
  • boog 2011-11-23 12:31
    Nagesh:
    boog:
    Mastur Plan Software:
    boog:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    I prefer my manholes uncovered.
    Another discomforting answer - just be sure to wink at the interviewer, for added hilarity.

    Manhole cover is round because the mold to make them is round. If mold to meke them is square, then you can have square or rectangle or any shape you like.
    +1 for a simple, straightforward answer that defeats the purpose of the question. Well done!

    It'd have been +2, but I had to deduct a point for spelling "make" both correctly and incorrectly in the same comment.
  • Calli Arcale 2011-11-23 12:32
    chic:
    mjk340:
    TRWTF is an ORA-1555 error

    TRWTF is asking about an error number in an interview.


    Normally I'd agree, but in this case he had a very specific reason for doing so -- he already suspected the interviewee was simply regurgitating his own responses to the outsourcing company, and used this specific question because it was one of the examples he'd given them. He wasn't testing the interviewee's knowledge; he was testing whether the interviewee (and the outsourcing company) was cheating. It worked, so I don't see any WTF in this case.
  • frits 2011-11-23 12:55
    boog:
    QJo:
    One is almost tempted to say to the interviewer: "In such a set of circumstances, I would ask myself: What would Jesus do?"
    That ought to change the subject! On that note:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    A: Because God made them that way.

    Hemorrhoids are sorta round, I guess...

    Seriously, I always assumed that made them more user-friendly because they don't need to be rotated during placing.
  • stupid puzzler 2011-11-23 12:59
    I generally hate those puzzles because they only accept a thinking process which is revealed by the answer held by the questioner.

    1) If we can make the assumption that we can detect the heat of a lightbulb in close proximity to others in a closed box then we may as well assume that we can use our x-ray vision or place our cellphone in there and take a video, roll in an MRI machine, etc.

    2) I do have black socks and brown socks. Some black ones have ridges, some do not. Some brown socks have stripes, some do not. Some socks are short, some are tall. Some socks have padding around the heel, some do not. You cannot randomly make a pair.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 13:08
    stupid puzzler:
    I generally hate those puzzles because they only accept a thinking process which is revealed by the answer held by the questioner.

    1) If we can make the assumption that we can detect the heat of a lightbulb in close proximity to others in a closed box then we may as well assume that we can use our x-ray vision or place our cellphone in there and take a video, roll in an MRI machine, etc.

    2) I do have black socks and brown socks. Some black ones have ridges, some do not. Some brown socks have stripes, some do not. Some socks are short, some are tall. Some socks have padding around the heel, some do not. You cannot randomly make a pair.


    The puzzle also assumes that you care about matching socks. Any two socks are a pair.
  • Lucent 2011-11-23 13:18
    The Bytemaster:
    Jellineck:
    Lucent:
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!
    I'm not sure he is black. He said "jarva", not purkles.
    I find the racisim comments funny. I was picturing a white guy in more of a cowboy hat... almost "southern gentleman" style.
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 13:29
    Lucent:
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!


    Now where do you get the idea that a southern accent indicates a lack of education? Might this indicate some bias on your part?
  • Raul 2011-11-23 13:32
    Lucent:
    Racism is tearing this country apart!
    But I remember there was this guy elected who sold us Hope that all such badness would end if we just put a partially black guy in the "White" house.

    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.
  • SuperousOxide 2011-11-23 13:38
    For the brainteaser, it probably would have been polite to mention that you'd heard that one before.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-23 13:38
    frits:
    boog:
    QJo:
    One is almost tempted to say to the interviewer: "In such a set of circumstances, I would ask myself: What would Jesus do?"
    That ought to change the subject! On that note:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    A: Because God made them that way.

    Hemorrhoids are sorta round, I guess...

    Seriously, I always assumed that made them more user-friendly because they don't need to be rotated during placing.


    Actually it's so the cover doesn't fall into the hole on top of the worker. A non-circular cover can be angled to fit into the hole it is intended to cover.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 14:06
    Raul:
    Lucent:
    Racism is tearing this country apart!
    But I remember there was this guy elected who sold us Hope that all such badness would end if we just put a partially black guy in the "White" house.


    Yep. That's why I voted for Obama - because he said that him being black would solve all our problems.


    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.


    Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?
  • Raul 2011-11-23 14:15
    trtrwtf:
    Raul:
    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.
    Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?
    Wow! You almost won me over by your thorough analysis, but then you called me an idiot, so F.U.

    And, by the way, when someone sticks a gun in my ribs and politely asks for my wallet, I'm not interested in negotiating a compromise. If I am pretty sure I can kill him in self defense, I would proudly do so, otherwise, I'll surrender and hope he generously spares my life. But either way, there is a winner and a loser. Some things you just don't compromise.
  • Nagesh 2011-11-23 14:19
    Why is my coment deleted?
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-23 14:24
    trtrwtf:
    Raul:

    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.


    Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?
    Actually, you're both right. Raul has given a root cause. The thing you mention will be what's officially blamed.
  • Lucent 2011-11-23 14:28
    [quote user="trtrwtf"][quote user="Raul"][quote user="Lucent"]Racism is tearing this country apart![/quote]But I remember there was this guy elected who sold us Hope that all such badness would end if we just put a partially black guy in the "White" house.
    [/quote]Yep. That's why I voted for Obama - because he said that him being black would solve all our problems.[/quote]Sure it had nothing to do with making an ultimately meaningless symbolic gesture that race relations in America were finally resolved? Or were you additionally gullible by believing the lines about "transparency". Or his lines about opposing free trade, which he then told others that same night was just "campaign rhetoric". Sure it has nothing to do with believing a bunch of bold-faced lies and cheap slogans because they just sounded oh-so-good?

    [quote]
    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.[/quote]Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?[/quote]Oh, yeah, recognizing that the current way of doing things is necessarily unworkable in the long term means one must have a particular attitude and support particular politicians. This is no middle ground, or compromise in this dichotomy, he's either on your perfectly reasonable side or with those guys, and embodies a caricature you read about in your favorite blogs on a daily basis.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 14:29
    Raul:
    trtrwtf:
    Raul:
    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.
    Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?
    Wow! You almost won me over by your thorough analysis, but then you called me an idiot, so F.U.



    I didn't call you an idiot. I asked if you thought the retreat to idiot radicalism - that is, unresponsive and reflexive radicalism for its own sake or for the sake of increasing the personal power of a few elites - might not have something to do with the decline in American politics. That is, does it contribute to "tearing America apart" when people retreat to their corners and refuse to participate in solving problems?

    You might be an idiot after all, I suppose, but so far I'm still trying to determine whether you're interested in having a conversation or just shouting anarchist slogans.



    And, by the way, when someone sticks a gun in my ribs and politely asks for my wallet, I'm not interested in negotiating a compromise. If I am pretty sure I can kill him in self defense, I would proudly do so, otherwise, I'll surrender and hope he generously spares my life. But either way, there is a winner and a loser. Some things you just don't compromise.


    Whoa, talk about persuasive logic. Since I don't think anyone's stuck a gun in your ribs and ask for your wallet lately, I think this is what's called "hyperbole".
    But if your best argument is to compare the legally elected government of this country to an armed bandit, I can only assume that you want to eliminate that government.
    So, you're an anarchist, that's fine. Let's hear an actual argument for repealing the US government, if that's what you favor. If it's not, then shut up with the bullshit and say what you actually mean, or just shut up entirely.

    Fair?
  • Lucent 2011-11-23 14:29
    Bon of a Sitch

    Lucent:
    trtrwtf:
    Raul:
    Lucent:
    Racism is tearing this country apart!
    But I remember there was this guy elected who sold us Hope that all such badness would end if we just put a partially black guy in the "White" house.
    Yep. That's why I voted for Obama - because he said that him being black would solve all our problems.
    Sure it had nothing to do with making an ultimately meaningless symbolic gesture that race relations in America were finally resolved? Or were you additionally gullible by believing the lines about "transparency". Or his lines about opposing free trade, which he then told others that same night was just "campaign rhetoric". Sure it has nothing to do with believing a bunch of bold-faced lies and cheap slogans because they just sounded oh-so-good?


    Actually I think what is tearing the country apart is a decades-long habit of spending way more than we can afford and just assuming we can pull unlimited amounts of cash out of rich people's pockets and they will never run out and will be happy as clams to cooperate instead of taking their money (and economic activity) elsewhere.
    Most interesting. Nothing to do with a retreat to idiot radicalism by partisan ideologues uninterested in negotiating a solution to serious problems, then?
    Oh, yeah, recognizing that the current way of doing things is necessarily unworkable in the long term means one must have a particular attitude and support particular politicians. This is no middle ground, or compromise in this dichotomy, he's either on your perfectly reasonable side or with those guys, and embodies a caricature you read about in your favorite blogs on a daily basis.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 14:29
    Nagesh:
    Why is my coment deleted?


    Question is, why aren't all of them deleted?

  • Lucent 2011-11-23 14:34
    trtrwtf:
    I didn't call you an idiot. I asked if you thought the retreat to idiot radicalism - that is, unresponsive and reflexive radicalism for its own sake or for the sake of increasing the personal power of a few elites - might not have something to do with the decline in American politics.
    By "a few elites" - do you mean the bureaucrats who oversee the government programs with reactionaries are talking about repealing or the CEOs who run the evil corporations?

    trtrwtf:
    That is, does it contribute to "tearing America apart" when people retreat to their corners and refuse to participate in solving problems?
    It's clear you don't understand the opposing mentality when you make a statement like this. In their minds, the problem is the involvement of certain... undesirables. Like good fascists (and like you from other comments), they want the opportunity to exclude these undesirables, the idea being that THEY are the problem.
  • Godwin 2011-11-23 14:37
    Isn't it about time for one of you guys to mention Hitler?
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 14:40
    Lucent:
    Sure it had nothing to do with making an ultimately meaningless symbolic gesture that race relations in America were finally resolved? Or were you additionally gullible by believing the lines about "transparency". Or his lines about opposing free trade, which he then told others that same night was just "campaign rhetoric". Sure it has nothing to do with believing a bunch of bold-faced lies and cheap slogans because they just sounded oh-so-good?


    Actually, given his competition, you'd have had to show me video of Obama ritually disembowelling a boy scout with a spork to put me off voting for him.

    Really - a decrepit senator most known for his blatant and unrepentant corruption, and a drooling moron who couldn't even read a teleprompter? That's the best they could come up with? No, I don't think I was going to give them a chance at running things.



    Oh, yeah, recognizing that the current way of doing things is necessarily unworkable in the long term means one must have a particular attitude and support particular politicians. This is no middle ground, or compromise in this dichotomy, he's either on your perfectly reasonable side or with those guys, and embodies a caricature you read about in your favorite blogs on a daily basis.


    Actually, I was in fact referring to the flight from the center by both Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there) and the usual gang of "progressives" lately squatting in various cities in this country. Surely you don't think there's any use in clinging to either of those posts? Doesn't it seem to you that these are what "tears America apart"?
    If you think that civil society is the problem, I'm waiting to hear someone make that case, but parodies involving barbarians ransacking your house just aren't moving me.
  • PedanticCurmudgeon 2011-11-23 14:43
    Godwin:
    Isn't it about time for one of you guys to mention Hitler?
    Not yet. Give them a few more minutes.
  • trtrwtf 2011-11-23 14:45
    Lucent:
    trtrwtf:
    I didn't call you an idiot. I asked if you thought the retreat to idiot radicalism - that is, unresponsive and reflexive radicalism for its own sake or for the sake of increasing the personal power of a few elites - might not have something to do with the decline in American politics.
    By "a few elites" - do you mean the bureaucrats who oversee the government programs with reactionaries are talking about repealing or the CEOs who run the evil corporations?

    trtrwtf:
    That is, does it contribute to "tearing America apart" when people retreat to their corners and refuse to participate in solving problems?

    It's clear you don't understand the opposing mentality when you make a statement like this. In their minds, the problem is the involvement of certain... undesirables. Like good fascists (and like you from other comments), they want the opportunity to exclude these undesirables, the idea being that THEY are the problem.



    And there you have it. Godwin's right - everyone's Hitler, and it's time to go home anyway. Have a good Thanksgiving. Give me a yell if you ever decide you want to have an actual conversation.
  • Lucent 2011-11-23 14:50
    trtrwtf:
    Really - a decrepit senator most known for his blatant and unrepentant corruption, and a drooling moron who couldn't even read a teleprompter? That's the best they could come up with? No, I don't think I was going to give them a chance at running things.
    So you'd prefer someone who has no idea what to do - he even said he doesn't understand economics - and ended up spending most of his time posturing for re-election?

    Fair enough if you think there were no good choices, but what does that lead us to? Picking the least of available evils, i.e. marginalizing government? A teabagger at heart!

    One last thing - by the time the protests were happening, wasn't America already being torn apart? The demonstrations are symptoms, not causes.
  • Lucent 2011-11-23 14:55
    trtrwtf:
    Lucent:
    trtrwtf:
    I didn't call you an idiot. I asked if you thought the retreat to idiot radicalism - that is, unresponsive and reflexive radicalism for its own sake or for the sake of increasing the personal power of a few elites - might not have something to do with the decline in American politics.
    By "a few elites" - do you mean the bureaucrats who oversee the government programs with reactionaries are talking about repealing or the CEOs who run the evil corporations?

    trtrwtf:
    That is, does it contribute to "tearing America apart" when people retreat to their corners and refuse to participate in solving problems?

    It's clear you don't understand the opposing mentality when you make a statement like this. In their minds, the problem is the involvement of certain... undesirables. Like good fascists (and like you from other comments), they want the opportunity to exclude these undesirables, the idea being that THEY are the problem.
    And there you have it. Godwin's right - everyone's Hitler, and it's time to go home anyway. Have a good Thanksgiving. Give me a yell if you ever decide you want to have an actual conversation.
    I think you misunderstood me, but will probably never see this anyway. Too bad, you might have learned something.
  • Jerry 2011-11-23 14:56
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?
  • frits 2011-11-23 14:58
    You guys realize "trtrwtf" is European, right?
  • Kivi 2011-11-23 15:14
    geoffrey:
    A non-circular cover can be angled to fit into the hole it is intended to cover.


    Not all non-circular covers. Any curve of constant width (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curve_of_constant_width) has this property.
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-23 15:34
    trtrwtf:
    Lucent:
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!


    Now where do you get the idea that a southern accent indicates a lack of education? Might this indicate some bias on your part?


    It's the American (United States) accent which indicates a lack of education. We established that ages ago. I mean, the dumb fuckers haven't even learned to spell correctly.
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-23 15:40
    Lucent:
    trtrwtf:
    Really - a decrepit senator most known for his blatant and unrepentant corruption, and a drooling moron who couldn't even read a teleprompter? That's the best they could come up with? No, I don't think I was going to give them a chance at running things.
    So you'd prefer someone who has no idea what to do - he even said he doesn't understand economics - and ended up spending most of his time posturing for re-election?

    Fair enough if you think there were no good choices, but what does that lead us to? Picking the least of available evils, i.e. marginalizing government? A teabagger at heart!

    One last thing - by the time the protests were happening, wasn't America already being torn apart? The demonstrations are symptoms, not causes.


    What I don't understand is why the US government doesn't take a well-established leaf out of Syria's book and tackle those nasty smelly untidy protesters once and for all. Come on, Obama! Use your much-vaunted army for something useful for once! It's not murder, it's extermination of vermin!
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-23 15:42
    Jerry:
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?


    Taxes *do* need to be higher. Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? But no - higher taxes won't get you elected to power because eveyrbody is too fucking selfish to think any further than their own fucking fat bastard cunt selves. Fuck off and die the fucking lot of you.
  • Aaaaaaaaa 2011-11-23 15:51
    One hopes you're not in charge of your family's budget. I can see it:

    "Well, sure, our expenses exceed our income. No, there's not a single thing we can cut back on - those $100 haircuts, those $10000 vacations, the filet mignon for dinner every night - every one of those is absolutely vital. So I guess let's plan to rob a couple of banks every day to make up the difference."
  • Jerry 2011-11-23 15:53
    Matt Westwood:
    Jerry:
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?


    Taxes *do* need to be higher. Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? But no - higher taxes won't get you elected to power because eveyrbody is too fucking selfish to think any further than their own fucking fat bastard cunt selves. Fuck off and die the fucking lot of you.
    Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? Where did it come from back when taxes were lower -- much lower? Hint: We didn't throw bucketloads of money at every whining victim, in a complicated shell game that ensures politicians and their friends can skim off a healthy percentage.

    BTW it would take every cent earned by the over one million a year crowd to pay off one year's USA debt -- in fourteen years. So who are you going to drain when you run out of rich people?
  • stir mr pot 2011-11-23 15:59
    geoffrey:
    frits:
    boog:
    QJo:
    One is almost tempted to say to the interviewer: "In such a set of circumstances, I would ask myself: What would Jesus do?"
    That ought to change the subject! On that note:

    Q: Why are manhole covers round?
    A: Because God made them that way.

    Hemorrhoids are sorta round, I guess...

    Seriously, I always assumed that made them more user-friendly because they don't need to be rotated during placing.


    Actually it's so the cover doesn't fall into the hole on top of the worker. A non-circular cover can be angled to fit into the hole it is intended to cover.
    because I'm not American and don't care how badly the US is or isn't doing, I'll field this one....

    I'm sure I've seen some shapes (even discussed here, believe it or not, last time we had a "are puzzles stupid interview questions" fight) that also could not fall in. The most common being a triangular thingummy with rounded sides, but I believe there's a whole host of such shapes. Some geek will no doubt point out what they're called...
  • Jimmy 2011-11-23 16:01
    Matt Westwood:
    trtrwtf:
    Lucent:
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!


    Now where do you get the idea that a southern accent indicates a lack of education? Might this indicate some bias on your part?


    It's the American (United States) accent which indicates a lack of education. We established that ages ago. I mean, the dumb fuckers haven't even learned to spell correctly.
    Once in a while (not very often), I agree with Master Westwood. This is one of those occasions.
  • Jimmy 2011-11-23 16:04
    Matt Westwood:
    Jerry:
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?


    Taxes *do* need to be higher. Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? But no - higher taxes won't get you elected to power because eveyrbody is too fucking selfish to think any further than their own fucking fat bastard cunt selves. Fuck off and die the fucking lot of you.

    Prosecutor: Something must be done! War would mean a prohibitive increase in our taxes.
    Chicolini (Chico Marx): Hey, I got an uncle lives in Taxes.
    Prosecutor: No, I’m talking about taxes - money, dollars!
    Chicolini: Dollars! There’s-a where my uncle lives! Dollars, Taxes!

    We've done the same here. We started off in Texas, and somehow branched into one stream about racism in Texas, and one about Taxes....
  • Win Wan Soon 2011-11-23 16:05
    Jerry:
    Matt Westwood:
    Jerry:
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?


    Taxes *do* need to be higher. Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? But no - higher taxes won't get you elected to power because eveyrbody is too fucking selfish to think any further than their own fucking fat bastard cunt selves. Fuck off and die the fucking lot of you.
    Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? Where did it come from back when taxes were lower -- much lower? Hint: We didn't throw bucketloads of money at every whining victim, in a complicated shell game that ensures politicians and their friends can skim off a healthy percentage.

    BTW it would take every cent earned by the over one million a year crowd to pay off one year's USA debt -- in fourteen years. So who are you going to drain when you run out of rich people?
    China will own your asses long before that....
  • pjt33 2011-11-23 16:10
    trtrwtf:
    Actually, I was in fact referring to the flight from the center by both Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there) and the usual gang of "progressives" lately squatting in various cities in this country.

    Thank you. I don't know whether you're serious or trolling, but either way the idea that there's a centre between the two US parties from which to flee is the best joke I've heard today.

    Lucent:
    So you'd prefer someone who has no idea what to do - he even said he doesn't understand economics - and ended up spending most of his time posturing for re-election?

    I think Mexico's constitutional limitation of presidents to one term of office is a great idea. Someone who doesn't have the possibility of being re-elected can afford to take some unpopular decisions.

    stir mr pot:
    I'm sure I've seen some shapes (even discussed here, believe it or not, last time we had a "are puzzles stupid interview questions" fight) that also could not fall in. The most common being a triangular thingummy with rounded sides, but I believe there's a whole host of such shapes. Some geek will no doubt point out what they're called...

    20p and 50p pieces.
  • DK 2011-11-23 16:58
    > The one time that happened to me the company had already taken care of that prior to the interview stage. IIRC within a year of that their gross value went from 14 million to 3.5 million.

    You call THAT a sea story? The one time that happened to me, within 4 years the company market cap went from $24Billion to zero (hint: it was the first major bankruptcy of 2008).
  • Peter 2011-11-23 17:00
    CrisW:
    Light bulbs don't give out any detectable heat any more. (well, not so that you could detect it by touch anyway.)
    Oh yes they do! I've just checked the low-energy light bulb over my desk. Admittedly, it wasn't hot enough to burn my hand (like an incandescent bulb would have been), but it was too hot to hold comfortably for more than a few seconds.
  • Franz Kafka 2011-11-23 17:40
    trtrwtf:

    Actually, I was in fact referring to the flight from the center by both Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there) and the usual gang of "progressives" lately squatting in various cities in this country. Surely you don't think there's any use in clinging to either of those posts? Doesn't it seem to you that these are what "tears America apart"?
    If you think that civil society is the problem, I'm waiting to hear someone make that case, but parodies involving barbarians ransacking your house just aren't moving me.


    let's see, the Occupy whatever crowd wants:
    * glass steagal back
    * no corporate influence in elections
    * reduced corruption
    * and an economy where they can get jobs

    yep, just as nuts as the teabaggers.
  • Franz Kafka 2011-11-23 17:43
    Jerry:
    Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? Where did it come from back when taxes were lower -- much lower? Hint: We didn't throw bucketloads of money at every whining victim, in a complicated shell game that ensures politicians and their friends can skim off a healthy percentage.

    BTW it would take every cent earned by the over one million a year crowd to pay off one year's USA debt -- in fourteen years. So who are you going to drain when you run out of rich people?


    Taxes are historically low - they haven't been this low since before ww2. During our period of prosperity, they were quite a bit higher, but corporations actually paid some of them.
  • Franz Kafka 2011-11-23 18:53
    Raul:
    But I remember there was this guy elected who sold us Hope that all such badness would end if we just put a partially black guy in the "White" house.


    And Rush called his wife 'uppity' yesterday. Go on, tell me this is Obama's fault.
  • Franz Kafka 2011-11-23 18:53
    Lucent:


    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!


    White trash is somehow dignified?
  • Cesar Leharaday 2011-11-23 19:40
    Lucent:
    The Bytemaster:
    Jellineck:
    Lucent:
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!
    I'm not sure he is black. He said "jarva", not purkles.
    I find the racisim comments funny. I was picturing a white guy in more of a cowboy hat... almost "southern gentleman" style.
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!
    Why do I think you are the fox getting her knickers in a twisat over nothing again....
  • NPSF3000 2011-11-23 21:25
    geoffrey:
    NPSF3000:
    geoffrey:


    You are looking at the puzzle from only one perspective. Try instead to look at the value to a leader who values efficiency and common sense in his team.


    How about the perspective of hiring a programmer who is more than happy to use undocumented and unreliable side-effects of systems?

    Though it's a good question for a hacker :P


    Or from the perspective of hiring someone who just gets things done. I don't care how it's done; I just want results.

    Standing in front of a whiteboard all day does not lead to results.


    I bet you use:

    for (int i =0; i<100000; i++);

    To implement:

    Sleep(1000);

    And then wonder why your game speed varies machine to machine, compiler to compiler, etc...

    Good coding shouldn't break the second one of the unspecified effects change - e.g. the lights turn out to be efficient LED.
  • Rnd( 2011-11-23 22:44
    The lightbulbs...

    How much time do I have? I could burn one for let's say 1M hours, or other long time so it breaks. Other solution is to cycle it 100k-1M times. Then I just leave one on. Go in find the one which isn't broken remove it replace with other one. And find out which one works. Simple.
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-24 02:29
    Jerry:
    Matt Westwood:
    Jerry:
    trtrwtf:
    Tea Party morons (and you have to admit, there isn't an idea worth having there)
    Hint to those new to politics: insulting people doesn't bring them over to your side.

    Now, the "TEA" acronym stands for Taxed Enough Already. If you think that idea isn't worth having, you must think we aren't taxed enough yet. Taxes need to be higher, according to you.

    Never mind that they're already much higher than they were, say, at most any time in the past. It seemed that things were working fairly well then. Why can't we reinstate tax and spend rates that have proven successful? Why is the very proposal so ridiculous that you consider it not worth having?


    Taxes *do* need to be higher. Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? But no - higher taxes won't get you elected to power because eveyrbody is too fucking selfish to think any further than their own fucking fat bastard cunt selves. Fuck off and die the fucking lot of you.
    Where else does the money come from to run the whole shebang? Where did it come from back when taxes were lower -- much lower? Hint: We didn't throw bucketloads of money at every whining victim, in a complicated shell game that ensures politicians and their friends can skim off a healthy percentage.

    BTW it would take every cent earned by the over one million a year crowd to pay off one year's USA debt -- in fourteen years. So who are you going to drain when you run out of rich people?


    So you shouldn't have spent what you didn't have when you didn't have it. Your fucking debt, you fucking pay it.
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-24 02:32
    Aaaaaaaaa:
    One hopes you're not in charge of your family's budget. I can see it:

    "Well, sure, our expenses exceed our income. No, there's not a single thing we can cut back on - those $100 haircuts, those $10000 vacations, the filet mignon for dinner every night - every one of those is absolutely vital. So I guess let's plan to rob a couple of banks every day to make up the difference."


    I see your quote is technically in reply to me. I cut my own hair, it's a low-maintenance number-three. As for a vacation, haven't had one for over ten years. And I have steak perhaps once a week.
  • Matt Westwood 2011-11-24 02:36
    Cesar Leharaday:
    Lucent:
    The Bytemaster:
    Jellineck:
    Lucent:
    VeryBestDeveloperNumber1:
    Mmm, racism:
    LOL, it's funny because he has an accent!
    Racism, huh? I don't think I saw any mention of the interviewee's race. But yes, it's funny because he has an accent.
    No it's definitely racist because that's the way black people talk!
    I'm not sure he is black. He said "jarva", not purkles.
    I find the racisim comments funny. I was picturing a white guy in more of a cowboy hat... almost "southern gentleman" style.
    Oh, so if it's a white person with a manner of speaking that indicates a lack of education, it's because he's a "southern gentleman", whereas if he was black and uneducated it's because he's some ignorant ghetto-dwelling gangbanger! (Who will probably steal your wallet!)

    Notice how much more dignified fictional poor whites are than poor blacks. Racism is tearing this country apart!
    Why do I think you are the fox getting her knickers in a twisat over nothing again....


    Funny, I was just about to say: Where's lucidfox to lighten the atmosphere again when you need hi/r?
  • the real wtf fool 2011-11-24 03:55
    The interviewers viewpoint from 'the Wrong Major':

    "As I usually do to break the ice and try to get the candidate to relax, I started with a bit of small talk about his hobbies and school. This was going OK, but he kept telling over-long stories and didn't seem able to read my disinterest so I decided to try and change track and see how he approached problem solving with one of my stock brain teasers. He went through the motions but had clearly heard it before, so I commented "You must have heard that one before?" The response was a surly silence.

    We moved on, discussed his technical abilities, but then he went back to his long-winded monologues: this time about the minutiae of Oracle. I scrabbled in my head for another brainteaser that could move this interview onwards, eventually coming up with the old lightbulbs in a box one. Again he'd clearly seen it before though he pretended to go through the steps of working it out. I looked at him quizically but he had the chutzpah to pretend he didn't know what I meant.

    I went back to his resume to remind myself what his Major was in, and asked him what his studies in Systems Integration were like. He outlined the course work, which covered areas closer to Systems Design when used in industry. When I pointed that out to him and asked him to tell me about the Systems Integration work they had done he got very defensive, and started lecturing me all about the course contents - as if I havn't been working in real world Systems Design & Integration for the last 15 years. When I again pointed out his error he got very sulky and quiet, so I wound the interview up as quickly as possible: there's no point in having argumentative engineers who can never accept there's two sides to every discussion on your team!"
  • Jammin' 2011-11-24 04:51
    For the light bulbs: if they're incandescents, couldn't you just look at them to see which one is broken? You don't even need to touch the light switches; just take each one out of it's socket and shake it a little. The one that is broken will make a swishing noise as the broken tungsten wire piece moves about.
  • geoffrey 2011-11-24 10:11
    NPSF3000:
    geoffrey:
    NPSF3000:
    geoffrey:


    You are looking at the puzzle from only one perspective. Try instead to look at the value to a leader who values efficiency and common sense in his team.


    How about the perspective of hiring a programmer who is more than happy to use undocumented and unreliable side-effects of systems?

    Though it's a good question for a hacker :P


    Or from the perspective of hiring someone who just gets things done. I don't care how it's done; I just want results.

    Standing in front of a whiteboard all day does not lead to results.


    I don't work on games. That is frivolous use of time. My team creates enterprise solutions; it's far too high-level to waste time worrying about what compilers are doing.

    I bet you use:

    for (int i =0; i<100000; i++);

    To implement:

    Sleep(1000);

    And then wonder why your game speed varies machine to machine, compiler to compiler, etc...

    Good coding shouldn't break the second one of the unspecified effects change - e.g. the lights turn out to be efficient LED.
  • stupid puzzler 2011-11-24 12:27
    The socks

    In a software context: just take them all, ram is cheap and the unwanted ones will be garbage collected once a pair is chosen. And hurry up, we have to get this code out the door.
  • ceiswyn 2011-11-24 13:22
    CodeRage:
    The puzzle (this particular version) has these elements: you, a box, a switch, light bulbs

    Using only those elements, find the solution. Of course you have to make some RIDICULOUS assumptions, such as that you, a human, can detect heat. Or, that a light bulb holds its heat, and dissipates its heat in a reasonable amount of time. You know, like almost every light bulb ever made!


    But that IS adding in another element: the real-world knowledge that most light bulbs emit heat. And that's an unwarranted assumption, given that not only are we apparently using highly uncommon objects of other kinds (doors that no light escapes from, and that can only be opened once, are not exactly the most common type) but any other attempts to use real-world knowledge are specifically disallowed by the question-asker.

    Allowing ONE single piece of real-world knowledge and NO OTHERS (hey, if it's that kind of bulb, I'll just have a look at it and see if the coil's broken - what do you mean I can't?) makes this a trick, not a puzzle.

    And using trick questions in an interview is the mark of a very bad interviewer.
  • CodeRage 2011-11-24 13:37
    ceiswyn:
    CodeRage:
    The puzzle (this particular version) has these elements: you, a box, a switch, light bulbs

    Using only those elements, find the solution. Of course you have to make some RIDICULOUS assumptions, such as that you, a human, can detect heat. Or, that a light bulb holds its heat, and dissipates its heat in a reasonable amount of time. You know, like almost every light bulb ever made!


    But that IS adding in another element: the real-world knowledge that most light bulbs emit heat. And that's an unwarranted assumption, given that not only are we apparently using highly uncommon objects of other kinds (doors that no light escapes from, and that can only be opened once, are not exactly the most common type) but any other attempts to use real-world knowledge are specifically disallowed by the question-asker.

    Allowing ONE single piece of real-world knowledge and NO OTHERS (hey, if it's that kind of bulb, I'll just have a look at it and see if the coil's broken - what do you mean I can't?) makes this a trick, not a puzzle.

    And using trick questions in an interview is the mark of a very bad interviewer.



    First, it is a question to get an idea of how someone solves problems, not to trick them. These kind of thinking problems usually involve a discussion, where the problem solver asks questions to eliminate assumptions. This puzzle really doesn't require many, of course, except for your claim that the problem solver's real-world knowledge is an outside element, you know, along with the assumption they have hands, can detect heat, can flip a switch, has eyes, and understands the language the puzzle was presented in!

    The point is problem solving.

    ...
    Solver: Hey, are there any cracks in the box.
    Asker: Nope.
    Solver: What kind of bulb is it?
    Asker: A standard incandescent bulb.
    ...

    There are many interview questions used in IT interviews that test not only knowledge, but the ability to solve problems.

    I don't think you know what a good interview is. Maybe you have had difficulty with interviewers that want to know your problem solving skills, in addition to your book knowledge, memorization, and work history.
  • muteKi 2011-11-24 15:36
    One thing to point out is that covers aren't just held in place by friction along the sides. There's a ledge/lip along the edge that the cover rests on! If you make that ledge much wider than the hole the workers go through, you can avoid that issue.

    You'll end up needing to use more material than with a round cover, though. It's an easy solution to design, but needlessly inefficient.
  • muteKi 2011-11-24 15:37
    Oh. I see. Your stuff's all enterprisey. Everything makes sense now.
  • Machtyn 2011-11-24 21:24
    I know this is way late. But if Omar wasn't ready to move on, the simple thing to do is apply for his job through the outsource company. Bang, new hire, no training, and hopefully he gets paid better.
  • DoucheBag 2011-11-25 00:49
    CodeRage:
    ceiswyn:
    CodeRage:
    The puzzle (this particular version) has these elements: you, a box, a switch, light bulbs

    Using only those elements, find the solution. Of course you have to make some RIDICULOUS assumptions, such as that you, a human, can detect heat. Or, that a light bulb holds its heat, and dissipates its heat in a reasonable amount of time. You know, like almost every light bulb ever made!


    But that IS adding in another element: the real-world knowledge that most light bulbs emit heat. And that's an unwarranted assumption, given that not only are we apparently using highly uncommon objects of other kinds (doors that no light escapes from, and that can only be opened once, are not exactly the most common type) but any other attempts to use real-world knowledge are specifically disallowed by the question-asker.

    Allowing ONE single piece of real-world knowledge and NO OTHERS (hey, if it's that kind of bulb, I'll just have a look at it and see if the coil's broken - what do you mean I can't?) makes this a trick, not a puzzle.

    And using trick questions in an interview is the mark of a very bad interviewer.



    First, it is a question to get an idea of how someone solves problems, not to trick them. These kind of thinking problems usually involve a discussion, where the problem solver asks questions to eliminate assumptions. This puzzle really doesn't require many, of course, except for your claim that the problem solver's real-world knowledge is an outside element, you know, along with the assumption they have hands, can detect heat, can flip a switch, has eyes, and understands the language the puzzle was presented in!

    The point is problem solving.

    ...
    Solver: Hey, are there any cracks in the box.
    Asker: Nope.
    Solver: What kind of bulb is it?
    Asker: A standard incandescent bulb.
    ...

    There are many interview questions used in IT interviews that test not only knowledge, but the ability to solve problems.

    I don't think you know what a good interview is. Maybe you have had difficulty with interviewers that want to know your problem solving skills, in addition to your book knowledge, memorization, and work history.


    To be honest I'm going to stop trying to be logic and simply use 'real world' knowledge.

    Take the Chicken, Fox & Grain puzzle.

    Why not simply kill the fox or chicken? It's not specified they have to get across the river alive.

    You could tie the fox to the boat by the neck and force it to 'swim or sink'.

    Honestly thought I'd assume the river is seasonal and simply wait for it to dry up. Some rivers do dry up and nothing specified says that this river doesn't - much like assuming that a hypothetical light-bulb should somehow generate heat.

    [On that note, the real solution for the light-bulbs is easy - given I'm free to assume the box/cupboard is transparent to the light.]



  • Bummer 2011-11-25 01:39
    Nagesh:
    Outsoursing company story sound fishie to me.


    Not to me. I habe been in a similar situation when I was working for a bodyshopper where i was told to say that i had worked on XYz project and done such-and such things. The projects were never real.
  • Ronnie Overby 2011-11-25 09:21
    You beat me to it!
  • Nagesh 2011-11-27 09:39
    Bummer:
    Nagesh:
    Outsoursing company story sound fishie to me.


    Not to me. I habe been in a similar situation when I was working for a bodyshopper where i was told to say that i had worked on XYz project and done such-and such things. The projects were never real.


    Plz supply name of bodyshopers in US of A.
  • N.G. Hahs 2011-11-28 04:15
    Nagesh:
    Bummer:
    Nagesh:
    Outsoursing company story sound fishie to me.


    Not to me. I habe been in a similar situation when I was working for a bodyshopper where i was told to say that i had worked on XYz project and done such-and such things. The projects were never real.


    Plz supply name of bodyshopers in US of A.


    America no sell full bodies any longer. It'd be chopped and sourced out. You'd be putting "Head & Shoulders" or similar to internet browser, yes.
  • smxlong 2011-11-28 19:32
    Are you guys seriously telling me, that if you were actually presented, in real life, with the problem of determining which of three light bulbs was burned out, and they were switched off, you wouldn't just feel them with your hand? Really really?

    The question seems to be geared to determine whether the interviewee has a functioning brain stem, not an actual test of anything.
  • big picture thinker 2011-11-29 15:37
    FTA: "Being someone who has heard of a brainteaser before..."

    Really, you heard of a brainteaser?
  • Smokingman 2011-11-29 16:41
    I accidentally left my resume available on the web for a short time and received it unchanged from 3 different outsourcing companies.

    In each case I told the person, "I'm surprised I don't remember you from EVERY job I ever worked."
  • roy 2011-11-29 16:45
    i always thought it was so they couldn't fall to their death- a square manhole cover can fit 'through' its hole diagonally - a circle has no larger diagonal than it's width, so no fall through-
  • Cbuttius 2011-11-30 10:29
    If you know whether the odd coin is heavier or lighter, then with N weighings you can have as many as 3^N (3 to the power of N) coins.

    If you do not know then the maximum number is 2^N (2 to the power of N).

    In the first case then on each iteration you weigh one third on one side, one third on the other and eliminate 2/3.

    In the second case you normally weigh 1/4 on each side until the last weighing, and eliminate half. (If they balance they are eliminated, if not the other half are).

    On the last weighing you have 2 coins so you must weigh one against one of the rejected coins. If they balance then it is the last coin, if they do not it is the one you did not already reject.
  • Cbuttius 2011-11-30 11:05
    Actually I reckon you can reduce always by a 3rd each time.

    Weigh 1/3 against 1/3. If they balance, reject them all and keep the other third.

    If not then we have 2/3 remaining at this point but now take 1/3 of the heavier ones and 1/3 of the lighter ones on each side, and you will find that you can iterate through this and eliminate 2/3 of them now. (If they balance it's in the ones that were left behind, and if not you reject the ones that switched from being on the light side to the heavy side and vice versa).

    It's not an exact log(base 3) N but it's that plus a constant.

    Alternatively, within 2 weighings you can find out if your extra is heavy or light then iterate through log(base 3)(N).
    One example of two such weighings is obviously half vs half and then from one half, half vs half again. Not the most efficient way but you will know for certain whether we have a heavy or light object and will be able to eliminate at least a half. More efficient would be 1/3 vs 1/3 to start and if they don't balance, pick half from each of those against the ones we left behind to start with. Now we have 1/6 of our original set and know if we are heavier or lighter, but if the first weighing balanced we will have to continue this strategy until we get a mis-balance. (However we have reduced by a third).

    Therefore we can say it is halving for one weighing and then a third subsequently but if we get down to 6 (or 4) we require 2 weighings, so for W weighings we can manage with 4 * 3^(W-2)

    W N
    2 4
    3 12
    4 36
    5 108
    6 324

    etc.

  • Cbuttius 2011-11-30 11:23
    I can't edit my comments because I'm not logged in. Actually the maximum is 3^(W-1) or 2^W whichever is greater.

    N W
    2 4
    3 9
    4 27
    5 81

    etc.
  • muteKi 2011-12-02 23:42
    Why the hell would I do that without prior knowledge of the temperature that the light bulbs can reach?

    I mean given all the other bizarre shit that has to be true in order for the problem to make any sense at all. I mean, obviously the contraption isn't useful for giving off light, so surely it's designed to create heat?
  • Kuba 2011-12-04 02:53
    CrisW:
    Light bulbs don't give out any detectable heat any more. (well, not so that you could detect it by touch anyway.)
    You're entirely silly. Try it. Larger CFLs get too hot to touch. Even LED replacements for lightbulbs get notceably warm.
  • David 2011-12-06 08:42
    I think we've established the interviewer wasn't big on brain power :)
  • Voice 2011-12-09 14:34
    Yeah, 5 in 3 measures isn't particularly difficult. Here's a solutions.

    Put 1 weight on either side of the scale. If it balances, set one aside as a known-good, and discard the other. If it doesn't, replace one with one of the others. If they balance, it's the one you replaced. If they don't it's the one you didn't.
    If the first set balances, pick another set. If they balance, it's the last weight which hasn't been measured. if they don't, replace one of them with the known-good weight. If they balance, it's the replaced one, if not, it's the one you didn't replace.
  • Shark8 2012-04-25 14:26
    Master Troll (formerly Top3Coder):
    If you create a 20GB XML file, you're doing it wrong.


    Yeah, that is a lightweight. ;)
  • Dave M 2012-11-15 20:18
    Binary search isn't really as clever as "trinary" search.

    I always asked this one specifying that the object is either heavier or lighter.

    Then the algorithm is:

    Divide objects into 3 nearly even piles.
    Weigh the two equally numbered piles.
    They are either equal or one is the heavier(or lighter).
    The number of weighs required is ceil(log3(n)).
    Because log3(5) < log3(9), log3(5) < 2, and
    ceil(log3(n)) = 2 weighs.

    For 8 objects, it is also 2 weighs.
  • Smithc64 2014-07-21 05:48
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  • Zagyg 2014-09-23 08:11
    Smithc64:
    I've been absent for a while
    Oh No!
    Smithc64:
    but now I remember why I used to love this site.
    Oh Good :)
    Smithc64:
    Thank you, I'll try and check back more frequently.
    Oh OK.
    Smithc64:
    How frequently you update your site?
    Oh Daily :^P
    Smithc64:
    cdebgkdbbadeaekc

    Oh what?