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#354 Neighbors

Posted by warpath on 29 April 2007 - 04:03 PM

The term "wild goose chase" comes to mind. Kinda like this is a joke telling you hey go catch me a wild goose. Then setting you loose in a room filled with geese that were raised on a farm for 20 generations.

I am not poking at your english, you obviously are fluent. You probably speak with better grammar than most people that speak english as a first langauge.

After trying this on paper, and then deciding I could not possibly answer the question. I could only answer which man has an unknown pet. I looked at various versions of this riddle in hopes of finding out if my answer was correct. I saw the question asked in about five different ways.

I also saw mention of the question being unanswerable as stated. The only way the actual question can be answered is for assumptions to be made. First off you have to assume the fish is alive. You have to assume the fish is a pet, you have to assume the unknown beast (from the deduction) is the fish.

If you look at the Zebra puzzle on wikipedia, you see that you are told (in the discussion section) you must assume the question means to say something other than actually stated to be able to answer the actual question. To be able to justify working the problem out.

I have no doubt that given these clues you can figure out which man has an unknown animal under his roof. But to assume it is fish is incorrect. Unless the question is worded differently. The correct way to word the question would be something like "Which of the five house owners keeps fish as a pet."

It needs to mention one of the five men somehow, by saying house owner or which house or what color house... It needs to clarify. It must also state in the question the fish are pets and not food.

By simply asking who owns the fish, I could answer in a million ways and never be proved wrong or right. Anyone on the planet could have the fish. The guy in the sixth house could. Maybe the five on the start of the street all have fish in the freezer. It could be a fishing town for all I know.

Again I am not poking at your english. I am just fairly certain this question was meant to be a joke for students. I would say I am 98% sure...

Another way for me to be able to accept the answer is how a person words their answer. Now if someone said "the man with the unknown pet probably keeps fish at home." I could see that as being a fair answer.

But alas the question isn't asking who the probable person is. It doesn't ask for a percentage type of answer it asks for a definant answer. I know that showing a little chart and replacing the word unknown with fish is not a correct answer.

The animal "fish" is also key in this question. As it is both plural and singular, and it could be seen as food.

In the zebra version the same plural/sigular issue comes up. "I could say the zebra of africa are owned by no man." The zebra can mean all the zebras in africa. Not a single zebra on this one street with the five houses.

I hope I made sense with this.

Last but not least, having an animal living with you doesn't make it your pet. Working animals are not considered pets. This question is butchered and makes you assume too much for there to be a correct answer.

Basicly for the question to be answerable you would have to do a lot of rewording from the original.
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#349 Neighbors

Posted by warpath on 29 April 2007 - 05:55 AM

I sat here with a peice of paper for maybe 2 minutes, building a little chart like you just showed. Then after I read the entire thing and noticed it says nothing about a fish in the 15 statements and the question at the end does not ask who the possible owner of fish is. or which man keeps fish as pets. It asks "who has fish at home?" Fish can also be food. It is just as logical for me to assume the said fish at home are food as they are the long lost pet.

I probably could have figured out who the unknown was but I quickly came to realize I could never know for sure. My chart was looking much like yours.

I am pretty proud over this one. I had a math teacher way early on, maybe elementary level that would throw in unanswerable questions. The only correct answer was there is not enough information given.

Zebra puzzle:
"There are five houses.
The Englishman lives in the red house.
The Spaniard owns the dog.
Coffee is drunk in the green house.
The Ukrainian drinks tea.
The green house is immediately to the right of the ivory house.
The Old Gold smoker owns snails.
Kools are smoked in the yellow house.
Milk is drunk in the middle house.
The Norwegian lives in the first house.
The man who smokes Chesterfields lives in the house next to the man with the fox.
Kools are smoked in the house next to the house where the horse is kept.
The Lucky Strike smoker drinks orange juice.
The Japanese smokes Parliaments.
The Norwegian lives next to the blue house.

Now, who drinks water? Who owns the zebra?

In the interest of clarity, it must be added that each of the five houses is painted a different color, and their inhabitants are of different national extractions, own different pets, drink different beverages and smoke different brands of American cigarettes. One other thing: In statement 6, right means your right."

I get the same unanswerable loop with this version of the story.

They can all five drink water and any one of them could own the zebra (it isn't stated that every man has only one pet. In fact the one man has more than one snail, therefore they are able to have two pets or more)

There are so many ways this question, in all it's variations, just doesn't work. It is a bogus question, desgined to make math nerds bust out scratch paper and a pencil and spead time working out the placement of the unknown variables. When all you have to do is read it. It was meant as a joke I think.
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#347 What is Correct

Posted by warpath on 29 April 2007 - 03:05 AM

I don't really think it's a question entirely about math. Wouldn't the word "makes" or "equals" need to be in there to make you add? or "the sum of seven and five is..."

The words is and are imply a state of being which numbers by themselves do not have. To me the only way this statement makes sense is to say that seven and five are numbers of some kind of nouns. I guess they would be pronouns in the statement. And 13 is another sort of designation.

Apples and oranges are fruit.

That being said I didn't see it as asking me to add the numbers together. I saw them as seperate objects. Maybe 13 year old students (wouldn't that be about right for the age group of this sort of question?)

Seven and five are thirteen.

Seven is thirteen
Five is thirteen

Seven and five equal twelve...
The sum of seven and five is twelve...

Also, another point. The information given by the question supports my logic. I just made up my own story as to how either statement could be correct. To me it asks which statement is correct. Not if 7+5=13.

If I had a teacher ask my kid this, then tell him he was wrong because he answered "ARE" I would be pretty pissed.

This question is probably why half of people that speak english say "apples IS good" instead of "apples ARE good"
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