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  2. There is a hotel with an infinite number of rooms, all rooms occupied by little green men (one man in a room). An infinity of little blue man arrive and each one asks for a room. No problem, the manager moves the blue man from the room n to the room 2*n, freeing the odd-numbered rooms for the green men. So far, loosely copied from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilbert's_paradox_of_the_Grand_Hotel. It turns out that the blue men sing between noon and midnight and sleep between midnight and noon while the green men sleep between noon and midnight and sing between midnight and noon. Complaints. The manager decides to group them. Conveniently, the rooms are in a straight line, numbered from left to right. While there is a green man left to a blue man, he makes them change the rooms. Eventually, all the blue men leave. - how many rooms are free? - how many rooms remain occupied? - what is the number of the first occupied room?
  3. When midnight strikes

    If a coin can be discarded, it does not mean it will be discarded. I would reformulate it: The key question is this: will all coins that are kept at a certain event ever be discarded at a later event? BTW, we can establish a bijection between Al's and Bert's coins. The coins bear green numbers. After each step, Al renumbers them and assigns them blue numbers 1, 3, 5, ... His blue numbers will match the (green) numbers in Bert's box. For any number of steps. I think it is legal to assume it is true even for N-> inf. Another way to prove that Bert's box will not be empty: graphical presentation. The number of coins in his box is a straight line (at 45 degrees). How is that it suddenly drops to 0? And maybe a corollary: Bert never discards more coins that he receives. How is that when he has, let's say 8 coins, he can have less in a later stage? If we reason with {coins} and {events}, don't you see a 1-1 relation?
  4. Today
  5. Worth the Weight

    hey bn - Thanks for getting this one started. You are correct in all you say above including your initial summary of the problem. Have edited the OP to include that explanation. I assure you there is a scheme in which one can guarantee finding seven heavy coins. Perhaps start off by finding one guaranteed heavy coin in two uses of a balance scale. Or not. I have no doubt you or others here will discover the method for finding seven heavy dimes.
  6. Worth the Weight

  7. When midnight strikes

    @harey Hilbert's hotel tells us not to treat countably infinite sets the same way we treat finite sets. There is no 1-1 correspondence between { 1 3 5 7 9 } and { 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 } as there is between the (infinite set of) { odd integers } and the (infinite set of) { integers.} Hilbert's hotel always has room for more. Completion (of an infinite set of tasks) is another tricky concept. If we number some tasks 1 2 3 ... and there is no final integer, how can there be a final task? And if there's no final task how can we complete infinitely many tasks, or describe the state of things after they have transpired? We finesse that point with a 1-1 correspondence of event times to the terms of an infinite series, 1 1/2 1/4 1/8 ... 1/2^n ...., which (conveniently) converges. We pack a countably infinite set of events into a time interval that ends at midnight. "Completion" is cleverly accomplished in two seconds. It's non-physical enough that it never could happen, but we can reasonably discuss the post-midnight state of affairs nonetheless. We have two countably infinite sets, {coins} and {events}. At each event, two coins are added to a box and one coin from that box is discarded. So, of the two added coins, at least one is kept. We know that at midnight the entire set {coins} has entered each box, and some (proper or not) subset of them has been discarded. The key question is this: can a coin that is kept at a certain event ever be discarded at a later event? For Al, the answer is yes. Al always discards his lowest coin, so at each event time ti he discards coin ci. Thus eventually that is, upon completion of the infinite set of tasks, every coin that is initially kept is later discarded. At midnight no coins remain. Al's box is empty. For Bert the answer is no. Bert discards the highest-numbered of his coins, and that is always the even coin that he just received. At no event is Bert ever scheduled to discard an odd coin. Every odd coin that enters Bert's box is kept, and it stays there forever. Bert's box contains a countably infinite set of coins. For Charlie the answer is ... well ... um ... actually ... I guess ... yeah, but it might take an infinite number of events for it to be discarded. Well it just so happens that we have an infinite number of events that follow the keeping of every one of Charlie's initially kept coins. So, yes. All of Charlie's coins that are not immediately discarded are eventually discarded. At midnight, Charlie's box is empty.
  8. Yesterday
  9. Worth the Weight

    You are shown a pile of dimes all of which have one of two distinct weights differing by a small amount not detectable by feel. Forty eight dimes are separated from this pile and you are told of these forty eight, light ones are a dime a dozen (literally - i.e. 44 heavy dimes and 4 light dimes). Using a balance scale twice, find seven heavy dimes. EDIT: for clarification
  10. Destroying a checkerboard

    That would not be permitted. The OP says with each use of the saw you may pick up one piece of the board and make a straight cut.
  11. Last week
  12. Baggage on a conveyor belt

    Here’s my attempt at an analytical solution
  13. Increase the square

    Nevermind...misunderstood the OP (again).
  14. What Question Must Be Asked?

    I was so stuck in my solution that is exactly the same as yours except that the exclusion came earlier that I reacted too quickly. Next time, I will read more carefully, promised
  15. When midnight strikes

    After N steps, they will have received 2*N coins and withdrawn N coins. At that moment, there will be 2*N-N coins in the box. If the box is empty at midnight, this implies: limit(2*N-N)(for N->inf) = 0 At least a little bit surprising. @ThunderCloud I have some troubles to refute your argument. If you remove an infinity of finite numbers from infinity of finite numbers, it does not imply no finite number remain. (Not sure I am convincing and clear enough.) Counterargument: Al removed all coins 1 - N, coins > N remain. If N -> inf, numbering looses it's sense, but he did not remove all coins. As for Charlie, I am ruminating, too. The first idea: every number will remain with p=1/2. Wrong, 1 will be more likely removed than 99. 2nd idea: 1st step, 2 coins: p(removing 1)=1/2 2nd step, 3 coins: p(removing 1)=p(1 was not removed in the first step) * 1/3 = 1/2 * 1/3 = 1/6, p(1 remaining after 2nd step)=1 - 1/2 - 1/6 = 1/3 3rd step, 4 coins: p(removing 1)=p(1 not yet removed) * 1/4 = 1/3 * 1/4 = 1/12, p(1 remaining after 3rd step)=1 - 1/2 - 1/6 - 1/12 = I will not venture further, but this will not converge to 0. (Compare to 1 - 1/2 - 1/4 - 1/8...)
  16. Destroying a checkerboard

    You have just lost your 143rd straight game of checkers and have vowed never to play another game. To confirm your vow you decide to saw your wooden checkerboard into pieces that contain no more than a single (red or black) square. With each use of the saw you may pick up a piece of the board and make one straight cut, along boundaries of individual squares. You wish to inflict as much damage as possible with each cut, so you first calculate the minimum number of saw cuts needed to finish the job. And that number is ... (spoilers appreciated.)
  17. Baggage on a conveyor belt

    Gah! Mine was not a useful clue. The denominator (greater than 6 but not huge) is too large for a simulation to tell you the fraction. Also I think your simulation value is high. But you're thinking in the right direction. Here may be more useful clues.
  18. Increase the square

    Four pegs begin at the corners of a unit square on a grid having integer coordinates. At any time one peg may jump a second peg along any straight line and land an equal distance on its other side. The jumped peg remains in place. + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + O + + + + + + O O + ==> + + + O O + + + + O O + + + + O + + + + + + + + + + + + + + Is it possible to maneuver the pegs to the corners of a larger square? + + + + + + + O + O + + + + + + + + + O + O + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
  19. Baggage on a conveyor belt

    Ok I tried using random numbers, got a fraction...
  20. Pairing the points

    Nice. A construction is certainly a proof of existence. A pairing without intersects exists and ... here it is! Now I wonder if for any groups of n blue and n red points there is only one pairing without crossings?
  21. Pairing the points

    Probably not what you have in mind, but I realized part of my previous answer was superfluous so this is a little more elegant and gets rid of some hand waving.
  22. What Question Must Be Asked?

    Proof of my claim...
  23. What Question Must Be Asked?

    Better still...
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