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A quick riddle from elementary school

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What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?

( it has no smell, taste, and you can see through it)

A hole

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16 answers to this question

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bore a hole?

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Put "nothing" in the barrel.

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Put "nothing" in the barrel.

Putting "nothing" in the barrel won't make it lighter, but helium will.

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Another answer without the "tasteless" part could be alcohol. It would dry out the wood as it evaporated and make the barrel lighter.

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Another answer without the "tasteless" part could be alcohol. It would dry out the wood as it evaporated and make the barrel lighter.

Thats could be true, but the alcohol isn't the object that would make the barrel lighter, it would be the affects the alcohol takes on the wood. The action of adding alcohol into a barrel would indeed make the barrel heavier.

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i was gonna say helium

hmmm a hole would make it a bit lighter, especially if there was something inside the barrel, but if the barrel was empty (or you were just counting the wood's weight, not the substance or air inside the barrel) a hole wouldnt make a huge difference... my answer would be a bomb or grenade lol that would make it a lot lighter... of course people would argue "first it would make it heavier, then the explosion blows up the barrel and makes it lighter" then i would say "go die in a barrel, and FINE, throw a grenade which would blow up the instant it touched the barrel, not getting the chance to add extra weight before the entire barrel explodes"

hmph. lol.

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Thats could be true, but the alcohol isn't the object that would make the barrel lighter, it would be the affects the alcohol takes on the wood.

The riddle is "What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?( it has no smell, taste, and you can see through it)"

If it's the effects of alcohol that make the barrel lighter, then the act of putting alcohol in the barrel is what makes it lighter after it evaporates. Pure alcohol is odorless, tasteless, and translucent.

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Thats could be true, but the alcohol isn't the object that would make the barrel lighter, it would be the affects the alcohol takes on the wood.

The riddle is "What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?( it has no smell, taste, and you can see through it)"

If it's the effects of alcohol that make the barrel lighter, then the act of putting alcohol in the barrel is what makes it lighter after it evaporates. Pure alcohol is odorless, tasteless, and translucent.

You can look at it that way I suppose, but I still believe that is incorrect. I can agree that by putting alcohol in a wooden barrel, it will eventually get lighter. But the riddle asks what object would make the barrel lighter, and when you put alcohol in a barrel it would get heavier, not lighter. So I still stick to my theory that the alcohol does not make the barrel lighter. That may just be because I am stubborn though

Another arguement I could make against the alcohol theory is that the riddle never said the barrel was made of wood. It could be a steel barrel or a barrel made of some other form of metal. In which case alcohol would not make it lighter, and the hole still would. By assuming that the barrel is made of wood, you are changing the riddle. I believe the only answers that should work for this kind of riddle is an answer that works in all possible scenarios specified by the riddle.

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You can look at it that way I suppose, but I still believe that is incorrect. I can agree that by putting alcohol in a wooden barrel, it will eventually get lighter.

If it eventually gets lighter, that is all that matters.

But the riddle asks what object would make the barrel lighter, and when you put alcohol in a barrel it would get heavier, not lighter. So I still stick to my theory that the alcohol does not make the barrel lighter.

If the alcohol dries out the wood causing it to be lighter, then alcohol does make the barrel lighter. Whether this happens instantaneous or not is irrelevant. You are the one who goes on to say, "I believe the only answers that should work for this kind of riddle is an answer that works in all possible scenarios specified by the riddle." The riddle does not state that making the barrel lighter must happen instantaneously, so waiting until the alcohol evaporates is a possible scenario.

Alcohol does not make the barrel heavier. The barrel weighs the same regardless of its contents.

Another arguement I could make against the alcohol theory is that the riddle never said the barrel was made of wood.

You could also argue that a hole wouldn't make a barrel lighter in deep space because the barrel would be weightless. You could probably argue a circumstance for every answer to every riddle on this site. That's not what the spirit of this site is about.

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This is so easy!

A hole.

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I have heard this many times, and the answer, or rather, one of the answers is a hole. Quite simple.

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Ok i read all the posts and came up with my own analysis and concluded this should be posted in the 'paradoxes' forum.

Let me explain.

All of the answers involve a single idea - removing a piece of the barrel.

Whether you do it physically, chemically or even telepathically, it doesn't matter,

the end result is the same: a part of the barrel is removed thereby decreasing its mass.

The riddle specified that we are to add something to the barrel to make it lighter. The fact

that the answer is to remove a part of the barrel contradicts the question.

So by removing a part of the barrel we are adding 'nothing' to the barrel.

Nothing doesn't exist, so how can we add nothing.

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Won't removing a piece of the bucket have the same consequences as putting a hole in it (which are, when thought of, roughly the same)?

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The riddle specified that we are to add something to the barrel to make it lighter.

Actually, the riddle specified "what can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?". Putting a hole in the barrel, say with a hole saw, will make it lighter.

The fact that the answer is to remove a part of the barrel contradicts the question.

It doesn't. It's common to speak of removing a circular portion of a barrel as "putting a hole in it".

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The riddle specified that we are to add something to the barrel to make it lighter.

Actually, the riddle specified "what can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?". Putting a hole in the barrel, say with a hole saw, will make it lighter.

I answered the question and then continued to read the other posts. That was a brain fart that occurred after reading about putting alcohol in the barrel.

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"Martini" is quite correct. The question is: "What can you put in a barrel to make it lighter?" taking away a piece of it would be be able to be done, since the question is "What can you put in it". When putting a hole in something, it is thought of not as taking away something, as a piece of bucket that will be leftover from making a hole, but rather making something, a hole. So one of the correct answers would be "A hole."

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