YouTube // TED-Ed
YouTube // TED-Ed

Can You Solve 'Einstein's Riddle?'

YouTube // TED-Ed
YouTube // TED-Ed

In this TED-ED video, we're presented with what's called "Einstein's Riddle." As the video-makers admit, it apparently has nothing to do with Einstein, aside from being a fairly tough puzzle to crack. If you enjoy logic puzzles, you'll want to set aside ten minutes for this one!

"Einstein's Riddle" is a form of Zebra Puzzle, in which you're provided with a series of facts, then asked to deduce one fact that's not presented. In the video's case, it's the location of a fish that has been kidnapped. There are five identical houses in a row (numbered one through five), and one of them contains the fish. Can you figure out which house it is, with only the clues provided?

If you're not in a place to check out the video, here are the starting assumptions:

1. Each house's owner is of a different nationality (German, Norwegian, Danish, British, Swedish); drinks a different beverage (tea, milk, coffee, root beer, water); and smokes a different brand of cigar (Pall Mall, Prince, Blends, Dunhill, Blue Master).

2. Each house's interior walls are painted a different color (blue, green, yellow, red, white.)

3. Each house contains a different animal (horse, dog, cat, bird, fish). You're looking for that fish!

And here are all the clues:

1. The Brit lives in the house with red walls.

2. The Swede has a dog.

3. The Dane drinks tea.

4. The house with green walls is directly to the left of the house with white walls.

5. The owner of the house with green walls drinks coffee.

6. The person who smokes Pall Mall cigars owns a bird.

7. The owner of the house with yellow walls smokes Dunhill cigars.

8. The man living in the center house drinks milk.

9. The Norwegian lives in the first house.

10. The man who smokes Blends lives next to the cat owner.

11. The horse's owner lives next to the man who smokes Dunhill.

12. The man who smokes Blue Master drinks root beer.

13. The German smokes Prince.

14. The Norwegian lives next to the house with blue walls.

15. The man who smokes Blends has a next-door neighbor who drinks water.

Can you figure out which of the five houses has the fish?

For more on this puzzle, check out this TED-Ed lesson page. It also links to a bunch of similar puzzles, in case this is your jam!

The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

See If You Can Solve This Tricky Coin-Flipping Riddle

Make sure your head is in working order before trying to solve this riddle from TED-Ed, because it's a stumper.

Here's the scenario: You're an explorer who's just stumbled upon a trove of valuable coins in a remote dungeon. Each coin has a gold side and a silver side, each with an identical scorpion seal. The wizard who guards the coins agrees to let you have them, but he won't let you leave the room unless you separate the hoard into two piles with an equal number of coins with the silver side facing up in each. You've just counted the total number of silver-side-up coins—20—when the lights go out. In the dark, you have no way of knowing which half of a coin is silver and which half is gold. How do you divide the pile without looking at it?

As TED-Ed explains, the task is fairly easy to complete, no psychic powers required. All you need to do is remove any 20 coins from the pile at random and flip them over. No matter what combination of coins you choose, you will suddenly have a number of silver-side-up coins that's equal to whatever is left in the pile. If every coin you pulled was originally gold-side-up, flipping them would give you 20 more silver-side-up coins. If you chose 13 gold-side-up coins and seven of the silver-side coins, you'd be left with 13 silver coins in the first pile and 13 silver ones in your new stack after flipping it over.

The solution is simple, but the algebra behind it may take a little more effort to comprehend. For the full explanation and a bonus riddle, check out the video from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]


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