Critical Section

gone codin'

Tuesday,  09/16/08  10:32 PM

I claim nothing is more boring than blogging about blogging, except maybe blogging about not blogging, but I must tell you I have gone codin' - head down and trying to deliver something on negative time.  Please stay tuned and our regularly scheduled programming will return shortly.

To tide you over, here's a spiffy puzzle from my friend Nick:

You are one of 20 prisoners on death row.  Your king is a ruthless man who likes to toy with his people's miseries.  He comes to your cell and tells you:

"I'm going to give you prisoners a chance to go free tomorrow.  You will all stand in a row and we will put a hat on your head, either a red or a black one.  Of course you will not be able to see the color of your own hat; you will only be able to see the prisoners in front of you with their hats on; you will not be allowed to look back or communicate in any way.  The prisoner in the back will be able to see the 19 prisoners in front of him.  The one in front of him will be able to see 18, and so on.  Starting with the last prisoner, the one who can see everybody in front of him, he will be asked a simple question: WHAT IS THE COLOR OF YOUR HAT?  He will be only allowed to answer BLACK or RED.  If he guesses the right color of the hat on his head he will be set free, otherwise he will be put to death.  And we move on to the one in front of him and ask him the same question and so on...  Well, good luck tomorrow, HA HA HA HA HA HA!"

You all can communicate freely during the night, can you find a way to guarantee the freedom of some prisoners tomorrow?  How many?

Enjoy :)

[Update: the answer has been posted... ]


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About Me

Greatest Hits
Correlation vs. Causality
The Tyranny of Email
Unnatural Selection
On Blame
Try, or Try Not
Books and Wine
Emergent Properties
God and Beauty
Moving Mount Fuji
The Nest
Rock 'n Roll
IQ and Populations
Are You a Bright?
Adding Value
The Joy of Craftsmanship
The Emperor's New Code
Toy Story
The Return of the King
Religion vs IQ
In the Wet
solving bongard problems
visiting Titan
unintelligent design
the nuclear option
estimating in meatspace
second gear
On the Persistence of Bad Design...
Texas chili cookoff
almost famous design and stochastic debugging
may I take your order?
universal healthcare
triple double
New Yorker covers
Death Rider! (da da dum)
how did I get here (Mt.Whitney)?
the Law of Significance
Holiday Inn
Daniel Jacoby's photographs
the first bird
Gödel Escher Bach: Birthday Cantatatata
Father's Day (in pictures)
your cat for my car
Jobsnotes of note
world population map
no joy in Baker
vote smart
exact nonsense
introducing eyesFinder
to space
where are the desktop apps?
still the first bird
electoral fail
progress ratches
2020 explained