March 19, 2009

More Fun

For those of you who live to annoy your loved ones, here's a thinker from my favourite science guy, John Tierney at the NYT.

Three wise men are told to stand in a straight line, one in front of the other. A hat is put on each of their heads. They are told that each of these hats was selected from a group of five hats: two black hats and three white hats. The first man, standing at the front of the line, can't see either of the men behind him or their hats. The second man, in the middle, can see only the first man and his hat. The last man, at the rear, can see both other men and their hats.

None of the men can see the hat on his own head. They are asked to deduce its color. Some time goes by as the wise men ponder the puzzle in silence. Finally the first one, at the front of the line, makes an announcement: "My hat is white."

He is correct. How did he come to this conclusion?

You can scout the answer in the comments here...but give yourself a minute. Everything you need is there.


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