Mental Gymnastics

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Mental Gymnastics - Puzzles - UpGhana

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Mental Gymnastics by AnonymousAyo(m) : 3:22 pm

What It Takes to Get Hired at a Hyperselective Company

Jim was sitting in the lobby of Google’s Building 44, Mountain View, California,

surrounded by half a dozen others in various states of stupor. All were staring dumbly at the stupidest, most addictive TV show ever. It is Google’s live search board, the ever-scrolling list of the search terms people are Googling at this very instant.

Watching the board is like picking the lock to the world’s diary, then wishing you hadn’t. For one moment, the private desires and anxieties of someone in New Orleans or Hyderabad or Edinburgh are broadcast to a select audience of voyeurs in Google lobbies—most of them twenty- and thirty-year-olds awaiting a job interview.

•giant-print Bibles
•Tales of Phantasia
•world’s largest glacier
•man makeup
•purpose of education
•Russian laws relating to archery

Jim knew the odds were stacked against him. Google was receiving a million job applications a year. It was estimated that only about 1 in 130 applications resulted in a job.

By comparison, about 1 in 14 high school students applying to Harvard gets accepted. As at Harvard, Google employees must pass some tall hurdles.
Jim’s first interviewer was late and sweaty: he had biked to work.

He started with some polite questions about Jim’s work history. Jim eagerly explained his short career. The interviewer didn’t look at him. He was tapping away at his laptop, taking notes.

“The next question I’m going to ask,” he said, “is a little unusual.
You are shrunk to the height of a nickel

and thrown into a blender.

Your mass is reduced so that your density is the same as usual. The blades start moving in sixty seconds. What do you do?”*

The interviewer had looked up from his laptop and was grinning like a maniac with a new toy.

“I would take the change in my pocket and throw it into the blender motor to jam it,” Jim said.
The interviewer’s tapping resumed.

“The inside of a blender is sealed,” he countered, with the air of someone who had heard it all before. “If you could throw pocket change into the mechanism, then your smoothie would leak into it.”
“Right… um… I would take off my belt and shirt, then.

I’d tear the shirt into strips to make a rope, with the belt, too, maybe. Then I’d tie my shoes to the end of the rope and use it like a lasso….”

Furious key clicks.

“I don’t mean a lasso,” Jim plowed on. “What are those things Argentinean cowboys throw? It’s like a weight at the end of a rope.”

No answer.

Jim now felt his idea was lame, yet he was compelled to complete it. “I’d throw the weights over the top of the blender jar. Then I’d climb out.”

“The ‘weights’ are just your shoes,” the interviewer said. “How would they support your body’s weight? You weigh more than your shoes do.”

Jim didn’t know.

That wasn’t the end of it.

The interviewer had suddenly warmed to the topic. He began ticking off quibbles one by one.
He wasn’t sure whether Jim’s shirt—shrunken with the rest of him—could be made into a rope that would be long enough to reach over the lip of a blender.

Once Jim got to the top of the jar—if he got there—how would he get down again? Could he realistically make a rope in sixty seconds?
Jim didn’t see where a word like realistic came into play. It was as if Google had a shrinking ray and was planning to try it out next week.

“It was nice meeting you,” the interviewer said, extending a still-damp hand.

Obviously Jim Failed the Question.

But, imagine you were the next person to be interviewed and you were asked the same question, how would you answer?


QUIZ: Can You Guess Which of These Events Occurred First in the Old Testament?   Braincrackers   What is the correct answer?  

Re: Mental Gymnastics by Hollybratt01(m) : 3:31 pm

Hmmm nice one

Re: Mental Gymnastics by AnonymousAyo(m) : 6:47 am

The blender riddle encapsulates the process of inventing a new product.
You begin by brainstorming.

There are many possible answers, and you shouldn’t be in a hurry to settle for the first idea that seems “good enough.”

Coming up with a superior response requires listening carefully to the question’s wording. “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” Einstein said.

You don’t have to be an Einstein to answer the question well, but you do need the imagination to connect it to some knowledge you acquired long ago.

For many of us, the knee-jerk response is a facetious one.

(One try, posted on a blog: “One might assume that since the blender is about to be turned on, that food will soon be entering, so I’d probably just put my neck to the blade rather than be suffocated by some raunchy health drink.”)

The two most popular serious answers seem to be (1) lie down, below the blades, and
(2) stand to the side of the blades.
There ought to be at least a nickel’s width of clearance between the whirring blades and the bottom or sides of the blender jar.
Another common reply is
(3) climb atop the blades and position your center of gravity over the axis. Hold tight. The net centrifugal force will be near zero, allowing you to hold on.

Like many of Google’s interview questions, this one leaves a lot unsaid. Who or what has thrown you into the blender, and for what reason? If a hostile being is bent on making a human smoothie, your long-term chance of survival will be small, no matter what you do.

Will liquid be added to the blender? Is there a top on it? How long will the blades be spinning? Should the blades spin a long time, answer 3 would make you dizzy.
That could cause you to lose consciousness and fall off.

You’re welcome to question the interviewer on these points. The canonical responses are
“Don’t worry about hostile beings,”
“No liquid will be added,”
“There’s no lid,” and
“Figure the blades will keep spinning until you’re dead.”

Another approach is to
(4) climb out of the jar. The interviewer will ask how you propose to accomplish that. You don’t have suction cups. One bright response is, at that size you’re like a fly and can climb glass.

A dumb answer is to
(5) use your phone to call or text for help.

This depends on your phone’s having been shrunk with you and being able to access the nearest (not shrunken) cell phone tower. It also depends on 911 or your Twitter posse sending help in less than sixty seconds.

Still another popular answer is to
(6) rip or unravel your clothes to make a “rope” and use it to climb out of the jar. Or
(7) use your clothes and personal effects to jam the blades or motor somehow. As we’ve seen, both have problems.

Re: Mental Gymnastics by AnonymousAyo(m) : 7:18 am

None of the above answers scores you many points at Google. Current and ex–Google interviewers have told me that the best answer they’ve heard is

(8) jump out of the jar.

Re: Mental Gymnastics by AnonymousAyo(m) : 7:54 am


The question supplies an important clue, that word density. “Being shrunk to the size of a nickel” is not a realistic predicament.

For starters, it might mean eliminating 99.99+ percent of the neurons in your brain. To deal with a question like this, you have to decide where to suspend disbelief and what to take in earnest.

The fact that the interviewer mentions a detail like density is a nudge. It says that things like mass and volume matter in this question (while neuron count might not) and that a successful answer can use simple physics.
In short, the question wants you to consider change-of-scale effects. You probably remember hearing about them in high school.

An ant is able to lift about fifty times its body weight. It’s not because ant muscles are better than human muscles. It’s just because ants are small.

The weight of an ant (or of anything) is in proportion to the cube of its height.

The square cube law

The strength of muscles—and the bones or exoskeleton supporting them—depends on their cross-sectional area, which is proportional to the square of height.

Were you shrunk to 1/10 your present height, your muscles would be only 1/100 as powerful… but you’d weigh a mere 1/1,000 as much. All else being equal, small creatures are “stronger” in lifting their bodies against gravity. They are more able to bench-press multiples of their own weight

Do you see where this is going?

Were you shrunk to nickel size, you’d be strong enough to leap like Superman, right out of the blender.

Source: Are you smart Enough to work at Google
by William Poundstone.

Re: Mental Gymnastics by AnonymousAyo(m) : 8:20 am

This one is quite funny.

You’re in an 8-by-8 stone corridor,” announced the interviewer.

“The Prince of Darkness appears before you.”

So begins the tale of a very strange job interview related by Microsoft program manager Chris Sells.

“You mean, like, the devil?” asked the unlucky applicant.
“Any prince of darkness will do,” she answered. “What do you do?”
“Can I run?”
“Do you want to run?”
“Hmmm. I guess not. Do I have a weapon?”
“What kind of weapon do you want?”
“Um, something with range?”
“Like what?”
“A crossbow?”

“What kind of ammo do you have?”
“Ice arrows?

“Because the Prince of Darkness is a creature made of fire?”

She liked that.
“So what do you do next?”
“I shoot him?”
“No, what do you do?”


“You waste him! You WASTE the Prince of Darkness!”
By this point, the applicant had a question of his own: “Holy crap, what have I gotten myself into?”




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