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 May 17, 2005, 11:41 PM #1 Royal Pineapple macrumors 65816     Join Date: May 2002 Location: Why do I live in California? Because the sun sets a block from my house. logic question übergeek asked me to post this here, apparently its been driving her nuts. i have no idea how to go about solving this. There is a bookshelf, with 10 shelves that each have 20 books on it. For the purposes of this problem, all of the 200 books are exactly the same in outward appearance, except one shelf that has books that vary in weight from the other books. There is a scale next to that bookshelf, where you pile whatever you would like on it, press the button and get the weight. Given that the scale only works once, how would you figure out which shelf has the books that are different from the others? __________________ I'm like a superhero, with no powers or motivation Bare Feet, Not Arms All of the true things that I am about to tell you are shameless lies. -Bokonon 0
 May 17, 2005, 11:49 PM #2 janey macrumors Demi-Goddess     Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: sunny los angeles just to clarify, because my original blog post was not clear enough, maybe a few hints scattered here and there toothe scale weighing is necessary (otherwise it would be subjective, and on top of that if the weight variation was so minimal that it could not be discerned...) the physical action of picking each book up, aside for the purpose of putting it on the scale, is not significant. there is an answer that is not "there is no answer to this problem" or "this problem cannot be solved" the books on the outside look exactly the same, it's just that 20 books on one shelf weigh slightly different from the others re: above point...uniform variance among all the books on that one shelf. Google will probably not help you __________________ iPad | 15" MacBook Pro | black (iPhone 3GS|MacBook) | Mac mini server moof! 0
 May 17, 2005, 11:51 PM #3 mad jew Demi-God (Moderator emeritus)     Join Date: Apr 2004 Location: Adelaide, Australia I don't suppose you can rearrange the books on the shelf? __________________ Some things are better mad... 0
May 17, 2005, 11:57 PM   #4
janey
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by mad jew I don't suppose you can rearrange the books on the shelf?
if you can explain how you can find the shelf with the different books, i don't see why not.
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May 17, 2005, 11:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by übergeek if you can explain how you can find the shelf with the different books, i don't see why not.

Nah, I thought I was onto something. Sorry.
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 May 18, 2005, 12:01 AM #6 me_94501 macrumors 65816     Join Date: Jan 2003 Uh...no idea. __________________ Let's Go A's! 0
 May 18, 2005, 12:04 AM #7 Guitarius macrumors 6502a     Join Date: Jul 2004 Location: Louisiana Could you put one book on the scale at a time, one book from each shelf, and watch for a larger increase in weight? 0
May 18, 2005, 12:06 AM   #8
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Guitarius Could you put one book on the scale at a time, one book from each shelf, and watch for a larger increase in weight?

I'm assuming you can only press the button once so probably not.
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 May 18, 2005, 12:09 AM #9 clayj macrumors 601     Join Date: Jan 2005 Location: 1123,6536,5321 Do we know what a "standard" book weighs and what a "non-standard" book weighs? Because if so, here's what you do: 1. Take one book from Shelf One, two books from Shelf Two, three books from Shelf Three, etc. (all the way up to ten books from Shelf Ten) and put them on the scale. 2. Weigh the books. Assuming that a standard book weighs "x" and that a non-standard book weighs "x+y", if all of the books weighed the same, the weight on the scale would be 55x. The difference between 55x and the ACTUAL weight is "z"; divide z by y to get how many y's make up the difference. If there are 1 y's in z, then the heavier books are on Shelf One; if 5 y's, then the heavier books are on Shelf Five (since 5 books came from Shelf Five). __________________ mac pro 2.8ghz 8-core 24gb ram 16tb hd 30" acd | macbook air 2.0ghz 8gb ram 256gb ssd | mac mini 2.4ghz c2d | ipad 3 at&t 64gb black | ipad 2 wifi 16gb black | iphone 5 at&t 64gb black | ipods x3 0
 May 18, 2005, 12:11 AM #10 ravenvii macrumors 603     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Melenkurion Skyweir It says "press the button to get the weight", so it ain't a normal scale if you know what I mean. EDIT: damn, I had to sit there and try to think through the problem before pressing submit. Disregard. __________________ 01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01110000 01101111 01101111 01101110 01111001 00100000 01100010 01100001 01110010 01100100 00100001 Last edited by ravenvii; May 18, 2005 at 12:13 AM. 0
 May 18, 2005, 12:11 AM #11 janey macrumors Demi-Goddess     Join Date: Dec 2002 Location: sunny los angeles yeah, you can only use it once. assume the scale won't give you a reading until you press the button. __________________ iPad | 15" MacBook Pro | black (iPhone 3GS|MacBook) | Mac mini server moof! 0
May 18, 2005, 12:13 AM   #12
janey
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by clayj Do we know what a "standard" book weighs and what a "non-standard" book weighs? Because if so, here's what you do:
Yeah, I got lots of those replies. Assume you are not given the weights, just that if
x = weight of "normal" books
y = weight of different books
and x != y, but x>y or x<y, but that is not given.
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 May 18, 2005, 12:15 AM #13 ravenvii macrumors 603     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Melenkurion Skyweir Well, then you can use the formula made by clayj above, and do a painfully slow and thorough test of various numbers to the forumula. You'll eventually get the number... Let's hope we come up with an pill of immortality soon. __________________ 01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01110000 01101111 01101111 01101110 01111001 00100000 01100010 01100001 01110010 01100100 00100001 0
May 18, 2005, 12:17 AM   #14
me_94501
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Quote:
 Originally Posted by übergeek yeah, you can only use it once. assume the scale won't give you a reading until you press the button.
What if I put something on the scale, push the button, then add or remove items? Will the scale's readout change as I add/remove items or stay at what it was when I pressed the button?

Why am I wasting my time with this thread? I have a final to study for!
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Last edited by me_94501; May 18, 2005 at 12:18 AM. Reason: clarification
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May 18, 2005, 12:17 AM   #15
janey
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by Raven VII Well, then you can use the formula made by clayj above,...
i really hope you're being sarcastic right now
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May 18, 2005, 12:17 AM   #16
clayj
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by übergeek Yeah, I got lots of those replies. Assume you are not given the weights, just that if x = weight of "normal" books y = weight of different books and x != y, but x>y or x
So my solution would not work, because we do not KNOW the weights of any of the books (example: standard book = 1000 g, non-standard book = 1025 g or 975 g)?

If you only get one weighing, the only way to differentiate books from each other (that I can think of at the moment) is to vary the number of books taken from each shelf, systematically.
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May 18, 2005, 12:18 AM   #17
janey
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by me_94501 What if I put something on the scale, push the button, then add or remove items? Will the scale's readout change or stay at what it was when I pressed the button? Why am I wasting my time with this thread? I have a final to study for!
lets say its a stupid scale, and you can only press the button once, and it will give you only one readout, and nothing else. You can pile whatever you want on it, but it's going to stay the way it did when you pressed the button.
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May 18, 2005, 12:20 AM   #18
janey
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by clayj So my solution would not work, because we do not KNOW the weights of any of the books (example: standard book = 1000 g, non-standard book = 1025 g or 975 g)? If you only get one weighing, the only way to differentiate books from each other (that I can think of at the moment) is to vary the number of books taken from each shelf, systematically.
you have an equation with a few variables, so it gives a range of possible answers, but not _the_ answer.

and yeah. /me emails person who originally told her this problem to clarify some points
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 May 18, 2005, 12:21 AM #19 me_94501 macrumors 65816     Join Date: Jan 2003 Buy a better scale? __________________ Let's Go A's! 0
May 18, 2005, 12:22 AM   #20
janey
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Join Date: Dec 2002
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by me_94501 Buy a better scale?
very funny
but really, what if you had no choice but to use that broken scale? what would your answer be?
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May 18, 2005, 12:23 AM   #21
clayj
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by übergeek you have an equation with a few variables, so it gives a range of possible answers, but not _the_ answer. and yeah. /me emails person who originally told her this problem to clarify some points
Clarification would be good.

But I gotta tell you, I think I'm right... the way to tell the books apart is to vary how many from each shelf are placed on the scale (1 from Shelf 1, 2 from Shelf 2, 10 from Shelf 10, etc.) and then compare the actual weight measured to what it would be if all of the books were the same, and do the math. This all assumes that you know what a standard book weighs. If you don't know what a standard book weighs, I don't think you can solve this problem.

EDIT: You do have to know what a NON-standard book weighs, as well. Otherwise, you don't know if the difference is caused by a single really heavy book, or ten slightly-heavy books, or something in between.
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Last edited by clayj; May 18, 2005 at 12:27 AM.
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May 18, 2005, 12:25 AM   #22
janey
macrumors Demi-Goddess

Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: sunny los angeles
Quote:
 Originally Posted by clayj Clarification would be good. But I gotta tell you, I think I'm right... the way to tell the books apart is to vary how many from each shelf are placed on the scale (1 from Shelf 1, 2 from Shelf 2, 10 from Shelf 10, etc.) and then compare the actual weight measured to what it would be if all of the books were the same, and do the math. This all assumes that you know what a standard book weighs. If you don't know what a standard book weighs (you don't even have to know what a NON-standard book weighs), I don't think you can solve this problem.
yeah, a bunch of people had the same answer, but not given the weights..
Eh. I guess I'll just have to wait for his email.
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 May 18, 2005, 12:27 AM #23 Guitarius macrumors 6502a     Join Date: Jul 2004 Location: Louisiana This is why I'm a writer. Because I can't figure stuff like this out. I have no problem solving skills of that nature. 0
 May 18, 2005, 12:28 AM #24 ravenvii macrumors 603     Join Date: Mar 2004 Location: Melenkurion Skyweir You said 10 shelves and 20 books. There gotta be a reason those two numbers are picked specifically... **** if I know, just throwing in ideas. __________________ 01011001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01110000 01101111 01101111 01101110 01111001 00100000 01100010 01100001 01110010 01100100 00100001 0
 May 18, 2005, 12:29 AM #25 mad jew Demi-God (Moderator emeritus)     Join Date: Apr 2004 Location: Adelaide, Australia Do the books on the shelf that's different all have the same weight as each other? And if so, do we know whether that is higher or lower than the standard books? If so, you could get close to working out what a standard book weighs by averaging the total weight of the books from clayj's idea. Sure, it's not great maths and it won't let you know how much a different book weighs but it'll show you which shelf is heavier/lighter... I think... __________________ Some things are better mad... 0

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