Saturday Morning Open Thread – Stupid Math Puzzles

To keep everyone occupied until the Cesspool Party begins, I offer a simple math puzzle whose answer is obvious. The only clincher is that the person who offers the answer will have to offer a similar puzzle (no angle trisections or squaring of circles).

Here is number one:

We have all heard the adage about fitting a square peg into a round hole. What would be the dimension of each side of a square peg that would fit perfectly into a round hole of diameter 1 inch? Three decimal places will suffice.

148 thoughts on “Saturday Morning Open Thread – Stupid Math Puzzles

  1. Ok, how about this one.

    There are 7 girls in a bus.
    Each girl has 7 backpacks.
    In each backpack, there are 7 big cats.
    For every big cat there are 7 little cats.

    Question: How many legs are there in the bus?

    (no bus driver)

  2. Sorry, not a math question, but my wife has a medical question. Actually, it’s more of a puzzle. If there is anybody on this site with a medical background, she would appreciate an answer. First, her situation. When she had the nasty stomach virus that was making the rounds last winter– the one with nausea and diarrhea– she got suppositories for nausea and anti-diarrheal meds. Her question is , why would the stomach medicine go up her butt and the butt medicine go in her mouth? Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. The nausea medicine needed to get into her bloodstream without going through the digestive system. After she could keep them down, she could then take the anti-diarrheal orally.

  4. med, 238 then.

    Are you sure the question isn;t supposed to be “how many legs are ON the bus”? because then the answer would be zero because buses don’t have legs.

    • During a visit to the mental asylum, I asked the Director how do
      you determine whether or not a patient should be institutionalized.

      ‘Well,’ said the Director, ‘we fill up a bathtub, then we offer a
      teaspoon, a teacup and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.’

      Which would YOU choose?

  5. I thought about that one, 5th but I hate those trick semantical math questions.

    A hint…how many big cats on the bus?

  6. Zooey, that’s like the joke about the salesman who gets a flat in front of a rural sanitarium. While he’s jacking the car up he notices one of the patients sitting on the fence, watching him intently. It makes him a little nervous but he keeps working.

    By the time he is ready to put the spare on he is getting pretty freaked out by the guy just staring at him and he drops the tire iron which, of course, hits the hub cap holding the lug nuts, sending them flying into the weeds.

    It is beginning to get dark but he searches for them, constantly looking over his shoulder at the nut watching him. He gives up and is wondering if he will have to go to the sanitarium and ask to use a phone when the nut speaks.

    “Why don’t you just take one nut of each of the other three wheels? When you get to town you can replace them.”

    The guy thinks about and decides it isn’t a bad idea.

    “Thanks. I’ll try that. Excuse me for saying so but that is a pretty rational idea for someone in, well, your condition.”

    “Mister, they put me in here cuz I’m crazy, not cuz I’m stupid.”

  7. Believe it or not, this was a math problem given to 5th graders. Took me three days to get it right but then math isn’t my best subject.

  8. I found the best way to drain a waterbed is with a 22 gallon shop-vac with the hose run to the vac on the ground outside the window. Once full, it is too heavy to move, but you can tip it over to empty it. Not always an option, but if you can adapt a garden hose to the vacuum’s hose, it speeds things up!

  9. Now he tells me. Thanks, house. I got lucky with the siphon first time and its about empty but that sounds like just the ticket to get those pesky last few gallons out.

    Now all I have to do is figure out how to adapt the hoses. Where did I put my duct tape?

  10. Be careful with that duct tape. It is just like The Force, it has a light side, a dark side, and it binds the universe together!

  11. 100 mile an hour tape is an old friend of mine. Back in high school we used to use it to hold windshields in our old dirt track stock cars.

    And Walt, thanks for teaching me how to ‘fish’. The tunes have been great here this afternoon. Now all I have to do is figure out how to hook my computer to my sound system because my computer speakers are pathetic.

  12. Med, I have a $5 Radio Shack adapter and two audio cables to the back of my receiver-amp. Goes in on the Aux inputs.

      • I just found out that my town is going to have one of those stupid teabagger parties on 4/15. I’ll be in class — dammit.

        The radio ad was SOOOOOO stupid. The voice-over talked about the history of the Boston Tea Party, and then went off into kooky land about people being tired of Obama’s deregulation ruining the economy, and Obama’s tax policies putting people out of work and ruining America — all of which bears no resemblance to the reasons for the Boston Tea Party!!

        I’d love to go down there and just point and laugh at those idiots.

  13. I may be the last of a vanishing breed. And the reason the bed is getting drained is that it is going bye-bye. New bed is supposed to be here Monday or Tuesday. One of those new fangled memory foam ones.

  14. I will guarantee these tea bag parties get front and center cover from the media. Unlike the various protests over the past few years. I know some people who went to Washington a while back and were part of a crowd of about 10,000 protesters and it never even got mentioned on the news.

    • The local peace group has been protesting in Friendship Square every Friday since before we invaded Iraq — no coverage. The teabaggers will be in Friendship Square on Wednesday, and I’ll bet $1 that’s the only thing on the front page of the paper the next day.

  15. It is such a crying shame that the main requirement to get media coverage and camera face time in America is stupidity.

    Thank you, America’s Funniest Home Videos.

  16. Says a lot about us. Yup, I’m gonna see if I can outstupid last weeks contestant! Hell, I can be dumber than that.

    Sigh, makes me proud.

  17. I only watched one show and have avoided the stupidity since. I know it isn’t totally rational but I didn’t want to chance that stupid was contagious.

    Same is true of ‘reality shows’. I haven’t watched a single one. It’s like the twisted kick of horror movies. You get to sit back and say, ‘I’m glad it wasn’t me.”

    • My parents were big fans, but I tried to avoid it at all costs. I’ve only watched one episode of Survivor — no other “reality” show. When the show was over, my son and I were in agreement in that we wished they were fighting with guns and knives. Such horrible people.

      My sister and her family have never missed an episode of Survivor. They just love it! It’s interesting that they are the Christian family, and my family are just dirty hippies.

  18. Don’t you just love those fine Christian folk who enjoy watching other people cut the throats of those around them? I always figured I didn’t have to wait for a knife in the back when dealing with dirty hippies.

  19. Most of the ones I knew would be more likely to fix you with this puppy look and say ‘why’d you want to do that?’

  20. Exactly. Violent hippie…the ultimate oxymoron. I may not want to wear the shirt a hippie would give me off his/her back but I do appreciate the sentiment.

  21. 7 girls = 14 legs
    7 backpacks each= 49 backpacks
    7 big cats/backpack = 343 big cats = 1,372 legs
    7 little cats/big cat = 2,401 lil cats = 9,604 legs
    total legs= 10,990

    I am not cleaning that bus.

  22. Ok, Walt, if a person shoots an arrow at a target and it covers half the distance to the target every second and the target is 100 ft away, when will Michelle Bachman’s head explode?

  23. Zooey, the first part is Zeno’s paradox, the arrow will never reach the target.

    Michelle’s head exploding? Only time will tell.

    Walt, the assumption was 4 legs per cat. I don’t even want to go into the statistical possibility of a tripod in the sample.

  24. House, an old avatar of mine, Kwai Chang Idiot would answer…to ask a question of a grasshopper sounds Republican.

  25. The paradox I always heard was “if a grasshopper jumps halfway to a wall on each jump, will it ever reach the wall?”. One might not get an answer from the grasshopper, but the grasshopper at least knows the answer.

    Now the machinist would always ask Quality Assurance to define the tolerance zone at which point the grasshopper was, for practical purposes, in contact with the wall.

  26. Thanks, Zooey. I was flattered about that comment on TP. I just hope I didn’t disappoint.

    Here’s an oldie but goody.

    An old timey rancher died and left his herd of horses to his three sons. The will specified that his oldest son would get one half of the horses, his second oldest would get third of the horses, and his youngest son would get one ninth. The only problem was he had 17 horses when he died. They asked a judge to ride in and help them solve the problem, and he did.

    How did the judge divide up the father’s horses and still give each son nothing but “whole horses”?

  27. I must admit, I haven’t read any comments **sheepish head bow**

    But, here’s the recipe for cayenne sweet potatoes.

    Cut the potatoes to whatever size you like (french fry-ish) and then toss them in olive oil, sea salt, and cayenne to taste (a little garlic if you like). Then bake them for about 45 min, turning once or twice. They don’t get real crispy, but their awesome.


    Now I shall go back and see what kind of wonderful dialog I have so rudely interrupted…

    **more sheepish behavior**

    • Thank you, ShadowBoxer!! And welcome to the Zoo.

      You won’t believe how many of us will appreciate recipes. Most of us are at the cesspool party — a regular Saturday night feature. 🙂

      Jeebus, that recipe looks awesome. I love the spicy.

  28. Holy crap I spelled their, should be they’re… some English teacher I am.

    If I get a chance while cooking tomorrow I’ll throw out the broccoli saute. (Not litterally)

    Have a happy day w/ fam. I know you all better than you know me. Been reading TP for about 4 yrs. Y’all are too well-armed for me to contend, but I learn a ton.


  29. okay.. cesspool emptied due to too many ‘clark bars’ floating around, slowing things up… so who’s present and correct in this thread now? .
    quick rollcall? .

  30. Just let the cat in for a snack and he wanted right back out. 68 degrees and a full moon make for good hunting I guess.

  31. 5th you live in Jersey, maybe you know one of my friends I graduated with. Mike Scott use to do the political cartoons for the Star Tribune, I think that is the name of the newspaper

  32. pachydiplax… (esponse to your last post at the cesspool thread)

    I said 1520-ISH, didn’t I? And I’m on my 8th beer, so… yeah it was Raleigh but that all just proves my case and deflates Wayne’s assumption.
    But to redeem myself , here’s a tip for you.
    You should not consider yourself a “tour guide” but a “docent”.
    A tour guide is a parrot, a docent is a constantly self educating educator. That would be YOU! 😀

    ( my sister in law is a docent for an historical house in VA)

  33. 5th, that was very funny, he was getting confused as he was singing it.

    My grandfather married sisters, need I say more. My uncle had a field day confusing people on how we were related…

  34. 5thstate

    Thanks I like that. Of course my badge says Tour Guide and I’m required, by law, to wear it when I give tours.

    I’m amazed at the number of natives here who don’t know diddly squat about their own history. And sometimes a “Yankee” seems too smarty pants for them. Then I ask them what makes a person a Yankee and they say anyone born north of the Mason-Dixon Line, which they think is the Florida-Georgia border. Thought there are some who think its the S. Carolina-N. Carolina border.

  35. Zooey:

    I’ve stayed up just so I could read your words again before going to bed and dreaming about your fuzz!

    Dragonflies are funny that way! 🙂

  36. Zooey, my husband had to go in and upload a new application upgrade. He is working from midnight to 4, this way it won’t cause any delays in the website.

  37. freedomrebel…

    You are making me smile: “maybe you know one of my friends I graduated with” .
    Jersey City alone has over twice the population of Akron.
    Newark is the next city over, getting on for 600,000. In between and all around are municipalities that probably account for an additional one million.people.
    My best chance of knowing your friend Mike would be if we had a mutual car accident.

    But I could certainly look him up. Scott is a rare last name in my area.

    Please understand, it’s a charming inquiry and I don’t mean anything condescending by being amused–its all a matter of perspective.

    When I first came to the States (in ’82) I was a rarity as an Englishman, and Manhattan-ites no less would say to me: “Oh! You’re English! I have an English friend , you probably know him /her !”

    The desire to find common ground and friendship overrode common sense–I was just one of 40 million English people after all. 😀

    • Way back in the days of making orders on the telephone, rather than online, the operator asked me to repeat what state I was in and I told her “Idaho.” She said, “Iowa?” And I said, “No, Idaho. It’s out west.” She said, “Oh, welcome to America.”

      I was just speechless.

  38. I must confess, however, that in addition to waiting for you Zooey, I was hoping my “geologist” would stop by to see me tonight. I did hear from her and she said I’ll see some stones by Monday. 😦

  39. I didn’t mean know him personally, I’m getting drifty. I’m normally not up at this time in the morning. My typing got ahead of my brain.

    I meant know his cartoons! He did political cartoons, for about 10 years, I think.

    • Oy, I’m a north Idaho wimp. I need to hit the sack. I’ve got another long day of getting notes organized for my Psych of Emotion exam next week. Then I have to study!

      Goodnight, my friends. It’s been a lovely evening.

  40. Zooey, he had to go into work to upload on the main servers. He is not real happy about it. He was suppose to have the whole weekend off and he has been working on this application since last night.

  41. 5thstate

    When I was in the Navy in 1964 my ship berthed in the Queen Elizabeth’s dry dock in Southhampton. I met a woman, Jeannie Harding, who lived at 36 Sylvia Crescent, Testwood Totton, Hants, England. Now I know you had to know her!

    Why do I still remember that after all these years when I can’t remember to pay bills on time today?

    Dragonflies are strange creatures!

  42. freedom…
    that’s a hard shift (in my experience)–I don’t envy your husband one bit.
    A colleague of mine had to do weekend maintenance on the company e-mail system ( 20, 000 national and international users) every other weekend, on top of his regular work-week, 10 pm Saturday to 4 am Sunday and he had to drive 1 hr 45 min each way to do it (and he didn’t get paid overtime rates for it either). .

    No surprise then that one night he fell asleep at the wheel on the way back from his shift–went off the highway and hit a tree.
    The cops thought he was dead, or as good-as. The nearly-worst part was that his wedding was two weeks away.
    The absolutely worst part was that his fiancee ( such a lovely girl) was one of the ER nurses on duty at the hospital he was rushed-to. It took her a minute before she realized who her patient was.

    It all ended happily though. .



  43. 5th, his company is internet based, so he is the only one that can do these major upgrades. If there is so much as 5 minutes down time the directors have a seizure.

    It is a very hard shift. That was the only time it could be scheduled between all the backups to system that have to be done nightly.

    I am glad to hear your friend had a happy ending. That is scary when you start falling asleep at the wheel…

  44. houseofroberts

    I hope the weather not too bad in your area. Florida has a couple of rivers that are overflowing because of the rains north of the state. They’re saying those rains will get here to St. Augustine on Monday.

  45. freedom… LOL 😀

    Yes I do know Mike Scott’s cartoons quite well.from the Star Ledger ( a ‘real’ newspaper) and I may actually have corresponded with him briefly over some particularly salient cartoon (if my memory serves me correctly) some time in 2007.
    He’s an artist. I will bookmark him, as I should have a long time ago.

  46. I’m glad you enjoyed his work. He is a truly gifted artist. Mike was just as good in High School. He did all the artwork for our yearbooks.

  47. pachydiplax:
    Jeannie Harding, 36 Sylvia Crescent, Testwood Totton, Hants, England? 1964?

    I didn’t know her, but I ‘knew’ her daughter! 😀

    Of course we are both joking…BUT! I have a story about preposterous circumstance I’m suddenly reminded of ( it involves S-E-X and the Tropics) .

    Whilst I gather my thoughts… by all that is holy which idiot decided that “Hants” was reasonable shorthand for Hampshire!? Being English I should know, but I DON’T! 😀

  48. Time for me to get some sleep. It’s been fun 🙂

    Thank you for an entertaining evening…

    Goodnight House, 5th & Pach!

  49. freedomrebel:

    Kissimmee is southwest of Orlando and due for rain on Monday but no high wind forecast like there is for St. Augustine.

    Of all the mispronunciations of place name in Florida Kissimmee is perhaps the most often mispronounced. Outsiders say Kiss-a-me, Floridians pronounce it Ka-sem-me.

    Sorrento is between Kissimmee and St. Augustine, northeast of Orlando so they’ll be getting wet on Monday also.

  50. freedom…

    I have an art background, genetically and scholastically; art was supposed to be my career.
    Take away the political content, and what Mike draws is still art as far as I’m concerned.

  51. 5thstate

    If remembering Miss Harding isn’t bad enough, I also me a Finnish exchange student in Southampton:

    Mirja Piccaninn
    Kimpissenkatu 30
    Lappeenranta, Finland

    I still have pictures of both of them in a photo album while I don’t have any of my 1st wife!

  52. Well 5th, they would have thrown us out a bar an hour and a half ago.

    Good talking to so, see you later and have a good night.

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