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Shortest Long Number (Posted on 2004-04-15) Difficulty: 3 of 5
What is the smallest positive integer that cannot be defined in less than twenty-five syllables?

See The Solution Submitted by Sam    
Rating: 3.0833 (12 votes)

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Paradoxes vrs. Dilemmas | Comment 38 of 49 |

Sam is correct to say that paradoxes stimulate thought. I was a jerk to dismiss this puzzle as "logic chopping". It is a good puzzle.

But good dilemmas goes beyond paradoxes by not just stimulating thought, but actually improving the mind and the character of those who ponder them. I am planning to post some ethical and philosophical dilemmas in the problem queue. As there is no specific category for them, I will post them in "General". These will probably be voted down by the Scholars of Perplexus, who might feel that puzzles about how to efficiently slide quarters on a table are much more appropriate to Perplexus. But I am going to post them anyway. 

As a specific example (this is just an example, not an attempt to go outside normal channels in posting problems. Please don't try to answer it):

The ship you were on has sunk, and you are alone in a lifeboat in the middle of the Ocean. 200 meters to starboard you observe a man drowning. You recognize him as a famous doctor who is doing promising research on an AIDS vaccine. As you are about to row over to rescue him, you notice that 200 meters to port there are 20 small children who are also drowning.

You cannot save both the doctor and the children. Whom should  you save ?

I think that trying to answer that question, is a better use of one's time than trying to find a Magic Knight's Tour, but maybe that's just me. 

"The unexamined life is not worth living." - Socrates, 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited on April 16, 2004, 8:22 am
  Posted by Penny on 2004-04-16 08:12:03

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