As you are leaving from your previous ordeal, you notice that another convict is being taken to a jail cell. As you watch the guard and the convict go to the cell, they start talking.
"You do realize your rights, right?" says the guard.
The convict replies, "The judge said something strange, but I didn't understand it. What was it?"
"You are free to go anytime you like," declares the guard, "as long as you fulfill the required conditions. In your case, your door is secured with a ten-digit lock. If you can guess the right number, you are free to go."
"That's easy," says the prisoner. " I can just keep guessing numbers until I guess the right one."
"Even so," says the guard, "it would take you a hundred years to find the right number at the rate of one per second. Of course, you can always look for the hints we give you." He then points at you and proceeds to tell the new prisoner about your imprisonment.
"In addition to the normal...amenities, you have a desk and a scientific calculator. Good luck." The guard walks away.
You stand there for a few minutes before you realize that you can go. As you turn to leave, you notice that the new prisoner is walking up behind you.
"Wow, this place is great!" he says. "I only had to input one number!"
What number did he try?
(In reply to my solution
Actually, the number of seconds in a year can vary. In order to maintain the proper relationship between noon and the meridian passage of the mean (average) sun at the central meridians of the time zones, an extra second can be thrown in at the end of June or end of December (by GMT). This intercalation is not predictable, as the slowing of the earth's rotation is irregular, and every 6 months the decision is made as to whether or not the next available June or December will get its extra second.
Posted by Charlie
on 2006-03-31 09:53:15