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Journal Chacham's Journal: Book: Raymond Smullyan's books are silly.

So, as if the blackout is still going on, i'm reading a book. "What is the name of this book?". Borrowed from a friend who bought it for about three dollars. I have another book from the same author, overall the books are interesting, but stupid. In some puzzles you just have to know what *he* is thinking. As a cute example, he asks the age-old question: "100 yards south of a bear, walk 100 yards east, turn north, and shoot, hit the bear. Where are you?" He quotes the North Pole answers, but then says technically, it can also be an area north of the South Pole where the circumference around the pole is 100 yards (or 50, or 100/3, etc.). Good catch, but then adds that one must assume that a brown bear was not transported there. Ah, so he's technical.

Then he gets in with a train leaving New York for Boston, and an hour later a train leaves Boston for New York. Which is closer to Boston when they meet. He says they are equal. He's incorrect though. One train is always closer. Why? Because when they meet, they are head to head. If the New York train is not yet in the Boston station, the tail of the Boston train will be closer to Boston. And, if the New York train could make it to Boston in that hour, and the train that was leaving Boston started elsewhere, (and the station was on the edge of town, with the head on the train exactly on or past the border) when the met the New York train would be closer. The second one is a stretch, but, technically, he was incorrect.

Here's another example of silliness, two men stand for trial, the jury finds one guilty of murder, and the other not guilty, the judge cannot sentence the person, why?" The answer is they are Siamese twins. Seriously silly. Then the midget in the elevator question, the book would seem almost as stupid as MENSA's puzzle books.

However, given the variety, the books seems worth a longer read. And, even when he's incorrect, the question can be interesting. The next JE should mention one.

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Book: Raymond Smullyan's books are silly.

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