Set Theory and Weather Prediction

Here’s a puzzle: You and Bob are going to play a game which has the following steps. Bob thinks of some function (it’s arbitrary: it doesn’t have to be continuous or anything). You pick an . Bob reveals to you the table of values of his function on every input except the one you specified […]

Is the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever” too Easy?

In 1992, the philosopher George Boolos gave what he called the “Hardest Logic Puzzle Ever”, which he attributed to Raymond Smullyan. In 2008, a clever paper by two graduate students, Brian Rabern and Landon Rabern, appeared in the philosophical journal “Analysis” which gave a simpler solution to the puzzle than Boolos gave—and furthermore claimed that […]

One Puzzle with Two Totally Different Solutions

Peter Winkler‘s excellent book Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur’s Collection has in it the problem of finding a partition of into disjoint non-trivial circles. (Here “non-trivial” means “not a point.”) Winkler gives a very clever solution which is purely geometric. Later, I read the same problem in Krzysztof Ciesielski‘s excellent book Set Theory for the Working […]