The druggist gives your terminally wasted body five bottles filled with miraculous life saving tablets. The tablets contained in each bottle are identical in appearance and size (meaning, if you mixed all of them you wouldn’t be able to differentiate between them and would probably end up dying faster than you should).

Four of the bottles hold tablets that weigh 10 grams each, and the remaining bottle holds tablets that weigh nine grams each. But you don’t know which bottle is the one holding the lighter tablets. Now you’re given a weighing scale that can only be used once. How do you determine which bottle is holding the nine gram tablets? Note: assume the bottles are large and you have an unlimited quantity of pills from each.

THROUGHPUT

(The problem not getting younger any longer was: “What’s common to David Pritchard and etc etc etc. Here’s a hint: one of them won the Nobel Prize and one the Ig Nobel Prize.”)

These people were their own experimental subjects, ie., they used their own self for experimenting, in their course of research. The fields of their research can easily be Googled. -- Saifuddin S F Khomosi, Dubai

Donald Unger received the Medicine Ig Nobel Prize for cracking the knuckles of his left hand for 60 years to see if the habit contributes to arthritis (it didn’t). Barry Marshall, won the Nobel Prize after ingesting cultured H. pylori, and proved that ulcers were caused by bacteria. -- Dhruv Narayan, *dhruv510@gmail.com*

(The second one was: “Why can we not hear our heartbeats even though sound waves travel faster in solid media than in air and water?”)

The reason why we can’t hear our own heartbeat is because our minds have evolved in such a way that it “turns down” or filters out the internal vibrations so that we can focus on the external stimuli. Thus the region called the insular cortex separates the internal and external disturbances which help us in various activities. The same goes for blood flow, pulse, bone movements, etc. -- --Lipika Muthu, *geelipm@gmail.com*

If we allow our senses to be distracted by the sounds from our innards we run the risk of missing all the important activities going on around us. Skipping a beat or two at the sight of a babe or a hunk is an “interpersonal experience” an experience that produces a strong emotion. As insular cortex is responsible for both interpersonal experience and emotion, we can feel the heart skipping a beat or two. This is not the same as hearing heartbeats. Moreover, sighting a babe or hunk is an external stimulus and therefore is of a higher priority for the insular cortex. -- Balagopalan Nair K, *alagopalannair@gmail.com*

(The third problem was: “We know that 4*4 is adding 4 four times and 16/4 is 4 times deducting 4 from 16. But how can we apply the same logic from the first principles as above in the case of a multiplication or division operation when both minus signs are involved as in (-4)*(-4) and (-16)/(-4)?”)

The product of two negative numbers can be viewed as the “negation of a negation” or a double negative and the result is a positive number. (Imagine owing a friend a negative number of apples.

This would be the same as having those apples in the first place!) Thus, ( -4)*(-4) = +16. Division, unlike multiplication, is not commutative. The rules for dividing negative numbers are the same as those for multiplication: if the dividend and divisor are either both positive or both negative, the quotient is positive, and if one is positive and the other negative, then the quotient is negative. Thus, (-16)/(- 4) = +4. -- Shashi Shekher Thakur, *shashishekher@yahoo.com*

**BUT GOOGLE THIS NOW**

1. Three chess players agree to play a series of games for a prize which would go to the first player to win two consecutive games. The players draw lots to see which two shall play the first game and from then on the winner plays against the person who just sat out. Assuming the three players to have exactly equal skills, what are their respective chances ?

2. A lady enters a room and sees two gentlemen inside, wishes them hello and in turn gets hellos. So how many hellos have been spoken if finally there were 16 people inside and two families of four members each were a part of the crowd? There is no gender sensitivity in the problem. Assume one entry at a time. Also assume that a family does not wish amongst itself.