Wheels without wheels

Too easy? Then what kind of surface would make a vehicle with square wheels ride smoothly?

Published: 25th November 2018 04:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th November 2018 11:55 AM   |  A+A-

A German professor explains to his audience how people in his country don’t need to go to the sea to experience the sensations of pitching and rolling, His solution? Put oval wheels on their carriages. A critic listening agrees but he cannot understand how they could make a carriage roll. “They do not match,” the prof replies. “The end of one wheel answers to the side of the opposite wheel. So one side of the carriage rises, then the other and it pitches all the while. Is it possible to arrange such wheels so that it would pitch and roll at the same time?

Too easy? Then what kind of surface would make a vehicle with square wheels ride smoothly?

(The problem was: “Remember Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats? Well, when he wrote it he was living with one Charles Brown who gives the background dope thus: ‘In the spring of 1819 a nightingale had built her nest near my house. Keats felt a tranquil and continual joy in her song . . .’ Notice something wrong here?”)

Both John Keats and his friend Charles Brown apparently believed that it was the female of the nightingale species that sang. Keats could plead poetic licence so that he could metaphorically refer to the nightingale as the Dryad, the tree nymph in Greek mythology.
Contrary to their belief or poetic licence, mundane, prosaic humans like us know that the male nightingale is the singer among the Luscinia megarhynchos species and not the females.--
Balagopalan Nair K, balagopalannair@gmail.com

Keats wasn’t the only one. Shakespeare made the same mistake; when Juliet tells Romeo - “Believe me, love, it was the nightingale. Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree”. -- Saifuddin S F Khomosi, Dubai (The second one was: “You love your girl/boy friend and want to send him/her a ring. Unfortunately, you live where anything not in a padlocked box will get stolen. Both od you have plenty of locks but not the keys to each other’s locks. So how can you make sure she/he gets the ring? Please don’t give the classic answer. We want another way.”)

The boy puts a lock to the box and sends it to the girl (or vice-versa).The girl then puts another lock to the box and sends back to the boy (or vice-versa).The boy unlocks his own lock with the key he has and resends the box to the girl (or vice-versa).The girl (or boy) gets the box and unlocks her (or his) own lock with the key she (or he) has and finds the ring.

And they lived happily ever after. -- Captain Jack Sparrow, subham.jacksparrow@gmail.com (Hey Johnny the Depp II, you still gave only the classic answer -- MS)
I ask her to send me an empty box pad locked with two chain ends attached to the lock. On receiving the box with two ends of two chains dangling to it I put the ring in another box and pass one chain through the pad lock and put my lock locking the two chains together.

I send the boxes to her. She opens her lock, the chain’s end opens and can be pulled out and box can be opened to take the ring. That’s if only two boxes tied by chain are allowed to be sent like this could be an answer, -- Raghavendra Rao Hebbani, rao.raghavendrah@gmail.com

Depending on one’s assumptions, other solutions are possible too. It requires that the person find a padlock whose key has a large hole, or at least a hole which can be sufficiently enlarged by drilling, so that the key can be hooked onto a second padlock’s hasp.

This person then uses the second padlock, with the aforementioned key hooked on its hasp, to lock a small empty box which he then sends to his lover. When enough time has passed for it to get there (perhaps he awaits an email acknowledgment) he sends the ring in another box, locked by the first padlock. When she/he gets the ring box, she/he picks up the whole first box and uses the key affixed to it to access her ring. -- Dhruv Narayan, dhruv510@gmail.com

The planets of our solar system are such that if you replace the alphabet of five of them by numbers zero though nine then the sum of them is equal to the fifth one. Name these planets and find the number denoting each alphabet. Assume that Earth is not considered and no leading zeros are allowed.

Sharma is a scriptwriter and former editor of Science Today magazine.


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