Somebody has compiled a list of questions Google apparently throws at its interviewees. I’m down with that game. Let’s see what happens.
1. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
Normal bus or short bus?
2. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds. What do you do?
Probably Twitter it.
3. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
Twice as much.
4. How would you find out if a machine’s stack grows up or down in memory?
Ask its mother.
5. Explain a database in three sentences to your eight-year-old nephew.
You know your daddy? How he knows everything? It’s kinda like that.
6. How many times a day does a clock’s hands overlap?
7. You have to get from point A to point B. You don’t know if you can get there. What would you do?
Redefine my location as B and believe.
8. Imagine you have a closet full of shirts. It’s very hard to find a shirt. So what can you do to organize your shirts for easy retrieval?
Care less about which specific shirt I grab and move on. I did that this morning.
9. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated, but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?
All the guys jump on the next JetBlue flight to Vegas.
10. In a country in which people only want boys, every family continues to have children until they have a boy. If they have a girl, they have another child. If they have a boy, they stop. What is the proportion of boys to girls in the country?
Approximately two girls to one guy. Where is this place? No, wait. It’s two guys to a girl. Remind me never to visit.
11. If the probability of observing a car in 30 minutes on a highway is 0.95, what is the probability of observing a car in 10 minutes (assuming constant default probability)?
12. If you look at a clock and the time is 3:15, what is the angle between the hour and the minute hands? (The answer to this is not zero!)
13. Four people need to cross a rickety rope bridge to get back to their camp at night. Unfortunately, they only have one flashlight and it only has enough light left for seventeen minutes. The bridge is too dangerous to cross without a flashlight, and it’s only strong enough to support two people at any given time. Each of the campers walks at a different speed. One can cross the bridge in 1 minute, another in 2 minutes, the third in 5 minutes, and the slow poke takes 10 minutes to cross. How do the campers make it across in 17 minutes?
1 and 2 go first. Two minutes. 1 comes back with the flashlight, hands it to 5 and 10. Three minutes. 5 and 10 cross, handing the flashlight to 2. Thirteen minutes. 2 crosses. Fifteen minutes. 2 and 1 return. Seventeen minutes.
14. You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present including you and the friend. Your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find that has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds that does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. Would you accept the wager?
Only if Neil Diamond, Sharon Tate, Mary Lou Retton, Natassja Kinski, Warren Zevon, Ernest Borgnine, and my buddy Paulie were there.
15. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?
All of them.
16. You have eight balls all of the same size. 7 of them weigh the same, and one of them weighs slightly more. How can you find the ball that is heavier by using a balance and only two weighings?
Put three balls on each side. First shot. If it’s even, weigh the remaining two and you’re golden. If it’s off, things start getting complicated.
17. You have five pirates, ranked from 5 to 1 in descending order. The top pirate has the right to propose how 100 gold coins should be divided among them. But the others get to vote on his plan, and if fewer than half agree with him, he gets killed. How should he allocate the gold in order to maximize his share but live to enjoy it? (Hint: One pirate ends up with 98 percent of the gold.)
Pirate 5 proposes that he gets 98 coins, with Pirate 4 and Pirate 3 getting a coin each. Pirate 4 and Pirate 3 must realize they should comply, else end up with nothing.
Do you still think you have what it takes to work for Google?
I’m feeling lucky.