When I was a kid, I loved Mad Magazine, and read it a lot (And from an early age! What were my parents thinking?!?)
Oddball, indeed. In reading them over, was sorely tempted to answer them with “snappy answers”. Here are a few for your amusement.
The original questions from the article are in this color. The snappy answers are basically what occurred to me when I first read the question.
Snappy Answers 1-12
1. “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30pm on a Friday?” – (Google)
Snappy answer: All of them. It’s San Francisco.
2. “Just entertain me for five minutes, I’m not going to talk.” – (Acosta)
3. “If Germans were the tallest people in the world, how would you prove it?” – (Hewlett-Packard)
Snappy answer: Measure all instances of Germans pairwise against all other humans by transporting them all to Düsseldorf and placing them back-to-back in the Marktplatz . This means measuring all 81 million Germans against the other 7 billion inhabitants. This only requires worst case 67,000,000,000,000,000 comparisons and hence is computationally efficient. We can accomplish this in a few hours on a dual core Pentium, though it may require a little more time on an Apple ][ running iOS. If all Germans are pairwise taller than all other humans, it is proven.
4. “What do you think of garden gnomes?” – (Trader Joe’s)
Snappy answer: White hat or black hat?
5. “Is your college GPA reflective of your potential?” – (Advisory Board)
Snappy answer: Not sure why they would be related. To measure my potential, I recommend a voltmeter.
6. “Would Mahatma Gandhi have made a good software engineer?” –(Deloitte)
Snappy answer: Unlikely. This great man passed in 1948, only two years after the debut of ENIAC. Though Turing complete, programming the ENIAC was pretty far removed from what we now call software engineering.
7. “If you could be #1 employee but have all your coworkers dislike you or you could be #15 employee and have all your coworkers like you, which would you choose?” – (ADP)
Snappy answer: If the company has fewer than 15 employees, I’d choose #1.
8. “How would you cure world hunger?” – (Amazon.com)
Snappy answer: First solve for global conflict; this generalizes to solve world hunger by side effect.
9. “Room, desk and car – which do you clean first?” – (Pinkberry)
Snappy answer: Work from home.
10. “Does life fascinate you?” – (Ernst & Young)
Snappy answer: Very much so! I particularly like the Gosper glider gun.
11. “Given 20 ‘destructible’ light bulbs (which breaks at certain height), and a building with 100 floors, how do you determine the height that the light bulb breaks?” – (QUALCOMM)
Snappy answer: Drop one from the 100th floor. If it breaks, you have found a height at which it breaks. If compact fluorescent, report to the EPA.
12. “Please spell ‘diverticulitis’.” – (EMSI Engineering)
Snappy answer: P-I-T-A