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Critical Thinking Questions – The Thought Process Behind Answering the Questions (Part 03)

This is a continuation of Critical Thinking Questions and Evaluations - Part 02, bringing with it some new questions!

Question 7: Disappearing Man

Question: For several days a man stood in the parking lot looking up at the apartment building across the street. This man was becoming a nuisance and one of the tenants of the building phoned the local authorities to have the man removed. Several days later, when the authorities finally responded to the call, the man was gone. All they found were a couple of buttons and his hat. Who was the man they just missed?

Thought Process

This one may have instantly popped up in your head, or it may not have. As soon as I saw the “couple of buttons and hat,” my first thought was that this reminds me of Frosty the Snowman. So let us break this one down a bit more to see.

  • The man, or “man,” was in the street, presumably for an extended period of time (being days)
  • As soon as the police get there, he is gone but his items are still there

Were this to be a true man, he would have not left anything behind. Or at least not his hat and buttons. The only two scenarios I can think of where someone would disappear like this are a ghost or a snow man (after melting). Technically we could include witches with this as well, although I would argue that they fall under the same category as the snow man when it comes to the melting part.

Being that we know what we do, the only thing that fits here is the snow man!

Answer

He was a snowman who was standing in one of the tenant's parking spots.

Question 8: Captain Ahab's Ship

Question: Captain Ahab called upon all his powers to navigate his ship through the angry seas. He was only a half day from reaching land, and his ship, full of priceless ostrich feathers, was getting wetter by the wave. Ahab knew that if he took on much more water they would go down like a ship of wet feathers! Captain Ahab thought back to the many calculations he had made when loading the ship so that he would be ready if such a situation arose. Now that it had, he desperately tried to remember what he had concluded. Would a ton of wet ostrich feathers weigh the ship down that much more than a ton of dry ostrich feathers?

Thought Process

This can be a bit of a trick question, depending on how you look at it and how you interpret it. It is kind of like asking if a ton of towels would weigh more when it it is full of water. But what the question is asking is essentially which of these would weigh more:

  • A ton of dry feathers
  • A ton of wet feathers

Because of this, we can conclude that both of them are a ton. Being that they are not going to be floating the ship, if it is going to go down it is probably still going to go down; the weight here is inside the ship, rather than outside it, so its buoyancy should not have any relevance to the outcome.

Now, if we interpret this the other way, such as whether a ton of dry feathers and a ton of feathers that is wet (assuming that same ton of dry ones is what is taking on water) would weigh the same, that would be a definite no, being that the water has to be added to the weight. So really, this is a trick question and it all depends on how you read it. For this question, though, we are taking it as it says, rather than trying to decipher what it is really trying to say.

Answer

Not likely – a ton is a ton!

Question 9: Political Overthrow

Question: Pete Platform and Gary Gladhand, two popular politicians, met at a club to discuss the overthrow of their party leader. They each ordered a vodka on the rocks. Gary downed his and ordered another. He then drank his second in a gulp and decided to wait before he ordered a third. Meanwhile, Pete, who was sipping his drink, suddenly fell forward dead. Both men were set up for an assassination. Why did Pete die and Gary Live?

Thought Process

This is a very tough question. So let us start with the basics. The information we know is:

  • Both men were set up for an assassination, presumably via the same method
  • Pete drank two drinks fairly quickly, and Gary drank his slowly, but only Gary died

We can deduce from this that whatever happened has to do with the drinks. Now, there is one possibility that comes to mind pretty quick: the drinks were of different sizes. If Pete drank his quick but had smaller ones than Gary, this may make sense. Being that there is no indication of different drink sizes, we need to look in to what the drinks are as well. So what do we find here? Well, the drinks are “on the rocks.” This means that they include ice as well. So really, the drinks are both vodka and ice.

When we consider these facts, we then have to decide what could change how these work. Being that one died while sipping his slowly and the other gulped down a lot, we can assume that the vodka itself was not poisonous. But what about the ice?

When you pour a drink with ice, you probably know that it takes a little while for the ice to melt (which will be determined by the temperature of the drink, the ambient temperature of the room, etc.). If you drink your drink very fast, you will end up with a ton of un-melted ice left over. On the other hand, if you drink it really slow the ice will melt and what you are drinking is going to be a lot of water (or at least watered down versions of whatever it is you were drinking at the time). So let us assume that maybe there is something wrong with the ice. Here are the two scenarios that come to mind when analyzing this:

  • Pete drank his vodka very fast, therefore the ice was left pretty much untouched
  • Gary drank his vodka slowly, so the ice had plenty of time to melt

This brings us to the conclusion that maybe the ice was tainted. It would make sense, being that the slower drinker is the one that died, rather than the faster one.

Answer

Both Platform and Gladhand were given drinks with poisoned ice cubes. Gladhand drank his drinks so quickly that the ice did not have a chance to melt and release the poison.

Trivia


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