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william wu
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What's The Temperature Outside?  
« on: Feb 1st, 2003, 2:47pm »
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An actual interview riddle I was asked by Microsoft yesterday! The interviewer was also quite forward about assuring that I credit him if I add his riddle, because then he would be "so psyched" Smiley The contributor is Andrew Gottlieb.
 
 

You are in a building, and you want to know what the temperature is outside. How do you do it?

 
 
The way this riddle works is, after you mention a possible solution, the interviewer says that solution is not possible and asks what else you can do. So the scenario gets increasingly difficult, and it comes down to coming up with as many solutions as you can.  
 
 
Example Dialogue:
 
You: "Well you could use X to find the temperature"
Them: "OK let's say there are no X's lying around"
You: "OK, perhaps you could try Y"
Them: "Y is broken, what else"
 
 
 
To avoid spoiling the problem for initial forum browsers, please remember to hide your answers. Thanks!
« Last Edit: Feb 1st, 2003, 3:21pm by william wu » IP Logged


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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #1 on: Feb 1st, 2003, 3:09pm »
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1. Open windows, use thermometer
2. Use PC to check forcast
3. Phone someone outside, and ask
4. Check temp in room, estimate outside temp by knowing thermal conductivity of the walls
5. Depending on the country you're in, the total electrical consumption may be connected to the temp -- check it
6. Check your watch for date and time. Make educated guess
 
 
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #2 on: Feb 1st, 2003, 3:33pm »
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1. Spit out the window. If it freezes before it hits the ground, it's cold.
2. Kiss someone who just came in from the outdoors. If your tongue sticks to his or her cheek, it's cold.
3. Throw open the window and then time how long it takes for somebody to shout, "Shut that *&^% window! Don't you know it's x below zero outside?"
4. Turn the thermostat off and stand there with a shotgun and a bottle of brandy until the temperature indoors and out is the same. By that time the brandy will be gone and you won't remember what the question was.
5. Count the number of times a cricket chirps in 15 seconds and adding forty. If it doesn't chirp, subtract 40. If it keeps on chirping, you'll be glad you have that shotgun.
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #3 on: Feb 2nd, 2003, 2:35am »
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1. walk outside with a thermometer
2. check weather forecasts in your area on tv
3. check weather forecasts in your area on the radio
4. paste a thermometer on a window, insulate the system from the inside, estimate outside temperature after researching thermal conductivity of window glass
5. drill a hole in a wall and insert a temperature reading sensor through it
6. yell really loudly demanding to know what the temperature is outside. hopefully nearby pedestrians will hear your demented calls
7. from the ground floor, dig a tunnel out of the building  
8. design a waterproof robot that you can flush down the toilet. when on the outside, the robot transmits temperature readings wirelessly back to you
9. launch rockets or pornography or other offensive materials up the chimney stack such that nearby homes are peppered with your garbage. local authorities demand that you cease these public disturbances immediately, but you refuse, and they can't arrest you because microsoft has sealed all entrances to the building. eventually swat teams march over and force down the walls with heavy machinery. while being escorted to a police car, you can find out what the temperature is outside, hurrah!
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #4 on: Feb 2nd, 2003, 12:21pm »
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Question: If I'm trapped inside this building so that I can't just walk out the door and measure the temperature directly, and if the walls/windows are insulating well enough that I cannot measure it through them, why, pray tell, would I have the slightest interest in what the temperature is outside?   Angry
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #5 on: Feb 2nd, 2003, 1:09pm »
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Interviewer: You are in a building, and you want to know what the temperature is outside. How do you do it?
 
Icarus: Walk outside and measure.
 
Interviewer: You are trapped inside.
 
Icarus: Measure the temperature through the wall / window.
 
Interviewer: These are perfectly insulated.
 
Icarus (angrily): If I'm trapped inside this building so that I can't just walk out the door and measure the temperature directly, and if the walls/windows are insulating well enough that I cannot measure it through them, why, pray tell, would I have the slightest interest in what the temperature is outside?  
 
Interviewer: Hmmm, yes……    NEXT!
 
 Grin Grin Grin
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #6 on: Feb 2nd, 2003, 6:21pm »
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When I am outside and want to know the temperature, the first step I take is to go inside, then I use some of the methods people are describing.
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #7 on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 12:15am »
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Hold interviews and ask people how they would measure the outside temperature, then procede to try those out (as long as they're safe)
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #8 on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 3:51am »
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The temperature Outside is naturally 0 Kelvin (+- a negligible, depending on solar conditions and all, or if you look at it little differently, on average)
 
[edit] explaining how you got the solution...  
 
Solution A
1. define outside to be outside the planet.
2. Any physics textbook will tell you its really cold out there. Really cold. Almost absolute zero which is 0K.
3. Q.E.D. it is 0 degrees Kelvin outside. (nearest degree)
 
Solution B
1. define outside to be everywhere outside the building.
2. Since the universe is very big and mostly very cold, the average temperature/volume is going to approach absolute 0.
3. Therefore it is absolute 0 (nearest degree)
« Last Edit: Feb 3rd, 2003, 4:18am by Wacky » IP Logged
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #9 on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 4:03am »
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define your own temperature scale, and proclaim the current outside temperature 0 degrees <your name here>
Alternativevely make it a relative temperature scale and define the outside temperature to always be 0 degrees <your name here>
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #10 on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 1:41pm »
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A different solution my parents came up with:
 

Turn on the faucet and measure the temperature of the first couple seconds of water that come out. This may only be a solution if the water pipes to this faucet are exposed above ground.  
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #11 on: Feb 3rd, 2003, 8:08pm »
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on Feb 2nd, 2003, 1:09pm, BNC wrote:
Interviewer: You are in a building, and you want to know what the temperature is outside. How do you do it?
 
Icarus: Walk outside and measure.
 
Interviewer: You are trapped inside.
 
Icarus: Measure the temperature through the wall / window.
 
Interviewer: These are perfectly insulated.
 
Icarus (angrily): If I'm trapped inside this building so that I can't just walk out the door and measure the temperature directly, and if the walls/windows are insulating well enough that I cannot measure it through them, why, pray tell, would I have the slightest interest in what the temperature is outside?  
 
Interviewer: Hmmm, yes……    NEXT!
 
 Grin Grin Grin

 
Actually, this brings up another question: Why would I want a job at Microsoft? I'm already plagued by them too much!
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #12 on: Feb 28th, 2003, 10:23pm »
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How about saying Id use a stop watch and a room temp glass of water, temp you got from thermostat in building, then take it outside and time 30sec and use said thermostat, which you stole from building, to measure then do so again in 1 min then use great Newtons law of cooling to find outside temp. of course then they say the thermos broken and you have to go into the making of one yourself, kinda hard get the mercury i bet but hell im working so i got nothing better to do right?
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #13 on: Mar 3rd, 2003, 12:37am »
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you could use alcohol instead of mercury for a thermometer.. It's a good, less toxic, alternative..
 
you could also use two strips of different metal and weld them together, on strip will expand faster than the other if temperature rises so you can read the temperature by the curvature of the joint strips. You could also use the change in resistance of metal etc
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #14 on: Mar 3rd, 2003, 6:15pm »
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I go to supply and get a box of rubber bands. Head to the break room, put them in the microwave, and let it run until they melt. I dip the end of a straw from the cafeteria in the resulting rubber goop and start carefully twirling and blowing, as a glass maker would, until I have formed a balloon. Once the balloon cools, I inflate it and tie it off, filling the opening with "white-out" to prevent air leaks. I next stuff a styrofoam cup in the break room sink drain to stop it, and fill the sink with water and ice. I plunge the balloon in this mixture, and once it has adjusted, measure the diameter with the calipers I keep in my desk. Drain the sink, and refill it with boiling water, heated in styrofoam cups in the microwave (using the coffee for such a purpose is a good way to find an early death at the hands of your addicted co-workers). Put the balloon back in the sink and measure the diameter again.
 
I next build a tripod out of pens and paper clips by a window overlooking the parking lot. Taking the laser pointer out of the nearest unguarded conference room, I attach it to the tripod.  
 
I also tie two pencils together at the top, forming a compass. Differing angles can be fixed by supergluing toothpicks to the sides of the pencils, and then breaking them off when a new angle needs to be set. I draw a large circle on a sheet of paper, then use my knowledge of geometric construction to divide the circle into degrees, minutes, and seconds. I copy this onto a second page and tape them to a couple of cardboard binder ends. Back at the tripod I mount them below and beside my laser pointer.
 
Pulling a thread from my shirt, I tie a binder to one end as a plumb weight, and hang it off my tripod. This determines true vertical and I adjust my vertical protractor accordingly. Using it, I can also determine true horizontal, and adjust the horizontal protractor as well. A few lines off the laser pointer determines its center of rotation. I line up the protractors to have their centers to correspond.
 
By measuring the distance to the window using my plumb line and the calipers, and then measureing the distance moved by the laser dot for controlled angles of the laser, I am able to calibrate my office-made surveying tool.
 
Now I wait until I see someone who has little kids getting ready to leave the building. I give her the balloon "as a gift for the kiddies" (women are more likely to accept, at least until they are out of sight - I hint that I will be waiting at the window). I immediately rush to the tripod. As my patsy stops to open her car door, I quickly take sightings on opposing edges of the balloon. A few calculations gives me the diameter of the balloon now that it has adjusted to the outside temperature. (I purposely choose someone low on the "totem pole", who doesn't have one of the reserved places near the building.) Comparison with the diameters at freezing and boiling allows me to calculate the outside temperature!  
 
It's simple, really, once you think it out.   Cool
« Last Edit: Mar 3rd, 2003, 6:25pm by Icarus » IP Logged

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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #15 on: Mar 28th, 2003, 6:07am »
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on Feb 1st, 2003, 2:47pm, william wu wrote:
An actual interview riddle I was asked by Microsoft yesterday! ...cut....
 

You are in a building, and you want to know what the temperature is outside. How do you do it?

 
The way this riddle works is, after you mention a possible solution, the interviewer says that solution is not possible and asks what else you can do. So the scenario gets increasingly difficult, and it comes down to coming up with as many solutions as you can.  
...cut

 
Perhaps, you can proceed like this:
when the interviewer ask you the question you simply answer that the temperature is - 10 ° C outside.
When the interviewer answer you're wrong, you ask him to prove it and you watch how he does to know what the temperature is outside.
 Smiley
 
 
 
 
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #16 on: Apr 21st, 2003, 7:32am »
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Here's my idea:
 
All you need is a psychrometer!  If were assuming we're in Microsoft Town, Redmond, WA, then the relative humidity outside is about 100% (I know, i live there).  The air for the heating system in the building heats up the outside air, which causes the relative humidity to drop (same amount of water vapor in hotter, less dense air == less relative humidity) and then its piped into the air.  This is a linear poportion (I believe) and using the inside humidity and the inside temperature, you can find the outside temperature.
 
But, that's assuming there's a psychrometer available =)
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Re: What's The Temperature Outside?  
« Reply #17 on: Jul 10th, 2003, 12:53pm »
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on Feb 1st, 2003, 2:47pm, william wu wrote:
An actual interview riddle I was asked by Microsoft yesterday! The interviewer was also quite forward about assuring that I credit him if I add his riddle, because then he would be "so psyched" Smiley The contributor is Andrew Gottlieb.
 
 

You are in a building, and you want to know what the temperature is outside. How do you do it?

 
 
The way this riddle works is, after you mention a possible solution, the interviewer says that solution is not possible and asks what else you can do. So the scenario gets increasingly difficult, and it comes down to coming up with as many solutions as you can.  
 
 
Example Dialogue:
 
You: "Well you could use X to find the temperature"
Them: "OK let's say there are no X's lying around"
You: "OK, perhaps you could try Y"
Them: "Y is broken, what else"
 
 
 
To avoid spoiling the problem for initial forum browsers, please remember to hide your answers. Thanks!

 
The obvious answer is: I measured the temperature before I entered the building.
 
Phuoc
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