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   Easy: Willywutang & burning island
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   Author  Topic: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  (Read 152564 times)
A.P.
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Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« on: Jul 25th, 2002, 7:39pm »
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This solution seems too simple to be right:
 
Willywutang can set a second fire, stay between the two fires, then move into the ashes left by the second fire. When the first fire gets there, there won't be anything left to burn.
 
It took me about 5 minutes to think of. Surely it can't be that easy?
« Last Edit: Jul 26th, 2002, 11:47pm by william wu » IP Logged
ted shultz
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & buring island  
« Reply #1 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 1:44pm »
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I'm not so sure how your solution would work. If the island was long and skinny, how would Mr. WuTang cross over the 2nd fire burning towards him to get to the ashes. If he could do that, what would keep him from just crossing the first fire into its ashes?
 
BUT, I do have to admit my only solution isn't any better.  
I came up with:
Because we are trying to "save himself from burning to death" and because he can't swim, Mr. WuTang could just drown himself. Arguably a less than ideal solution.  
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H. Lee
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & buring island  
« Reply #2 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 2:10pm »
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Read the question:
"willywutang is hanging out on a heavily forested island that's really narrow: it's a narrow strip of land that's ten miles long. let's label one end of the strip A, and the other end B. a fire has started at A, and the fire is moving toward B at the rate of 1 mph. at the same time, there's a 2 mph wind blowing in the direction from A toward B. what can willywu do to save himself from burning to death?! assume that willywu can't swim and there are no boats, jetcopters, teleportation devices, etc.. (if he does nothing, willywu will be toast after at most 10 hours, since 10 miles / 1 mph = 10 hours)"
 
The question is: "can willywu do to save himself from burning to death?!"
 
So my answer? He can drown to death.
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Frothingslosh
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & buring island  
« Reply #3 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 4:58pm »
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The answer is to set a second fire. He doesn't even need a match  
or lighter, since the current fire is moving slow enough that he can  
get a light from it, bring it a few miles back and then start the new  
fire. The assumption, (not stated very clearly here in this version  
of the problem) is that there is a slight breeze so that the second  
fire travels in the same direction as the first fire. So the second fire  
doesn't head towards the first fire and trap him, it burns a dead zone  
that he can step into before the first fire gets to him. This was apparent  
in the version of the puzzle I heard years ago (which also gave him  
some red hering items he had in his pockets as his only posessions,  
no matches or lighter, so he had to go to the first fire to get that) but
has somehow been lost in the retelling. Just goes to stress how  
critical the wording of these puzzles can be.
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Peter Seebach
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & buring island  
« Reply #4 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 5:19pm »
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I figured, he can't swim, but he can wade, so he can just walk around the fire area.
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Reikoku
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & buring island  
« Reply #5 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 11:23pm »
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The answer to this is something that has been done to control fires for a long time, called 'backburning'.  Paying attention to the way the wind is blowing, start a fire, then start a controlled second fire some distance downwind of it.  The two fires should move at approximately the same speed if you've done it right, and when the first fire gets to where the second fire started, it has nothing to fuel itself with and dies.  Pretty common in Australia: http://www.abc.net.au/landline/stories/s519888.htm.
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william wu
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #6 on: Jul 26th, 2002, 11:47pm »
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on Jul 26th, 2002, 2:10pm, H. Lee wrote:

The question is: "can willywu do to save himself from burning to death?!"
 
So my answer? He can drown to death.

 
You're fired.
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Ion Rush
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #7 on: Jul 27th, 2002, 2:35am »
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this riddle is left too open, there are multiple answers.
 
I think the intended answer is to walk a ways towards the fire, start a second fire behind you, then move onto the ashes as the first fire approaches.
 
so what if he can't swim, he can wade out at the farthest end so only his nose is above water
 
he can wade around the fire
 
he can use buckets of seawater to soak a safe zone
 
he can use buckets of water to put out the fire when it is still small.
 
he can piss on the fire when it is still small if he doesn't have a bucket
 
he can clear timber in the middle of the Island so the fire runs out of fuel. a small slow moving fire with only a 2 mph breeze isn't going to jump a 10 foot gap. this may take tools, but he only is barred having excape equipment.
 
or he can kill himself in a variety of ways so that he doesn't burn to death.
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Adam Hanig
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Death by one of two fires  
« Reply #8 on: Jul 27th, 2002, 9:43am »
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What happens if he sets a burn zone?  If he sets it to his east, he gets caught between both fires, and dies.  If he sets it to his west and east of the first fire, the new fire will still travel east via the wind, and the second fire will kill him.  The real question here is whether death by drowning or burning is worse.
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FireWilly
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #9 on: Jul 27th, 2002, 10:20am »
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* represents fire, o represents willy, .. is ash.
 
A ***___o_______ B
--- wind --->
 
 
willy now sets a fire:
 
 
A ****__o_*_____ B
 
as time progresses, both fires burn towards B
 
A ..****__o_**__ B
 
more time:
 
A .....****_o....** B
 
willy now jumps on the ashes from his fire and lets the original fire burn towards him:
 
A .......****...o...* B
 
Willy is safe on the ashes as the original fire goes out because there's nothing left to burn:
 
A .................o..... B
 
Unfortunately, now he starves.
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jmlyle
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #10 on: Jul 31st, 2002, 6:21am »
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I don't think that any one has explicitly said this yet, but the problem people seem to be having with the solution is that fire spreads, like a ripple in water. I have no doubt that a strong enough wind will be able to keep the fire moving in one direction, like a strong enough current can keep the ripples from actually going upstream (a little bit different, because, in that case, the ripples look like a doppler effect, with the source point travelling along with the current).  
 
But again, I think that there is no way that a 2 mph breeze will stop fire from spreading upwind.
 
I don't see any problem with increasing the speed of the wind to make the problem more believable, though....
 
--jmlyle
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James G
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #11 on: Jul 31st, 2002, 6:29pm »
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I asked my flatmate this one, and he immediately came up with a couple of ideas I haven't seen here:
 
Willy can't swim, but he's got 10 hours to learn.
Sometime within 10 hours the tide will go out.
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spoonboy
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #12 on: Aug 1st, 2002, 12:51pm »
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One other possibility - plenty of trees around, so maybe he can just build himself a nice raft...
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Logan P
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #13 on: Aug 1st, 2002, 8:28pm »
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Since the island is narrow and heavily forested there may be logs falling onto the sea during the fire and which could float towards the person. The wind is faster than the spread of fire so there's a good chance some logs might reach him before the fire.
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Rhaokarr
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #14 on: Aug 2nd, 2002, 9:45pm »
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Surely the easiest thing to do would be to find a phone box on the island, have willy wutang go in and change into WillyWutangMan - Impervious to all forms of puzzle danger!
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rtremaine
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #15 on: Aug 7th, 2002, 6:48am »
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Couldnt Willy just dig a groove across the island width wise.  
 
Or he could just burrow under the fire and come up on the side that has already been scorched. Assuming Willy can dig.
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James G
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #16 on: Aug 12th, 2002, 1:37am »
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The island is heavily forrested, it would be very difficult to dig through all the tree roots. (Although on the plus side, the tunnel is less likely to collapse.) And I don't know if carbon dioxide or smoke sinking into the hole might be a problem, but on a very narrow island, the hole may fill up with water.
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Ali G
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #17 on: Aug 12th, 2002, 11:02am »
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Sadly, the point that everybody is missing here is perhaps the most salient of all.  
 
Namely, what the f*ck was Willy doing "hanging out" on an island on his own in the first place?  
 
Furthermore, I'm a little disturbed that so many intelligent people so casually dismiss the possibility of arson here. Willy was alone on the island, so how exactly did the fire start? Either intentionally or through his total ineptitude with camping fires, I think it's clear this situation is the result of Willy's own actions.  
 
Willy is clearly some kind of neurotic loner whose only interest in life is to locate uninhabited islands. And then burn them down.  
 
Frankly, I don't have time to waste on psychotic campers with a penchant for pyromania. To be blunt, the world would be a much better place without idiots like Willy.
 
Her's my solution to the problem; burn on the island, Willy, and long may you burn in hell.
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KT
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #18 on: Aug 22nd, 2002, 11:43pm »
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While it is possible that Willy may have indeed attempted to win a Darwin award by starting his own forest fire it could also have been started by lightning or a geothermal event and hence not his fault.  The theory that he could wade out neck deep also assumes facts not in the original puzzle. That it is possible to wade IE there is  sloping ground to the water.  Anyone who has been on the Oregon coast would know that the island may very well be surronded by sheer cliffs that drop hundreds of feet into deep water.  This of course would bring rise to the question how did he get there in the first place, but I digress.  If the island were surrounded by lovely sand beaches he wouldn't need to even get wet since sand does not burn.  He could simply wait it out on the beach.   This would save him from hypothermia.  Grin  
In Lieu of a nice comfy beach, back burning is a good idea provided he doesn't have to stay long afterward since he will obviously die of exposure and starvation.  The only real problem with the back burn theory is the unpredictability of fire and wind.  If he back burns and the wind picks up or changes direction he would find himself in a pocket with no oxygen and die of smoke inhalation / asphyxiation long before he burned.
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ed soto
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #19 on: Oct 14th, 2002, 8:02am »
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the backburning concept sounds nice in theory, but if the wind changes directions or dies off our friend willy could be royally screwed. willy should not place his fate in the hands of nature.
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alibaba
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #20 on: Nov 9th, 2002, 10:33pm »
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He can simply put out the fire with the water around him as the fire had jus started. Nobody said he can't put out the fire.
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hobonic
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #21 on: Nov 23rd, 2002, 1:33pm »
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Grin Willie has nothing to worry about, its a heavily frosted island the fire will not continue..........
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Sylvie Tsie
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #22 on: Nov 26th, 2002, 7:17am »
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On a lighter note, at least Willy Wutang no longer has to worry about the STDs.  If he spends one hour to realize, that if he can't put out the fire, he wil either die by burning to death, or if he survives starvation, or suffocation.  He'll have eight hours to have sex [without a condom] with three women.
 
Just a thought...
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #23 on: Nov 26th, 2002, 9:34am »
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Maybe he'll still have time to get that letter with the cryptic address overseas, to tell his sweetheart of his imminent immolation. Cheesy
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jon_G
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Re: Easy: Willywutang & burning island  
« Reply #24 on: Dec 3rd, 2002, 6:54pm »
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If he starts up a drug ring he can get the FBI's attention and they'll come and arrest him, at least he dies in prison with bubba wutang then drowning or burning.  Wink
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