RAY: How did I do it? Well, I think I mentioned when I broke the glasses that they broke in half, so that I had two. How would they break in half?
TOM: Two monocles.
RAY: Two monocles. Exactly.
TOM: Instead of one diabolical.
RAY: So, I had one lens with a stick attached to it, and another lens with a stick attached to it.
RAY: And, lo and behold, if you gang the lenses, that is, put one in front of the other, you essentially double the magnification. So there I was, unable to read the dosage, and with these two pieces in my hand, these two lenses back to back, so to speak...
RAY: I was able to read the bottle, and it said, "Take two of these and stick them down your throat." And, next thing I know, I'm in bed.
RAY: And all's right with the world.
RAY: Now, there is another answer to this, which I'm not going to delve into right now.
TOM: No, I think you should...you should mention it, at least, because we don't understand any of this, let's face it.
RAY: Someone will call.
TOM: This is part of 801, was it not? Optics?
RAY: No, not when I...no. They didn't have optics then. We didn't have...we had...no. Optics was brand new when you were there.
TOM: Benjamin Franklin had just invented the bifocal.
RAY: Well, here's the other answer that I happen to like better. Let's assume I didn't break my glasses, but in fact, I had small print that I couldn't read. Now, when you try to read something that's too small, when your eyesight is good, what do you do? You bring it closer to your eye, do you not?
RAY: But then it goes out of focus. And even people with good eyesight can bring something so close that they can no longer read it.
RAY: Except that if it's small, I mean, duh. You don't need a genius to tell you that if it's small, you ain't going to move it farther away from you, because you got less of a chance of seeing it.
RAY: So, if you were trying to look at the legs of a flea, you would try to bring that flea as close to your eye as possible, but in doing so, you would put it out of focus.
TOM: Yeah. I'm with you.
RAY: So, if you take your index finger...I'm wearing my glasses now, but I'm staring at the bottle unable to look at the print.
RAY: Unable to read the print because it's blurred.
TOM: I'm doing this right now, myself.
RAY: But it's close enough so that I can see it. Take your index finger and curl it so your fingernail now touches the point where your thumb joins your hand, and in doing so...is that an apt description?
TOM: Yeah. You make a little teeny hole with your index finger.
RAY: You're going to make a little teeny hole. And you could accomplish the same thing by taking a piece of paper and punching a hole in it.
TOM: Oh, man! This works like a dream!
RAY: If you then look through that hole, you are, in fact, unfuzzying the image. It is like you are bringing it into focus, because the hole acts to...acts to...ah-ah-ah-ah-ah, what's the word?
TOM: I don't know. I have no idea how this works.
RAY: It doesn't, well, maybe it does magnify, but maybe it doesn't magnify. But if nothing else, it brings it into focus.
TOM: It does.
RAY: So that something that was close enough so that you could read it if you had good eyes is now readable because you have fixed the image by unfuzzying it.
RAY: So that is one other solution to this problem. And I don't know exactly why it works. I don't remember.
TOM: It would be nice to...no. Who cares? If it works, it works. I don't really care how it works.
RAY: Well, I think what happens is all the light that was going all over the place now has to go through that little pinhole which you've made with your finger.
TOM: And so...that would say, though--if that theory is correct--that would say that you could produce the same effect with more light, and I don't think that's true.
RAY: Oh, yeah, it is.
TOM: If you put this right up here so you can't read it, right in front of your face...
RAY: And brighter light.
TOM: If I put a thousand watts, points of light--thanks to George Bush on that...
RAY: Yeah. You'll be able to...
TOM: It would clear it up?
RAY: Well, the solution was, I turned on the bathroom light. Anyway, do we have a winner?
TOM: Yeah. We have winners.
TOM: The winners this week are Pete and Barbara Van Kuren, I believe it is, from Conshahawkin, Pennsylvania.
RAY: Love it!
TOM: Conshehawkin, Pennsylvania.
[ Car Talk Puzzler ]