Popping Pills

Feb 20, 2019

RAY: I think you'll like this. This is a submission from a guy named Scott Crass, and I like it because my brother didn't get it. Pay careful attention.

You're placed on a medication regime in which you are to take daily one tablet of A and one of B. So, you have two little pill containers. One says "Pill A," and one says "Pill B."

You must be careful. Taking two or more B's can have unpleasant side effects or can even be fatal. In order for the B to be effective it must be accompanied by the A pill.

So, you open up the A bottle and you, as people do, you tap the bottle, and one A pill jumps out into your palm.

You open the B bottle, and you accidentally get two Bs falling out of the bottle. But here's the problem. They look exactly the same.

They're both blue, they're the same size, they're the same weight, with no markings on the pills. And as soon as they fell into your hand, they got mixed up, so now you have three pills, but you can't tell what the heck you have. Now, of course, you could just throw these pills away.

But the pills cost a hundred bucks apiece!

So how can you make sure that you get your daily dose of A and B without wasting any of the pills?



RAY: And here's how you do it. You know that you have one A and two Bs. You just can't tell which are which. So let's add another A to the mix. So now, you have two As and two Bs, so you lay the four pills out in a row. But you still don't know which are which. Now, you could again go, eenie, meenie, minie, moe. And your chances of getting the right thing are improved by having done this, but not good enough, because you could die.

However, if you take each pill and cut it in half and without mixing up the halves— in other words, the first pill you cut in half, you leave those two halves near each other — and do the same thing with the second, the third, and the fourth pill.

Then you take one from each of the cut pills.

So, by definition, you know you have two As and two Bs in the mix, you'll take a half an A from one of the cut pills, and a half a B, and then another half an A, and then another half a B, and you'll have two half Bs and two half As, making one A and one B, and then the remaining pills, cut pieces, will be tomorrow's dose.


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