Google's Genius & Mine

MANILA: Tom Hale has written a challenge: "How Many Of Google's Banned Interview Questions Can You Answer?" (29 March 2016, IFL Science, Tom says, "Google has a fabled history of asking some ridiculously out-(of)-the-box questions and brain teasers at their interviews. In fact, as reported back in 2011, some of the questions were so tough that they were banned by the company." 

So I Frank A Hilario have challenged myself and took time out, about 10 minutes, no cheating, to answer the following questions (below). I know that Google is genius in many ways, but not always. For instance, Google's PageRank is not genius to me – it's a cheat. As I have written before, "PageRank over-counts the occurrences of keywords – and knowing that, to get to the top of a Google's search list of webpages, people over-types those keywords in their articles in what they call "search engine optimization" (SEO), a beautiful term for an ugly practice" (see my essay, "What Has Google Wrought?" 28 September 2014, A Magazine Called Love, The name itself, PageRank, is a no-brainer – you are ranking the page by virtue of number of citation (those repeat keywords) and not the content of the page. With Google's encouragement, you are subverting the role of the Internet in the spread of information, knowledge, insight, wisdom.

Tom says about the Google interview questions, "Most of these questions don’t strictly have an answer, but instead are designed to test your creativity and assess how you tackle the question." So, I say, come on and test yourself! I already did; my answers come after the list, in italics – and no, I did not edit my answers:

1. How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle?
2. Why are manhole covers round?

3. You need to check that your friend Bob has your correct phone number, but you cannot ask him directly. You must write the question on a card and give it to Eve who will take the card to Bob and return the answer to you. What must you write on the card, besides the question, to ensure that Bob can encode the message so that Eve cannot read your phone number?

4. How many piano tuners are there in the entire world?

5. Every man in a village of 100 married couples has cheated on his wife. Every wife in the village instantly knows when a man other than her husband has cheated but does not know when her own husband has. The village has a law that does not allow for adultery. Any wife who can prove that her husband is unfaithful must kill him that very day. The women of the village would never disobey this law. One day, the queen of the village visits and announces that at least one husband has been unfaithful. What happens?

6. A man pushed his car to a hotel and lost his fortune. What happened?
7. How many times a day does a clock's hands overlap?
8. How many vacuums are made per year in the USA?
9. Explain the significance of "dead beef."

10. If a person dials a sequence of numbers on the telephone, what possible words/strings can be formed from the letters associated with those numbers?

11. You are shrunk to the height of a nickel and your mass is proportionally reduced so as to maintain your original density. You are then thrown into an empty glass blender. The blades will start moving in 60 seconds.

12. How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?
13. Explain a database in three sentences to your 8-year-old nephew.
14. You have to get from point A to point B. You don't know if you can get there. What would you do?

15. You are at a party with a friend and 10 people are present (including you and the friend). Your friend makes you a wager that for every person you find who has the same birthday as you, you get $1; for every person he finds who does not have the same birthday as you, he gets $2. Would you accept the wager?

Here are my own answers to the questions above:

(1)     None, I could not wash all the windows in Seattle in a thousand days.

(2)     A circle is easier to create than a rectangle, or hexagon. It's also easier to drop in a body or object from any side.

(3)     "Bob, what's your phone number again? I forgot." And then when Eve returns, you call Bob at the number he gives and then he gets your phone number, automatically.

(4)     No answer.

(5)     Nothing. The woman whose husband has cheated doesn't know, so she cannot kill him. Being told is not proof.

(6)     While he was there, the hotel burned down, including all his savings. Or the car was kidnapped at gunpoint and all his money was in there.

(7)     24 times.

(8)     None. They make vacuum cleaners, not vacuums.

(9)     Spoiled beef. If you sell it, you get rich, because there are sucker sellers, but you're endangering the health of the innocents.

(10) Pass. The telephone is ancient technology I don't remember the letters associated with the numbers.

(11) What do you do? Nothing. Heavy, I will settle on the bottom and stay there, not blended.

(12) Two answers. (1) If you mean exact fit, the answer is None, because golf balls cannot be shaped to follow the inside of a bus. (2) As many as there are kids in the school bus, holding one each. You can't fit in more golf balls there because you would be encouraging them to play with the balls and that would be dangerous even if the bus isn't moving.

(13) Words. Words strung together to give meaning. You can string together any number of words for any number of meanings.

(14) Define point A in relation to point B. Then you don't have to get "there" because you have already "gotten there."

(15) Two answers. (1) Will not accept. The game is silly; 2 dollars is peanuts. (2) Will not accept – it's your testimony versus his testimony; there is no proof that what the other guys are saying as their birthdays are true as against your birthday, which of course is announced beforehand. The other guys (or your friend) may be lying to put some dollars over you.

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