So today was the annual Fine Arts Barbecue. Like most occurrences on campus, this event usually consists of cheese burgers, moderate to heavy alcohol consumption, and conversation with friends, both old and new. At the end of the day, if you are lucky, you will have made a few new acquaintances, enjoyed a few cheeseburgers, and be about two-thirds drunk for the C-Train ride home.
However, this year was different. Although burgers and beer were still prevalent, a profound conversation was sparked by a logistical anomaly brought forth by Mike, the party’s token bassoonist. From there, students from all facets of fine art met on the dilapidated couches outside and had one of the most intellectual debates of all time.
Here is the problem:
Somewhere in the universe there exists a world in which people either have green or purple nostrils; in all other respects, though, they are like us. There are no mirrors, no photographs. This means that they can never see their own nostrils. In fact, if they are ever to discover the colour of their nostrils, they will, without fail, commit suicide that evening at midnight.
I should note that everyone within this society is both completely honest (meaning everyone always tells the truth) and perfectly capable of logic (and thus logical reasoning).
There exists a home in which there are three roommates, all three of whom have green nostrils. (Though, of course, each only knows that the other two have green nostrils.)
One day, they order a pizza. The person delivering the pizza is not having a good day, and after receiving a low tip from the three roommates, this person looks at the three, and says “At least one of you has green nostrils.”
How many days pass until they all commit suicide?
Although many theories were examined at length, nobody was able to explain the difference between assuming you had green nostrils and knowing you had green nostrils. And to an even lesser extent, at which point these two would become one in the same, thus justifying suicide.
I will think about this at length and post MY hypothesis tomorrow. But in the meanwhile… give it some thought if you can, but don’t hurt yourself!