Riddles and puzzles

#02: A THOUSAND BOTTLES OF WINE

You have 1,000 bottles of wine, and exactly one bottle is poisoned. You need to find the poisoned wine before your party starts in an hour. You have 10 rats to test on to find out which bottle is deadly. The poison takes effect after an hour of consumption, so you only have one chance to run your rat poison experiment, meaning you can’t feed some rats wine and wait an hour before feeding them more wine. Assume each rat can drink as much wine as you feed it. How do you find the poisoned wine?

SOLUTION

 This riddle requires knowledge of binary numbers in order to solve it. Number each bottle 1-1,000. Under each base 10 number (that’s just regular counting!), also write the number in binary (base 2). Line up your rats and allow them each to represent the digit of a binary number. Take each bottle of wine and feed it to those rats which represent a 1 in the binary representation of the bottle’s label. For example, bottle four is 100 in binary, so the third rat will be feed the wine from that bottle. After all the wines are distributed, you can literally read the binary number from the rats that are dead after an hour.

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