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I would throw an epic party with a band, fireworks, champagne and fantastic cocktails. The guest list would include my friends from the local start-up, tech, VC and media community. Anything left over will go towards paying for a booth at a small business conference in NYC in May. Ramit, are there no rules to this contest? Seems very shady. Jokes aside, I would just deposit the money into my online checking account.

Mwa ha ha ha ha! Also, I might get a couple of windows refinished a month or two earlier than I had planned. Oh, and I would send Ramit a nice thank you note. Not an e-mail, an actual physical piece of paper using the Pony Express or whatever people are using these days to convey letters. Thanks and good luck to all!! Can be used if I crash a car or brake my leg or something incredibly substsantial like that, but otherwise tucked away and forgotten for a while is the best policy, long term strategy that I use, anyway. I signed up, but where do I fill in my response??

Interesting way to get valid email addresses of the target audience. If people sign up, that is 1 cent per email address. Plus you know they are a targeted demographic interested in financial matters. Nice job. I do have both of your courses. I have found my first profitable idea and have been working on it since and totally love it. I even started to hire people to help with certain tasks. So it definitely works for everyone that puts the effort in! Thanks Ramit. My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a brick and mortar business from a gentleman who is retiring.

Great promo idea — good luck to your winner! I would probably use the money to get IT certification and gets some books on programming if i feel up for the task. Ramit, Every time I read your blog I expect to see extraordinary material. This is the first post to disappoint me. But the contest seems to be based solely on referrals. This goes against your message of attracting people by providing lasting value. Have fun with the experiment. Good luck to everyone! Either- 1. I would invest half of it in low risk mutual funds and then take the other half over to my friend Asadulah who works in securities… or 2.

Damn straight. I always wanted to do that, man. Why would anyone would pay me a 1K for free? All the posts just refer to what they have wanted to do even before the 1K. I would use the money to pay for that repair so that I can stay on track with my debt reduction goal. Whatever is leftover goes to a nice dinner with my wife. I would open an investment account to mirror what my IRA is.

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Low broker fees! First, I will set up a website and pay hosting for the year. Next, I will buy books that teach how to format and market eBooks so I can keep making extra money. Finally, with that extra dollar I will buy a coffee for my smart friend so she can tell me how she got her two-book-deal. Thanks for the opportunity! Leaving me dollars.

I have two CCs I pay off each month, so forget that. I got married in August. My husband and I are both graduate students, so the wedding was a simple, DIY-filled affair on a small budget. Because of our financial constraints for the wedding itself, we were unable to afford a honeymoon after the wedding. I would use the money to cover closing costs to re-finance my mortgage. I would use it to first help a friend dealing with cancer and being out of work in paying for his monthly drugs, and part of it I would use to pay for my gym expenses in hiring a trainer to help me get my life and my body back on track.

To help me lose my over lbs, and have a new life! This would be a valuable skill to make me stand out in my field. Slowly plugging at this debt so I can get out of it. I would invest it in my photography business that I set up last year, with most if not all going into marketing. Spiritually, I would find something relaxing to do. I would put it toward my savings account for a diamond engagement ring for my awesome girlfriend! Honestly, I find that the cracks at people not hitting the gym really get to me. How about that? I really joining the gym was a good idea — but the intent is not to go there forever and shell out an extra chunk of my paycheck each month.

I would definitely pay off some debt, maybe go ahead and pay off my car that will be done being financed this year. I would put it into my plan. In the last 6 months I paid off all credit cards 12, fully funded my Roth IRA, emergency fund, maxed my k , secured a huge raise, and have averaged dollars of income on the side. I would buy into a nice expensive camera for taking pictures to sell, and if enough money is left over I would buy a laptop. I would use the money to enhance the web presence site, SEO, social networking of my bbq sauce line.

Producing it is no problem, getting access to new customers via the web is my stumbling block. I would let it sit in my savings account until I reach my savings goal, at which point I would use that money to pay off the entirety of my student loans. How about your northern readers Canadians—re: contest rules? Hi Ramit.. I would invest that in my business to make more money, probably a nail course and product, although there are a couple different things I could choose to invest it in to make more money with it.

Put the rest toward debt. I would use this money to fund a business idea I have and attempt to create an ROI on this money.

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That profit would then be split between reinvestment in the business and paying down my student loans. When I graduate college in the spring of I will embark on a round the world trip and this will help in a massive way. If it came from a family member, I would put it toward finishing my basement currently about halfway through doing most of the work myself.

Half goes to my savings, and the other half goes to items im saving up for. Currently im saving up for an engagement ring and a vacation. Just paid off all our credit card debt so I think my husband and I deserve it! After setting aside the amount for taxes.

I would go to the local turtle races, have each turtle represent a different outcome for the money. Turtle 1- take classes on how to set up a website that can sell products, and buy jewelry making supplies to start a jewelry business. Turtle 2- buy a cc scooter from a friend of mine. Turtle 3- take a trip to Hawaii to visit a friend of mine and sit in at a couple gigs.

Turtle 4- turn my jeep into an rv and take a page from a friend in San Francisco and start a travel blog and live a life nomadic. My question would be how you are going to choose the winner. How could you decide? Then I would upgrade much need equipment I use in my industry, and the rest would go to a promotion much like this one. But, after a day considering this question I decided I would purchase a new TV for my husband and me.

It will be paid in full no later than September 1, thanks to you! I live in Amsterdam Holland , and finding parking space for a car is really hard and expensive. Up to now. Dear ramit, I would Invest the money into my eBay funds.. At the moment I am selling a number of items on the site, but after buying a number of Chinese items online, and selling for twice the price on eBay I now need a lump sum of money to drive on my business.

We just paid off our Credit cards which would have been my answer before. Gas for vacation with my family, dental work, fixing the dog, saving for a new car. My current daily account is about euros in the red. One less worry, and one less monthly overdraft fee! I would use it for my trip this summer to hike through the Sierras. Sending food to the mountains is pricey. So are hiking boots.

Take 2 days from work unpaid. This will allow me to go to the university during business hours. This is important because I need to get permission to post the flyers for my new business idea. I will post several of them in key areas, and use the rest of the time to meet with professors and counselors who can recommend my services to students.

Forms, cards, free crap kids in college like, etc. Third, I would take several people out to lunch or coffee. I work in a very isolated part of my company, and it would be great to get out and meet some new people. I would love to talk to him more. Why do I want to do this? Beause regardless of how much I believed you in the past.

The story is that I have busted my hump for a year to prove my vaule to this company. I have gotten a professional license, started coursework for my masters degree, have taken on more than I need to, etc. I can easily add three percent to my income on the side without all of the struggle.

What have I learned from writing all of this? I earn that in about 20 hours worth of work. So really why would I do this with extra money if I already have the money? Its obviously not money that is holding me back. Thanks for the insight your post provided. I will used vacation time I have coming up to do these things instead. Enter the Crooked River Fae Light rental company.

For newlyweds, I would include a gift lantern with personalized drawings or text on the inside of the lamp. In June I will complete a masters degree, and in light of the lack of permanent positions in my field being available just yet, this summer would be the ideal time for me to put this lantern idea in motion. I would spend it because I do not need it. I saved my entire life to get all the things I wanted or needed. I am trying to make the transition to be a spender, I think this is my opportunity! This would fully fund that goal and allow me to focus on chopping the head off my student loan 4 more months to debt freedom.

I would use it to outsource work that would build my business and help me create a reliable income. I have several hospital bills from nine operations,plus several ongoing medical problems and bills,that just keep on adding up. I am verry sick. That is what I would use the money for. I will use the money to buy plane tickets for my family to attend my graduation in NYC. Any extra money will be used to pay bills. Pay off a credit card, catch up on my car payments, and buy my husband some very much needed work boots. I would use this as the starter money for my daughters education.

She is 9 months old and I am about to open a brokerage account, with automatic checking withdrawal, to ensure this gets funded monthly. Regardless if I win this is being opened, just with slightly less of an opening balance…. Nothing fancy but it accomplishes several goals. We have never been on a solo vacation together, and it will help recharge our batteries to deal with all that we have going on. Something about cooking at parties. Since I just bought a house, I would either make an additional mortgage payment, or I would use the money to help set up my home office and ham radio room.

I would use the rest towards attacking the yoke of my undergrad student loan debt. I would hit the one with the highest interest rate. Purchase books that I think would help all of my existing clients and give them away as gifts. With an extra dollars I would use half of it for my credit card bill, another for savings and the extra buck to get myself an ice cream cone from a Mr. Softee Ice Cream truck as a treat.

After reading the book and all the blog posts and emails , I have decided to start a business with my wife to make some side income. Honestly, I would use that 1, Ive been wanting to get bike to stop using the cta! The rest I would save it and pay off a part off my credit card. Maybe spoil myself to some sushi, been craving it! Half of the money would go into traveling the other half would go into getting some design work done for the new site since that is my weakness in launching a site.

I would use the money to learn a new skill that interests me. Let it be welding, glass blowing, wilderness survival, play the guitar. I recently was divorced and have been working hard to pay down student loans and my car. I would put half into my savings and use the other half for traveling expenses for breast cancer treatment at a state-of-the-art center with a multi-disciplinary team.

I would use it to help send my wife to the academic conference in Greece she wants to attend, but that I cannot afford right now. It would definitely help her career. If not that, then I would put it toward taking her to London when I go to an academic conference later this year. You sent this at a great time. This would help with the fees.

I got selected to speak at a tech conference in Europe this summer. Pay for the court cost to file for divorce, divesting me of my biggest expense — a spouse whose was unemployed for several years. Awful but true. Next December I will be turning My goal is to pay off my mortgage by the time I reach Once accomplished, I will have paid it off in 3 years.

The money will go to the mortgage. I am a single mom and trying to teach my kids about managing debt!!! I have a 5 year goal of buying my childhood house. Year 1 is to get debt free, years are to make and save a ton. Working hard to get down completely to zero. Only have a few thousand left to go, and I can start using credit cards to my advantage. I would buy a 7d Canon camera, tripod, and mic to produced videos to make more money on the side. And then I would send you a nice gift:. I just received an offer to put my self-made but un-published comic into a collection with three other local artists.

Bill, the gentleman putting the event together, plans on holding a comic convention, showcasing this collection, in October. I live in MN. Chinese people love the number 8 because it sounds like the chinese word for fortune! Start something to make more money … a little business venture into making clothing that I have always wanted to do.

Since my boyfriend and I just bought a house, my answer is easy…our first mortgage payment. I have two teeth waiting for crowns. The sooner the better. Being that I took your Earn 1K course-I already make money on the side and close to maximizing my investment ladder. Being that I took your Dream Job Course-I am lining up my next role in the field I want at a negotiated salary that fits for me. Invest it in building a prototype for a web service. It would go directly to pay down my 25k second mortgage, which I plan to have paid off completely by this time next year!

Some of the cash would be dedicated to putting together professional materials packages to provide free-of-charge to potential clients. I would use a portion to take out referees to lunch or coffee, and do the same with some people in my city from whom I am seeking informational interviews. There are a couple of targeted workshops coming up from our provincial small business body regarding pitching services to our provincial government, and I would register for those workshops.

Lastly, I would get myself a compact data projector many of my workshops involve presentations with visual displays. Individually, these are all small items that I can budget for, but as I am also saving up for the arrival of my first baby, every penny counts. Thanks, and good luck, everyone. I would take some of it to move back home and then put my kids in daycare. I would stick the rest into a savings account and go back to work. Just know it would go towards me starting my new life with my kids.

He graduated from college 2 years ago and since then we have put any extra money tax returns, bonuses, gifts of money etc. And I opened a savings account to hide a few bucks away for rainy days or for future investments to come. Maybe I have the one icecream for the month as a treat. And I know I will keep it up, because I am stubborn as a donkey.

Taking a real vacation would be such an amazing break for both of us! I am all for Roths and patent searches, and shoes and stuff, but really, I would do these few things. I am trying to get together a down payment to buy my first home. I would use this to continue adding to that pile. Every extra bit will help to keep my interest rate and monthly payment low!

Upon receipt of payment I will deposit this into my online brokerage for trading in the intermediate term to take advantage of recent volatility. Everyone loves midgets and I believe the networking benefits of hosting a great party will be worth my dollar investment.

I would use it to invest in my art business buying materials, vendor payments, shipping art pieces, etc. I make and just started selling abstract art and need to get it noticed, so I need money to be a vendor at fairs, to showcase art at galleries, and for travel. It will add as a nice backdrop in your web chats. I would use the money to help fund a startup. The money would speed up what I am already working towards.

I would give the money to my mom to help pay off her mortgage. My dad was sick for most of his life and recently passed away. Nonetheless, she was able to send all of us to college, and I am now proud to say we are all college graduates and better people because of her and her sacrifices. If I won 1, I would also by myself a watch for work and a pair of prescription sunglasses for the summer. I would save for that! Thanks for all you do! I am looking to buy a house within the year and want to improve my credit score :. Very simple: Deposit the check to my ING direct savings account.

Then when Earn 1K opens up for the next time I will use this check to pay for the course. I have the next steps laid out to be completed over the next 3 months and this would allow me to speed up the process. Looking forward to reading more comments as well! I would use the money to finally try and invest in the stock market! I would use it to go on a trip to Fiji to assist with some of the disaster relief from their recent floods and look for social entrepreneurship opportunities on how I could continue to assist the relief.

Buy two plane tickets to attend a business and networking event in San Diego, CA. I would pay down debt so that I can have more options in the future like say taking a Ramit class. So I would use the money to help my sister and her 3 kids with a summer of fun. You see, my sister wants to join a local beach club.

The kids would have something to do all day and my sister would finally be able to relax! I would also be on the membership and get to bring my wife along. This money would help a lot of people in my family have a fun summer and without paying for going out of town airfare, hotels, food, etc. Would this be an investment? The money is for a summer of memories for my niece and nephews.

Less stress for my sister and drinks in the sand and sun with my wife. But to be one of chosen person you would have to gave value to this money by buying plant and put it all into garden where everyone can learn and see where really money grooves. In effort of mans hand. I would put half towards my credit card and the other half, I would split between my savings and vacation fund. Savings would be nice too! But I think it would make the most sense to use the money to increase my earnings capacity…i. Boring, but true. Fortunately, I am not sick but a close friend of mine is sick. The extra 1K1 will help me pay off a portion of the medical bills.

Our health should be our number one priority. Sometimes we take this important topic for granted. Hello, My answer is different. I am getting married this weekend and going on our honeymoon in 2 weeks to Ireland my dream and Italy. We have budgeted very well for the wedding and I negotiated pretty well to not go into debt.

I would love the money for our honeymoon for nice wine, tours, hotels, romantic dinners, etc to enjoy a nice trip together as husband and wife! I would use it to start paying my parents back after all the help they gave me throughout college. They deserve it more than I do. Too bad this is more like a lotto random drawing.

Good luck to the rest of you. I recently checked my credit report for the first time and discovered that my parents never paid for my tonsillitis years ago AND I was unaware that the bills were in my name. I would add it to my emergency fund matching the 1, I have managed to save since I started it in February. Well after reading I will teach you to be rich! I would definitely get my brokerage account started and run that Lifecycle Fund. I would Automatically contribute to my new fund by rerouting some of my savings.

I was actually saving for the lifecycle fund minimum so that money could be allocated for the fund and my money could start growing. I would then use the rest for backlink building to my products that are ranking on the first page of Google, but to push them even higher to position 1!

When that particular account reaches a certain point, I am using the money to begin my real estate investing. I would spend it on your Earn1K course — planting a money seed that would grow into a mighty money tree. In process of buying a house, since I have all bills covered plus paying extra, no cc debt, and auto payments to all my retirement and investments and long term contracts and revenue streams going, most likely I would literally just use it toward some of the appliance costs for the new house.

I would use it pay off my credit card debt and any leftover money would put towards my student loan payments. Why would I expect such a high return? To weed out the dweebs. His teeth are in pretty bad condition, and we have been meaning to get a start on fixing them for several years. He has been working very hard in school, and I think it would be great for his self confidence and health! And it would be a good incentive to get with the program and start fixing them!

It would be dumb to waste it paying for some expense. It will be important to identify the point of greatest leverage in your business or personal life. I believe that whatever wealth I can attract right now is limited to whatever state I allow myself to be in. The other big asset to invest in would be in people. I would convert it to UK pounds using xe. An overpayment in British terminology is paid against purely the capital of the mortgage, meaning the interest as calculated daily will decrease a little!

I will use it to buy the productivity suite you recently had on sale. If I can get that on the same sale price, then use the remaining money on the preliminary earn1k course. I would pay off the last of my student loan. Honestly, I would spend it to go visit friends across the country. I would buy a plane ticket or train depending to visit friends in California, North Dakota, Oklahoma and other places depending. If I had any money left I would save it up so after college is done I will have a little money to try and live on my own.

Win-win all around. This would take another significant chunk out from them, taking me significantly closer to being debt-free. Not to sound like a sycophant, but I would put it into the Vanguard Roth Ira I just opened thanks to reading your book. Spend on paying off bills. Invest in necessary materials for my business. I would use this to pay down debt! I have a plan to be debt-free by Spring of and this would help advance me towards that goal much faster than I can currently manage.

Thanks for the contest opportunity! I would send it right to the credit card I am working on paying off by the end of the year. I hate being in debt, but we had some medical expenses that we are now paying off. I would pay off that student loan and not be broke every month. Thanks to all for the new learning! Guess what I plan to do! It would temporarily join my emergency fund and later this month or next, be used to help pay to have my house painted. Why breakfast at your office? As a year old cleantech entrepreneur, I aim to pick your brain and eat your discarded muffin bottoms.

So, do you take your coffee with cream or sugar? I would use all of it to pay down my credit card debt, which is the highest-interest loan I have. Training can be hit or miss I know but I already have some personal projects that I am working on and a list of questions to ask during the hands-on part of the training so I think with this preparation I will get more out of it than normally.

I will talk to you on available courses from you or your friends, on how to start own business with my background. It would go into my Brazil trip fund. I would pay off my existing student loan, which in already in the process of doing, before going back to school this fall. I would use it to complete market and product testing for my startup, which is already gaining traction. They are always happy to help me out and play for food or much less than what they should but their generosity only makes it more difficult for me to ask for their kindness.

Anything left over would be set aside for the next time a similar project came along in which the budget was not sufficient to pay all those involved what they are worth. We are both extremely motivated and willing to do what it takes to get this going. Wether we receive this dowery or not it will go and we will work other jobs around this to accomplish our mission. The objective of this project is to provide a way to meet the needs of the community as well as serve one another.

Goals Using a web based tool similar to Craigslist or message boards, people in need can post their needs or have needs posted on their behalf by staff in a safe, secure and private way so that others can find ways to meet them. Our intent is to help others to meet the needs of the body through service, goods, and contribution to specific needs.

Solution Working with fellow everyday angels, we build a web tool whereby those in need can post their needs and we help facilitate the meeting of those needs both in body and through the technology of web based tools and e-commerce. A person posts the need to the board.

Once accepted, that need is shared with any member of the community board without personal Information attached. If in the form of tangible goods, they can bring it to an EveryDay Angel Outpost school, home, church, community center. Upon receipt, we will notify the person in need that the need is met and they can come to pick it up. They can then choose to send a message or thank you to the individual who helped meet that need if they wished to do so.

For services, a person will choose to meet the need and given contact information so that they can help the person in need. Financial contributions can be given to a general fund to help facilitate large needs and also as micro funds that can build towards needs of specific need requests. We want it to be as close to a one to one transaction as possible. We believe that new goods except automobiles instead of used goods will alleviate problems with broken things neither passed on to one another nor having to deal with repairs and delivery of items. I would legally change my name to Ramit Sethi, pat myself on the back and walk around town knowing I am in good company, then suddenly regret the decision, and pay to have it changed back.

Unfortunately, the NCAA does not allow a school to cover any of these expenses for prospective athletes. Helping to provide the kickstart to an education for one of these young females would not merely change her life, but, more importantly, likely save it. Without an education, the majority of these young ladies will die by the age of 45 or Why females?

The answer is due to simple exponential math. I like your style. Great offer! I just need a bit more money first. So this money would be quite welcome! We paid mine off this month, hers will be paid in full in less than 12 months, and we will have our house paid off in about 41 months…. Toyama, Y. Oyama and K. Inokuchi, Proc. Schwab , V. Kell is one of the last Travelers-magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes, connected by one magical city.

Red London, where life and magic are revered-and where Kell was raised alo Pamplin , C. Schwab , N. Joshi , B. Pamplin, N. Joshi, C. A complete set of lattice parameter values for both low and high-temperature modifications is listed in Table 1, together with the solid-solid and solid-liquid transition temperatures and other physicochemical properties, like microhardness H Vickers and specific heat cp at K. The voyage has often coursed through uncharted oceans, and for many the purpose and destination of the journey have been obscure.

Even among those whose sights are clearer, there is growing concern that the ship will be becalmed by inadequate funding or run aground on the shoals of bureaucratic anarchy. Prothero , Fred L. Background principles in chemistry, physics and structure are introduced as needed, so that the authors' lean, lively approach and focus on soft rock geology principles are preserved. Maybe you read the complete short stories of Nikolay Gogol at school and loved them but hardly remember a character, plot, or phrase now. The agent might address that by periodically reminding you of highlighted passages, those you've identified as worth the attention of your future self.

Perhaps the agent would have a Twitter account and tweet random snippets of material you want to remember but don't otherwise have time to go back to. You're in a car with a helium balloon tied to the floor. The windows are closed. When you step on the gas pedal, what happens to the balloon? Does it move forward, backwards, or stay put?


The near-universal intuition is that the balloon leans backward as you accelerate. Well, the intuition is wrong. Your job is to deduce how the balloon does move and to explain it to the interviewer. One good response is to draw an analogy to a spirit level. For the not so handy, a spirit level is the little gizmo carpenters use to make sure a surface is horizontal. It contains a narrow glass tube of colored liquid with a bubble in it.

Whenever the spirit level rests on a perfectly horizontal surface, the bubble hovers in the middle of the tube. When the surface isn't so level, the bubble migrates to the higher end of the tube. The takeaway here is that the bubble is simply a "hole" in the liquid. When the surface isn't level, gravity pulls the liquid toward the lower end. This pushes the bubble wherever the liquid isn't -- toward the opposite end. Untie the helium balloon and let it hit the sunroof. It becomes a spirit level.

The balloon is a "bubble" of lower-density helium in higher-density air, all sealed in a container the car. Gravity pulls the heavy air downward, forcing the light balloon against the sunroof. When the car accelerates, the air is pushed backward, just as your body is. This sends a lighter-than-air balloon forward. When the car brakes suddenly, the air piles up in front of the windshield.

This sends the balloon backward. Centrifugal force pushes the air away from the turn and sends the balloon toward the center of the turn. Of course, the same applies when the balloon is tied to something; it's just less free to move. The short answer to this question is that the balloon nods in the direction of any acceleration.

Don't believe it? Put the book down right now. Go to the supermarket, buy a helium balloon, and tie the string to the gear stick or hand brake. Drive back home no lead-footing necessary. You'll be astonished. The balloon does exactly the opposite of what you'd expect.

When you step on the accelerator, it bobs forward, like it's trying to race the car to the next light. Brake hard enough to throw the kids' toys out of the backseat, and the balloon pulls backward. In a high-speed turn, as your body leans outward, the crazy balloon veers inward. It's so freaky that there are videos of this on YouTube. Why are our intuitions right about spirit levels and wrong about helium balloons?

In a spirit level, the heavy liquid is dyed a fluorescent sports-drink hue, while the bubble is a ghostly void. That instinct is completely wrong with balloons. The balloon, on the other hand, is dressed up in pretty colors or Mylar and screams, "Look at me! A helium balloon does the opposite of what a mass does because it's a deficit of mass. The real mass -- the air -- is invisible. Interviewers who ask this question don't expect you to know much physics. But there is an alternate response that makes use of the theory of relativity. It relates to Albert Einstein's famous thought experiment about the lift.

Imagine you're in a lift going to your tax accountant's office, and a mischievous extraterrestrial decides it would be fun to teleport you and the lift into intergalactic space. The lift is sealed, so there's enough air inside to keep you alive long enough to amuse the alien for a few minutes. There are no windows, so you can't look out and see where you are. The alien puts the lift in a tractor beam and tows it at a constant acceleration exactly matching that of Earth's gravity.

Is there anything you could do in the sealed lift to determine whether you're experiencing real Earth gravity or "fake" gravity, mimicked by acceleration? Einstein said no. Should you take your keys out of your pocket and drop them, they would accelerate toward the lift floor exactly as they would on Earth. Let go of a helium balloon's string, and it would float upward, just as on Earth. Things would appear perfectly normal.

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The Einstein equivalence principle says that there is no simple physics experiment that can distinguish between gravity and acceleration. This assumption is the foundation of Einstein's theory of gravity, known as general relativity. Physicists have been trying to punch holes in the equivalence principle for nearly a century now. They haven't been able to. It's safe to assume that Einstein's premise is right, at least for any experiments you can do in a car with a fifty-pee balloon. All right, here's a physics experiment. Tie the string of a plumb bob carpenter's weight to your right index finger.

Tie a helium balloon to the same finger. Note the angle between the two strings. In a lift, a parked car, or a cruising jetliner, the outcome will be the same. The plumb bob points straight down. The balloon points straight up. The two strings, joined at your finger, form a straight line.

This is the outcome whenever you are subjected to gravity. Now picture what happens when you start driving. As you accelerate, your body sinks back in the seat. Fallible intuition may tell you that the plumb bob and the balloon will each lean backward a bit from your finger. During acceleration, there will be an angle between the two strings if this intuition is right. This would provide a way of distinguishing between gravity and acceleration. When the car is subject to gravity alone, the two strings form a straight line. But when it's subject to centrifugal force or other forms of acceleration, the strings form an angle with your finger as the vertex.

That's all you need to prove that general relativity is wrong. Forget about getting a job at Google -- this would be worthy of a Nobel Prize. But since the equivalence principle has been rigorously tested and shown to be true, this doesn't happen, and you can use it to answer this question. Physics must be the same in an accelerating car as in a car subject to gravity alone. In both cases, the balloon, your finger, and the plumb bob form a straight line. In answer to the question, then, the helium balloon does the exact opposite of what you'd expect of an object with mass.

It goes forward rather than backward Which do you prefer? Call the probability of making a basket p. Otherwise, you get nothing. With the second wager, you shoot three times and have to make the basket twice to be in the money. The chance of making the basket on any given attempt is still p. Your chance of missing on any attempt is 1 - p. There are 23, or 8, scenarios for the second wager. Let's list them. A check mark means you make the shot; a blank means you miss.

You miss all three shots. The chance of that is 1 - p, multiplied by itself three times. You don't get the money. In four of the eight scenarios, you win the money. In three of them you miss once. These scenarios have the probability of p2 1 - p. In the case where you make all three shots, the probability is p3. Add all of them up. Three times p2 1 - p comes to 3p2 - 3p3. You may be a complete klutz p is roughly 0 or an NBA baller p approaches 1. For reference, I've done what you can't do in the interview: plugged the formulas into a worksheet and made a chart.

The straight diagonal line represents the first bet, and the more S-shaped curve is the second. The first bet is better if your chance of making the shot is less than 50 percent. Otherwise, you're better off picking the second wager. This makes sense. A poor player cannot expect to win either wager. He must pin his hopes on a freak lucky shot, which is obviously more likely to happen once than twice "lightning never strikes twice".

The bad player is better off with wager 1. The very good player ought to win either wager, though there is a small chance he'll miss the money shot. Two out of three is a better gauge of his talents, and that's what he wants. It's like the legal maxim: if you're guilty, you want a jury trial because anything can happen ; if you're innocent, you want a judge. Assuming you get this far, the interviewer's follow-up question is, "What value of p makes you switch bets?

This represents the skill level where it's a toss-up which you pick. From there you can use the quadratic formula, warming the heart of your old algebra teacher. The interviewer will be looking for brio as much as book learning. You know p, a probability, has to be between 0 and 1. It's better style to experimentally try a rea-sonable value. Let's try 0. You have N companies and want to merge them into one big company. How many different ways are there to do it?

In the proper sense of "merger," two companies surrender their identities and fuse into a brand-new entity. You guessed it -- both parent companies were themselves merger spawn. Mergers require a near-exact match of bargaining power. More typically, one company's management has the stronger hand, and it's not about to let the weaker company's leaders forget it. The deal is likely to be an acquisition, in which company A gulps up company B, and B ceases to exist as a separate entity though it often survives as a brand. An example is Google's acquisition of YouTube.

Mergers are symmetrical. There is only one way for two companies to merge as equals. Acquisitions are asymmetrical. There are two ways for two companies to acquire or be acquired -- Google buying YouTube is not the same as YouTube buying Google. Most people outside investment banking gloss over the distinction between mergers and acquisitions.

Any melding of corporations is loosely called a "merger. Start with acquisitions because they're more common and a little easier to work with. You can visualize the companies as draughts, and the acquisitions as the moves in the game. Start with N pieces. A move consists of putting one piece on top of another to signify that the top piece is "acquiring" the bottom piece. After an acquisition, you manipulate the pieces involved as if they were glued together like a "kinged" piece in the regular game.

Eventually, you will be placing stacks of pieces on top of other stacks to create yet- taller stacks. It will take exactly N - 1 moves to achieve the game's goal, a single tall stack consisting of all N pieces combined into one. How many different scenarios can lead to that outcome? The simplest case involves two companies.

Company A can gulp up B, or B can gulp up A. That's two possible scenarios. With three companies, you have to decide which company first acquires what other company. After the initial acquisition, you're left with two companies. The situation is then exactly as in the paragraph above.

That decided, you have three companies and, as we already know, twelve histories. There must be 12 x 6 x 2, or , acquisition histories for four companies.

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Let's generalize. With N companies, the number of possible initial acquisitions is. N N - 1 This just means that any of the N companies can be the first acquirer, and any of the remaining N - 1 companies can be the first acquiree. After the first acquisition, there will remain N -. Then there will be N -. We're going to be multiplying the ever- decreasing numbers of possible acquisitions until we're left with 2 x 1 possibilities for the final acquisition. It's easy to see that, using factorial notation, the product will come to N! What if you want true mergers instead of acquisitions?

The above analysis overcounts the possibilities by a factor of two -- for each of the N - 1 mergers. That means the number of proper merger histories is N! Finally, if "merger" can mean merger or acquisition, you simply add the two answers. You've got an analogue watch with a second hand. How many times a day do all three of the watch's hands overlap?

This is an update to a classic Microsoft interview question that asks how many times a day a clock's hour and minute hands overlap. Because that one's become pretty well known, interviewers have started using this variant. The Microsoft answer: First, figure when the hour and minute hands overlap. Everyone knows the minute and hour hands overlap at midnight and at approximately , , , and so forth. There's an overlap in every hour except to At , the faster minute hand is at 12 and the slower hour hand is on There are thus eleven overlaps in each hour period. They are evenly spaced in time since both hands travel at constant speeds.

The eleven alignments of minute and hour hands in each hour cycle take place at:. How can we determine if any of these times is a three-way overlap? Though the question is about an analog clock, think of a digital clock that gives time in hours, minutes, and seconds:.

There is an overlap between minute and second hands only when the minutes figure 00 here equals the seconds figure There is a precise three-way overlap at In general, the minute- and second-hand overlap will occur at a fractional second. For example, here,. The instant of overlap would come a split- second later. But the hour hand wouldn't be near the others, so this isn't a three-way overlap. None of the hour- and minute-hand overlaps in the list above passes this test except for That means all three hands align just twice every day, at midnight and noon. The Google answer: The second hand is intended for timing short intervals, not for telling time with split-second accuracy.

It's normally not in sync with the other two hands. Most analog watches and clocks do not let you set the second hand from the stem. I've never seen one that does. A workaround would be to take the battery out or let a windup watch run down , set the minute and hour hands in sync with where the second hand stopped, and wait until it becomes the time shown to replace the battery or wind up the watch.

It would take a maniacal analogue watch fetishist to do that. But unless you do this, the second hand will not show the "real" time. It will be offset from the accurate seconds by a random interval of up to 60 seconds. Given a random offset, the odds are overwhelming that the three hands would never align precisely. You work in a storey building and are given two identical eggs. You have to determine the highest floor from which an egg can be dropped without breaking.

You are allowed to break both eggs in the process. How many drops would it take you to do it? Lest there be any confusion, the building and eggs are strictly imaginary. This is an algorithm question. It's a test of your ability to craft a smart, practical way of doing something. That's important in engineering, in management, and in everything else. Every cook knows that a raw egg dropped from counter height onto tile is history.

But if Google's story building is surrounded with something softer than concrete and harder than grass, the answer is not obvious. To answer in the spirit intended, you have to assume that it is possible that the maximum egg-safe floor could be any floor at all, from 1 to In fact, you should allow for the possibility that no floor is egg-safe seconding the wisdom of cooks.

You are permitted to ignore the strong element of chance in egg defenestration demonstrated in the experiments. Pretend that the outcome of dropping an egg from a given floor will always be the same. Either it breaks or it doesn't. The interviewer is not expecting you to name the egg-safe floor. There are no eggs and there is no story building: it's all a fictional situation, okay? You are asked only to devise an efficient method for determining the floor, while explaining your thought process. The one question you are expected to answer with an actual number is, how many drops would you need?


Scoring is like golf: the fewer, the better. Bits and Eggs Dropping an egg is a simple experiment that yields one bit of information. To get the most bang for the bit, you'd start in the middle of the building. That would be floor 50 or 51, as there's no "middle" floor in a building with an even number of floors. This would mean that the desired egg-safe floor must be below the 50th floor. Split the difference again by dropping the next egg from the 25th floor. It broke again.

Now you're out of eggs. You can now conclude that the highest egg-safe floor is below the 25th. You don't know which floor, and that means that the method has failed. It's possible to keep reusing an egg so long as it doesn't break. Start on the bottom floor and drop the first egg. If it survives, go to the 2nd floor and try that. Then the 3rd, the 4th, the 5th, and so on until the egg breaks. That will tell the highest floor the egg can be dropped from without breaking. You will have determined it with just one egg. Call this the "slow algorithm. It's a miser of eggs and a spendthrift of egg drops.

Every single floor might have to be tested, but it gets the job done. The challenge is to create a solution that makes good use of both eggs. Suppose that Google's optimal algorithm for the egg-drop experiment was written in a book somewhere. You don't even have to suppose -- it is written in a book, namely this one. The algorithm reads something like this:. How do I know the algorithm begins this way? Well, I'm not going out on much of a limb. An algorithm is a list of idiotproof instructions, starting with instruction 1.

It tells you to drop an egg, naturally, because that's the modus operandi here. There's nothing else to do but drop eggs. The only interesting part floor N is currently concealed under an algebraic veil.

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  • The real algorithm gives a specific floor, like 43, in place of the N. Further deduction: because the experiment in instruction 1 has two outcomes, it has to have follow-up instructions for both eventualities. Call them 2a what to do if the egg breaks and 2b what to do if it survives. Once you break the first egg, you will have to play it safe with the second. You can't take the risk of skipping any floor, lest you break the second egg and not be able to deduce the correct floor.

    Adopt the "slow algorithm" with the remaining egg. Test it from every floor, working your way up the building until the egg breaks. The maximum egg-safe floor is the one below that. For instance, imagine the first drop is from the 50th floor, and the egg breaks. You can't risk trying the second egg from floor 25 because it might break, too. Instead, you have to try floors 1, 2, 3. And since we started with the 50th, that could mean making fifty drops in all. It doesn't take much coder's intuition to see that a search needing fifty tests to find one thing out of a hundred is not optimal.

    It's lousy. It's better to count on making the first drop from a lower floor. If we start from floor 10, and the egg breaks, we might need as many as ten drops. This is the key aha! In general, when the egg breaks on a first drop from floor N, it will take as many as N drops total to identify the right floor. This strongly suggests that the first drop should be from a floor much lower than This choice has the appealing feature that we use the first egg to deduce the tens digit of the egg-safe floor, and the second egg to find the ones digit.

    For example, test the egg from floors 10, 20, 30, 40, and Say it breaks when dropped from floor This tells us the maximum egg-safe floor is something. Move down to floor 51 and work upward floor-by-floor with the other egg. If the second egg breaks at floor 58, that means the egg-safe floor is How efficient is this procedure? The worst-case scenario would be to try 10, 20, 30, all the way up to , where the egg finally breaks. Then you'd backtrack to 91 and work up. You could end up needing nineteen drops in all to determine that 99 is the correct floor. This isn't a bad approach.

    But it's not the best. Crash Test Remember, the question asks, "How many drops would it take you to do it? More exactly, you're to minimize the number of drops required in a worst- case scenario. Sometimes you'll get lucky and arrive at the answer in just a few drops. Because the first egg's role is as crash-test dummy, you want to put it in high-risk situations; that's how you learn as much as possible as quickly as possible. The second egg is a backup. Once it's the sole remaining egg, you have to play safe with it. It's the crash-test-dummy egg that's crucial to achieving a good solution.

    It's the egg that can eliminate many floors in a single drop. The question is, how many? A bit of mental gymnastics is required to answer that. It throws many smart people. I'll begin with an analogy. You're a professional golfer on the eighteenth hole, vying for a big prize. To win, you've got to make the hole within three strokes. That necessity dictates which clubs you choose and whether you risk a bunker rather than playing it safe.

    It will require you to aim for the hole on the third stroke rather than being satisfied with making the green. The three-stroke limit constrains your strategy throughout. Google's perfect algorithm also has a limit: a maximum number of drops needed to determine the correct floor. Call this number D. The D-drop limit constrains your strategy. For the sake of concreteness, imagine the limit is ten drops. Then you might as well drop the first egg from the 10th floor.

    See why? You want to choose a floor as high as possible, to rule out as many floors as possible. The 10th floor is the highest option, for this reason: should the first egg break, you could end up needing all ten permitted drops to determine the correct floor.