# A Leap Of Faith

### By Mukul Sharma

Published: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 1:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 26 Jul 2015, 2:47 PM

E4
I often remember the number of times that I've not been allowed into fancy hotels, five-star restaurants and military messes because I'd not been wearing "proper" clothes. Okay, I don't possess a suit or - horrors - even a tux, so I don't even try to crash black-tie affairs. But, not wearing a shirt has also featured in a  major way among my various butt-outs. So has wearing T-shirts without a collar. Or T-shirts with a &collar, but not tucked in. Or sneakers without socks. Or vice versa. (And all this, mind you, while my dulcet-eyed mate wearing drop-dead duds that wouldn't raise an eyelash at a Stones concert is regaled in amidst muted applause by the management.)
The last time it happened was in a grim little club in Moscow where, as I was being shuffled gate-wards by a posse of serious Siberian huskies, a man dressed exactly like a penguin informed my protests that in that case the next thing you know even street-sweepers would be coming in to hit the high fives and boogieing themselves silly into the dawn. Imagine. Obviously we can't allow that kind of a thing to happen without the very fabric or rubric or whatever the heck of our society tattering to confetti, can we?
But I stray. Therefore, to get back: A certain person lived for many years to a ripe old age. But he celebrated his birthdays only a few times initially and then not at all since, as he put it, they simply "stopped coming". He was right. What is the explanation?
DEAR MS
(The problem was: "Everyone knows a compass doesn't point towards the north geographical pole. However, it doesn't point towards the north magnetic pole either. So where does it point?" - MS)
Point-Counterpoint Dept:
For the compass question this week, I remember something from my high school Physics class. A compass will point 17° inclined to magnetic north vs geographic north. The reason is right poles repel, and the repulsion is 17° to actual north.

The magnetic south of the Earth is the geographical north. The north pole of a compass is directed towards the magnetic south and thus towards the geographical north.
• Zeshan Syed, syed.zeshan98@gmail.com
(Regarding the smallest number of routes from town A to C, including those that go through B... - MS)
Route-46 Dept:
Let x, y and z be the number of direct routes from A to B, B to C and C to A respectively. To travel from A to B, you can either (1) take a direct route or (2) travel A-C-B. Then the total number of routes from A to B is: x + yz = 82. Similarly, the number of routes from B to C is: y + xz = 62. Combining the two yields y = (62 - 82*z) / (1 - z^2). An integer solution is only possible when z = 2, 3 or 11. When z = 11; we have y = 7 and x = 5. This way the total number of routes from A to C works out to 46.
• Saifuddin S F Khomosi, saif_sfk@hotmail.com
(The last problem was: "Icicles are usually formed by the snow melting on sloping roofs of cottages. But if it's cold enough for water to freeze to form icicles, why does the snow melt in the first place?" - MS)
Ice-On-Fire Dept:
Icicles usually form on days when the outdoor air temperature is sub-freezing, but the sunshine melts some snow on rooftops. As it drops off the roof, a water droplet freezes when it loses its heat to the cold air outside.
ENDGAME(S)
1. Five suspects, A, B, C, D and E, are rounded up in connection with a robbery. Their statements are as follows: A: "C and D are lying." B: "A and E are lying." C: "B and D are lying." D: "C and E are lying." E: "A and B are lying." Who is the only suspect we know for certain is lying?
2. When we are suddenly exposed to very cold water, why do we start breathing though the mouth?
(To get in touch with Mukul, mail him at mukul.mindsport@gmail.com)

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