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Common Trait of Handguns and Soda Containers

(but not of most other things) -- a fun puzzle from Glen Whitman (Agoraphilia).

Crunchy Frog:
Both have been in my kitchen.
3.10.2008 5:31pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Crunchy Frog: My sense is that very few other things have this trait. My sense is also that thousands of things have been in your kitchen.
3.10.2008 5:38pm
ifoughtthelaw (mail) (www):

Yes, yes... I realize there's an infinite possible number of correct answers -- they're both tangible, they're both products, etc. -- but in keeping with the convention of puzzles like this, you have to find the relatively narrow and interesting category into which both fall[...]


...and that I happened to be thinking of when I wrote this post.
3.10.2008 5:42pm
Crunchy Frog:
EV: But few have lived to tell the tale.

Actually, my response was that both have "triggers" that need to be pulled. However, the urge for smartassery was too powerful to resist.
3.10.2008 5:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
My sense is also that thousands of things have been in your kitchen.

EV is obviously not a fan of "Cheers"
3.10.2008 5:56pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Both are essentially cylindrical vessels that owe their shape to the fact that a round structure is a more efficient means to contain a pressurized gas. A square prism shaped structure with thin walls would bulge under pressure until it became cylindrical.
3.10.2008 6:07pm
glangston (mail):
both release pressure when you pop a cap.
3.10.2008 6:13pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Both are essentially cylindrical vessels that owe their shape to the fact that a round structure is a more efficient means to contain a pressurized gas

Wouldn't that be true if you were talking about bullets--but not handguns.
3.10.2008 6:14pm
eck:
It's either (a) that you're really, really not supposed to point them at your face, or (b) you can't carry either through airport security.
3.10.2008 6:16pm
billb:
JFT: I don't really want a square barrel either. :) (Though rifling does concentrate stresses in various ways)
3.10.2008 6:20pm
Jim at FSU (mail):
Ok, hold a bullet in your hand and try to fire it without a barrel to contain the pressure. Hint: 5 extra projectiles will be thrown.

And yeah, I am an idiot for not getting the "can't bring them through airport security" thing.
3.10.2008 6:21pm
TappingProblem:
This is the law blogger's equivalent of the "tapping puzzle."

It's a classic psych experiment. A student is assigned to tap out the rhythm to a song using a pencil or finger on a desk. He's then asked "what's the liklihood that somebody will be able to guess what song you just tapped?" Inevitably, the student guesses that it's better than 50-50 that a listener would be able to guess. But, invariably, something like 5% to 10% of listeners can actually figure out the song.

This is the same thing. If you already have the answer in your head, it's completely easy. But to the rest of the world it's completely opaque and uninteresting.
3.10.2008 6:25pm
Malvolio:
I don't like "What do X and Y have in common?" With only two examples, there are too many possibilities and the "correct" answer is unlikely to have that ah-hah feel to it.

"Why is a raven like a writing desk?"
3.10.2008 6:31pm
Anonymouseducator (mail) (www):
If very few other things share this trait, I don't see how it could be that you are not supposed to take it past airport security.
3.10.2008 6:34pm
Kim Scarborough (mail) (www):
You can use them both to pop a cap in somebody's ass.
3.10.2008 7:15pm
ifoughtthelaw (mail) (www):
TappingProblem and Malvolio are right. This is no different from "What number am I thinking of?" or "What have I got in my pocket?"
3.10.2008 7:22pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

I don't really want a square barrel either


square and triangular bores were once considered useful in warfare against non-christians.
3.10.2008 7:34pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
They're both commonly made from glass, plastic, or aluminum -- except the guns.

The only things that make sense to me is (1) they're both pressure vessels and (2) they can't be carried through airport security.
3.10.2008 7:52pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Wouldn't that be true if you were talking about bullets--but not handguns.


*Bullets* don't take much internal pressure at all; they're typically solid, and while there is some pressure between the lead core and copper jacket of most bullets, this amount is usually trivial compared to the pressure against the front end.

Cartridge cases take a lot of pressure, but they're specifically designed with thin metal brass or steel walls in order to expand; they need to make a nice seal to prevent the cartridge from venting too much hot gas backwards.

It's the handgun's chamber and barrel that have to keep together, and those are rather integral parts to the design.

Non-circular cartridges and chambers have been tried, I believe, but they have to be overengineered to keep them safe, making them impractical.
3.10.2008 8:23pm
eyesay:
TappingProblem wrote: "It's a classic psych experiment. A student is assigned to tap out the rhythm to a song using a pencil or finger on a desk. He's then asked 'what's the liklihood that somebody will be able to guess what song you just tapped?' Inevitably, the student guesses that it's better than 50-50 that a listener would be able to guess. But, invariably, something like 5% to 10% of listeners can actually figure out the song."

Depends on the rhythm. Tap out "America" from West Side Story and you'll probably get a good recognition rate.

Malvolio wrote: "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Because they appeared together in a question asked by the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland!
3.10.2008 8:37pm
hattio1:
eyesay says;

Depends on the rhythm. Tap out "America" from West Side Story and you'll probably get a good recognition rate.


You're joking right? How many Americans you think have seen West Side Story, much less would instantly recognize it. I think you'd have better luck going for "Satisfaction" by the Stones
3.10.2008 9:20pm
Dan Weber (www):
I think you'd have better luck going for "Satisfaction" by the Stones.

"We Will Rock You."
3.10.2008 9:40pm
autolykos:

I think you'd have better luck going for "Satisfaction" by the Stones.

"We Will Rock You."


My wife was unable to get "Rock You Like a Hurricane" when I whistled it during a game we were playing with friends. Most of the other people I was with were unable to get it either. It seemed obvious to me...
3.10.2008 9:48pm
autolykos:
and, yes, after clicking the link and reading the answer in the comments, I can say that the question is really, really uninteresting. Sorry professor.
3.10.2008 9:51pm
Dan Weber (www):
Sorry for the double post, but the tapping made me think of this:

http://www.songtapper.com/s/tappingmain.bin?dotap=1

Satisfaction, Rock You, and America were all easily recognized. But most popular songs fail.
3.10.2008 9:56pm
pct:
Not that narrow a category. Consider tires: in a 205/65R15 , the 205 is mm and the 15 is inches. At least when you buy a Glock, you either buy a .40 or a 9.
3.10.2008 10:59pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Topologically they're the same shape.
3.10.2008 10:59pm
Bender (mail):
T

opologically they're the same shape.

Actually, no: The homology group of the can's surface is a free group of order 1. That of the gun's surface is a free group of at least order 2.
3.10.2008 11:21pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):
went over there and read the answer. lame.
3.10.2008 11:49pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
went over there and read the answer. lame.

And not even right. Practically everything in the world comes in both English and Metric units.
3.11.2008 10:19am
ChrisIowa (mail):

Topologically they're the same shape.

Actually, no: The homology group of the can's surface is a free group of order 1. That of the gun's surface is a free group of at least order 2.


Bender:

Are you counting the lift tab as if it remains in place or goes away? (lift tab i thought equivalent to the trigger guard) Or does it matter? I'm reasonably certain you know more about it than I do.
3.11.2008 11:11am
iowan (mail):
shoes, bras, tools,quantity of almost anything on a grocery shelf, duh
3.11.2008 2:25pm
Uh_Clem (mail):
>>went over there and read the answer. lame.

> And not even right. Practically everything in the world comes
> in both English and Metric units.



Wow. Just wow. Lamest. Puzzle. Ever.

Eugene is irresponsible for posting a link to this.
3.11.2008 3:05pm
Bender (mail):
ChrisIowa: Omigod I forgot the pulltab. You're right. My apologies.
3.12.2008 6:41pm