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# If a bear walks one mile south, turns left and walks one mile to the east and then turns left again and walks one mile north and arrives at its original position, what is the color of the bear.

Posted on 2011-02-21
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If a bear walks one mile south, turns left and walks one mile to the east and then turns left again and walks one mile north and arrives at its original position, what is the color of the bear.
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Question by:dshrenik
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

I must be a Polar Bear, so white!  Yuk yuk.  ;)
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

This is a very old riddle. It's a polar bear, so it's white.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

Technically, saying "turns left" implies a 90 degree turn which is false. It would be approximately 120 degree turn to go east from going south that close to the north pole.
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

Bonus riddle. Give all the possible locations where this could happen. (hint: there are many more than two answers. We are assuming polar bears can be on the south pole.)
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

Technically polar bears aren't really white anyway
http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/polarbear.html
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

Oh, oh, I get it! That's the answer. You aren't really just drumming up an old riddle. You are being clever and trying to trick us. I change my answer to:
The bear is colorless.
There. I got the real right answer. Yay for me!
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Author Comment

Well, I'm not trying to trick you. I'm trying to find the answer!

Can you explain why it is colorless, and why the bear is on the north pole?

Thanks!
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LVL 37

Accepted Solution

TommySzalapski earned 500 total points
It's on the north pole because that's the only place that you can walk south, then east, then north and end up where you started. Picture a globe.
Start exactly on the north pole. Then go south. Now when you go east you walk in a circle staying exactly one mile from the north pole. So when you go back north, in one mile, you're back at the pole (where you started).
Anywhere else and you'd end up 1 mile east of your original location (roughly)
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LVL 37

Expert Comment

Of course this could also happen at certain points near the south pole, but no polar bears live there anyway. (No bears live there at all). So the only possibility (assuming you didn't drag a bear to the pole) is that it is a polar bear which is white/colorless and are native to the arctic.
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Author Comment

Excellent explanation!

Thanks!
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