Can you solve the sea monster riddle? - Dan Finkel

TED-Ed

TED-Ed

5 min, 27 sec

A tale of the floating city of Atlantartica under siege by sea monsters, where the ruler must select the correct chest of pearls to appease them, using pattern recognition instead of understanding ancient numerals.

Summary

  • Once every thousand years, a host of sea monsters demands tribute from Atlantartica.
  • The ruler, who is the viewer, must choose the correct chest of pearls to prevent the city's destruction.
  • The pearls need to be split among the Leviathan Lords, their kraken, and mermite minions without leftovers.
  • The correct chest is identified by recognizing a pattern in the numbers that indicates a multiple of 1001.
  • By offering the monsters this chest, the city is saved and has a thousand years to prepare for their return.

Chapter 1

The Legend of the Leviathan Lords

0:06 - 35 sec

The floating city of Atlantartica faces a mythic threat from sea monsters every thousand years.

The floating city of Atlantartica faces a mythic threat from sea monsters every thousand years.

  • According to legend, sea monsters emerge from the depths to demand tribute from Atlantartica every thousand years.
  • The current ruler, you, initially dismissed these stories until witnessing the Leviathan Lords and their minions.
  • The city's army is no match for the sea monsters, and the old legends hint at a ransom of pearls to appease them.

Chapter 2

The Riddle of the Pearls

0:41 - 59 sec

The ruler must solve the riddle of distributing pearls to the sea monsters to save Atlantartica.

The ruler must solve the riddle of distributing pearls to the sea monsters to save Atlantartica.

  • The pearls must be divided equally among the Leviathan Lords, their krakens, and the mermite minions.
  • The division must leave no pearls leftover, or the city will be dragged to the sea's bottom.
  • The ruler recalls the city's ancestors prepared chests with exact counts of pearls for this event.

Chapter 3

Deciphering Ancient Numerals

1:40 - 26 sec

The ruler faces the challenge of choosing the right chest without knowing how to read the ancient numerals.

The ruler faces the challenge of choosing the right chest without knowing how to read the ancient numerals.

  • There are five chests with varying amounts of pearls, but the ancient numeral system is unreadable.
  • Time constraints make it impossible to count the pearls, and only one chest contains the correct amount.
  • A wrong choice would lead to the destruction of Atlantartica.

Chapter 4

Pattern Recognition Saves the City

2:06 - 2 min, 44 sec

Without deciphering the numerals, the ruler uses pattern recognition to identify the correct chest of pearls.

Without deciphering the numerals, the ruler uses pattern recognition to identify the correct chest of pearls.

  • The correct number of pearls must be a multiple of 7, 11, and 13, which is also a multiple of their least common multiple, 1001.
  • By recognizing the pattern that any three-digit number multiplied by 1001 duplicates itself, the ruler can find the right chest.
  • The ruler offers the sea monsters the correct chest, appeasing them and saving Atlantartica.

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