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Icebreakers

Candle Power

When you are problem solving, you often get a feeling that a potential solution is 'right'. This intuitive feeling can be helpful because it will keep you looking for alternative solutions when you feel uneasy about your initial conclusions. But this intuition can also lead you astray because feeling good about a solution can prevent you looking at the problem more closely as this puzzle demonstrates...

In a temple, in the remote mountains of Tibet, a novice monk tends a sacred candle — lighting it at sunset, extinguishing it at sunrise, removing the unburnt stub and fitting a new candle into the candlestick ready for the next sunset.

An ancient prophesy warns, that if this ritual should ever be broken, terrible catastrophes and disasters will occur.

One year, the winter snow storms prevented the supply of new candles to the monastery. When the last candle burns out the novice, being a resourceful person, did not despair. Instead, he goes around the temple looking for the discarded candle stubs. He finds 64 and he is able to make one new candle from the wax produced by melting down eight candle stubs.

How many more nights is he able to carry out the sacred ritual?
Solution


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