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My friend said to me:

“In February of the year 1970 at 1:12 AM Ma turned 18. Ma turned 34 in February of the year 2002 at 2:16 AM. How is this possible?”

“And yes. Same Ma!” he ended with that.

Hint

Specific times are important here

Hint 2

Synonym of Ma is Mother--- who turns?

Hint 3

Different type of clocks, even silly ones

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  • $\begingroup$ Specific time but no specific date, interesting. $\endgroup$
    – hexomino
    Jan 20 at 13:41
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    $\begingroup$ My friend,like Grandpa, is a trickster.:) $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Jan 20 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ The difference of years is 32 and the age is 16, related? $\endgroup$
    – 00xxqhxx00
    Jan 20 at 14:11
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    $\begingroup$ hmm... "turned" could mean many things. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Barden
    Jan 20 at 14:40
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    $\begingroup$ No specific knowledge needed. Only general knowledge. Not relevant if it is US or Europe. Time is a clue. $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Jan 21 at 13:01
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I guess Ma is

Mother Earth

The specific years and the month refer to

being a red herring

The specific times refer to

the fact that Mother Earth turns by 1 degree every four minutes.

So:

At 1:12 am each day, she turned 18 degrees since 0:00, and at 2:16 am each day she turned 34 degrees.

The only thing that might not add up in this suggested solution is

hint 3, since for my suggested answer you do not need silly clocks, but preferably ordinary and precise ones.

Addition, after DrD explained:

Someone provides several 'silly clocks' online, including a 'degree clock'. So I take it hint 3 was rather a nudge to look at the silly clocks and get an idea than a requirement to interpret the time stamps in any strange way.

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Answer

"Turn" means something other than age and "Ma" stays the same.
Example, Ma turned 18 pancakes over when she was making a late night snack in 1970 and she turned 34 pancakes over in 2002.

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  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Why at those specific times? $\endgroup$
    – DrD
    Jan 21 at 13:01
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I have an answer:

Ma was born on February 29. She was 18 on 1970, which meant she was born on 1952. It was, in fact, a leap year. But 2002 wasn't. No more explanation needed, since the lep years add up exactly to the age. Plus, the clock is changed because of the fact that days get shorter in winter, which is around November to January, I think.

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    $\begingroup$ Nice idea, but this doesn't add up. You suggest she only counts the years she celebrates, and that's all to it? Then she would have been born in 1896, and would turn 34 (or actually methusaleic 136 in reality) in 2032. Or did I misunderstand what you suggest? - And since both dates are February, I also miss the idea behind your suggestion for the clock change. $\endgroup$ Jan 28 at 0:54
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Ma turns something

every four seconds

This something

is unknown to us (at least to me) and it can be anything that can be turned, even herself.

We only know that it is numbered from 1 at 00:00:04 to 21600 at midnight

That's why

- every day, at 1:12 she turns 18 (72 = 18 × 4 seconds)
- every day, at 2:16 she turns 34 (136 = 34 × 4 seconds)

[Edit] Maybe Ma is

a lighthouse?

[Edit #2] Following the publication of hint 2, Ma might be

a rotating celestial object with a 4-second spin period, like a neutron star (for example, pulsar J1814-1744's spin period is exactly 4s).

How is it related to hint 2? ma is the abbreviation of milli-arcsecond which is a unit used in astronomy.

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm thinking 4 minutes instead of 4 seconds. $\endgroup$
    – TTT
    Jan 23 at 2:08
  • $\begingroup$ @TTT You are probably right but with a lateral-thinking tag, who knows?... $\endgroup$
    – xhienne
    Jan 24 at 23:46
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Following John L's logic, one more for the road:

Ma is a very slow reader, so, reading Lord of the Rings, she turned page 18 at the first exact moment, and page 34 at the second.

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Possibly:

Ma turned back the clock.

If she did this:

She would be younger many years younger because she had literally lived less minutes: the clock had been pushed back.

Hint 2:

Ma is literally mother, and she turned back the clock.

Hint 3:

'the clock' is a silly type of clock because it is metaphorical and an idea.

I don't know how this fits in with Hint 1 or the clock times, but based on the other clues, I thought it was a plausible idea.

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I think the answer is Unix time. It is a default date in some technological devices or things like that. So, 2002 - 34 = 1968. 1968 + 18 = 1986. Ma was born in 1968 and the friend looked at some calendar in his old technical device, in which the calendar might be reset or something like that which sets date to 1970 automatically. When the friend looked at the calendar it might be showing 1970 but in reality, that year could be 1986.

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