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There are $n$ jellybeans in a bottle with unknown dimensions. What is the only surefire way of knowing how many jellybeans are in the bottle?

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    $\begingroup$ +1, an easy question, but still might be interesting to the beginners. $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Nov 8, 2014 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ I've made a discussion about problem difficulty here: meta.puzzling.stackexchange.com/questions/1391/… $\endgroup$
    – Kenshin
    Nov 8, 2014 at 13:52
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe this is lateral thinking? I mean, the only reason this wouldn't be immediately answered (and thus not really a puzzle) is because people try to ignore trivial answers. $\endgroup$ Nov 8, 2014 at 15:07
  • $\begingroup$ These types of questions attract the dumbness in my brain, hahah DVL16 $\color{darkorange}{\bigstar}$ :P $\endgroup$
    – Mr Pie
    Aug 29, 2018 at 7:15

4 Answers 4

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Perhaps by counting the number of jellybeans in the bottle.

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    $\begingroup$ Alternative Answer: Eat them and say 0! $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Nov 8, 2014 at 13:49
  • $\begingroup$ Could you place this as a spoiler? $\endgroup$
    – warspyking
    Nov 8, 2014 at 13:49
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    $\begingroup$ @warspyking eating them all means 0 are in the bottle, 0!=1 isn't zero :P $\endgroup$
    – libathos
    Nov 10, 2014 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ You'd better pour them out of the bottle first, otherwise you can only see the outer layer. $\endgroup$
    – singletee
    Feb 9, 2015 at 22:07
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You can empty the bottle and count the jellybeans on the table.

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    $\begingroup$ Why even bother counting them? If they're no longer in the bottle, the bottle contains zero jellybeans. $\endgroup$ Nov 9, 2014 at 0:46
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There is another way that is probably far less time-consuming, depending on $n$.

Weigh the bottle of jellybeans. Call this value $F$.
Pour out the bottle of jellybeans.
Weigh the empty bottle. Call this value $E$.
Weigh a single jellybean. Call this value $J$.

The number of jellybeans is

$\frac{F-E}{J}$.

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    $\begingroup$ You have no measure of the standard deviation of jelly bean mass this way. For a very large population, this will not produce a concrete answer. $\endgroup$
    – Doresoom
    Jan 30, 2015 at 16:18
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Eat all of the jellybeans because jellybeans are yummy. There are 0 jellybeans in the bottle.

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