Question: You have a bag with 'N' strings in it. You randomly grab two ends and tie them together until there are no more loose ends.
In the end, what is the expected number of loops (strings tied to their own end)?
Answer: 1 + 1/3 + 1/5 ... + 1/(2N-1).
Each time you tie two together the number of string ends available decreases by 2. The chance of grabbing a string and its end is 1/(2N-1).
Question: Two men, Watson and Holmes, are out in the extremely dry forest. They are completely surrounded by a large forest fire on one side and a dangerous cliff on the other. The wind is blowing the forest fire towards them and the cliff. The fire will reach them in about one day.
Holmes turns to Watson, "I have matches, berries, and enough water for a day. We aren't going to die." How can they avoid getting swallowed up by the forest fire?
Answer: They can start a fire of their own with the matches and the wind will blow that fire in the same direction as the forest fire and they can take refuge in the section of the forest they burn down.