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Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Cucumber Case

On a sunny morning, a greengrocer places 200 kilograms of cucumbers in cases in front of his shop. At that moment, the cucumbers are 99% water. In the afternoon, it turns out that it is the hottest day of the year, and as a result, the cucumbers dry out a little bit. At the end of the day, the greengrocer has not sold a single cucumber, and the cucumbers are only 98% water.

The Question: How many kilograms of cucumbers has the greengrocer left at the end of the day?


Answer: In the morning, the 200 kilograms of cucumbers are 99% water. So the non-water part of the cucumbers has a mass of 2 kilograms. At the end of the day, the cucumbers are 98% water. The remaining 2% is still the 2 kilograms of non-water material (which does not change when the water evaporates). If 2% equals 2 kilograms, then 100% equals 100 kilograms. So, the greengrocer has 100 kilograms of cucumbers left at the end of the day.


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