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An Old Pedestrian

Science brain teasers require understanding of the physical or biological world and the laws that govern it.

 

Puzzle ID:#16019
Fun:*** (2.47)
Difficulty:** (2.03)
Category:Science
Submitted By:Rowsdower****

 

 

 



An elderly man who lives in the northern United States (above 43 degrees north) likes to walk to and from work each day, year-round. He goes to work at 10:00am and comes home before dark in the evening. His workplace and home are on the same street, which runs east to west through a typical residential neighborhood. There are two story houses along both sides of the street. Throughout most of the year, he varies which side of the street he walks on from day to day, but between late October and mid-December he always walks on the north side of the street. This is also true between mid-March and the end of April. Why does he walk exclusively on the north side of the street during those two periods?



Answer

He is afraid of falling. Any precipitation during those two periods of the year will freeze at night but thaw during the day, provided it is not in the shade. In the northern U.S. the sun stays well to the south in the winter, even at noon. Because of the houses, the south side of his street stays in the shade all day and stays icy, so he walks on the north side. In the coldest part of the winter the ice doesn't melt at all, so both sides are equally icy and he again varies which side he walks on. In the summer he varies which side he walks on to enjoy the sun but not get burned.
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