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Bamboo Pole

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


Puzzle ID:#16038
Fun:*** (3.03)
Difficulty:** (1.84)
Submitted By:doggyxpus*****
Corrected By:doggyxp




Doctor Dodge was staying with Cousin Jamie in Jamie's lakeside cabin. They were setting up Jamie's will. As Dodge was Jamie's closest living relative, much of Jamie's estate was being left to him.
One day, Jamie went to Dr Dodge very disturbed. "Doctor," he began, "I have just found out that a man named Georgio wants to get me. He will be here very soon. Where will I go? Where can I hide? If he finds me in here, he will surely kill me. I do not have time to leave this clearing and go farther into the woods."
Dr Dodge thought for a moment, and then grabbed a 5' long bamboo pole, with a diameter the size of a quarter. "Jamie, follow me out to the lake. This lake is 4' deep. If you lie on the bottom of the lake and breathe through this pole, Georgio will never find you. I will be in the bulrushes with a shotgun, and I will shoot him when he comes. I will swim down to find you when he is gone."
Jamie consented, and lay down on the bottom of the lake with the bamboo pole in his mouth. A few hours later, a ranger passed by. He found Jamie's body, dead. Dr Dodge told the police of the circumstance, and that Jamie had probably panicked, and died.
Police arrested Dr Dodge, on the charges of murdering Jamie. Why?

The bamboo pole did not have any cracks or holes. Its opening was above water the whole time.


Jamie died of carbon dioxide poisoning. The pole was 5' long, but only the size of a quarter.
The first time he breathed in, he breathed oxygen. When he exhaled, the air could not travel 5' before he breathed in again. He was just breathing what he exhaled. Before long, all he was breathing was carbon dioxide. He died of CO2 poisoning.

Doctor Dodge was the one who told him to use the pole, therefore the cause of his death. Dodge is a DOCTOR, and therefore knows about the CO2. Dodge did murder Jamie. His motive: the money in the will.


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Jan 08, 2004

hmm i thought he drowned cause he didnt hold his nose... but then i saw the hint. very clever!!
Jan 09, 2004

Good one. Would that be the same as suffocation, which is what I thought as I assumed he would not get enough air that way?
(user deleted)
Jan 09, 2004

That's not murder. If some ninny from the backwoods is going to kill himself by following stupid advice, all the better for this world. IMHO.
Jan 10, 2004

You know, as a little kid I tried this with a 7ft piece of pvc pipe in a swimming pool. Much to the world's dismay, however, I had the sense to come up when I couldn't breath. Fun teaser!
Jan 10, 2004

Well, I guess you can get partial credit for saying suffocation! Glad you all like the teaser.
Jan 10, 2004

Jan 10, 2004

huh? How much carbon dioxide would cause death?
(user deleted)
Jan 12, 2004

Carbon dioxide causes death by suffocation. That is to say that you would pass out from lack of air but would revive when air became available, assuming too much time hadn't passed. Carbon monoxide causes death by poisoning, however, and its effects are far more severe. Anyway, its not the amount of carbon dioxide that matters, bbngk, but rather how much time w/o air.
Jan 12, 2004

Very nice. I liked the story line well writen.
Jan 12, 2004

Thank u. So what was the cause of death? Not Carbon Dioxide poisoning ?!
Jan 19, 2004

I've always wandered why people can't just breathe in their mouth and out their nose. Never tried it though.
Jan 19, 2004

bbngk, like HarryLarry said, you can't get POISONED by carbon DIOXIDE, its carbon MONOXIDE that causes poisoning. If you look at the situation in a different perspective, think of yourslef trapped in a box with one teensy weensy hole at your feet (where you cant reach with your mouth). The hole wouldn't be big enough to exchange the increasing amount of carbon dioxide when you exhale and the decreasing amount of oxygen when you inhale, therefore you will die of suffocation.

Also, to contarary belief, one cannot die of being painted gold. Some believe (from the Bond movie "Goldfinger") that being painted in gold will cause your skin to suffocate, or not let in oxygen . That is not true because we humans do not breathe through our skin! We have LUNGS!!!
Jan 19, 2004

And fasil. We CAN breathe through our mouths and out of our noses! That would be a counterexample to this riddle! Jamie could have inhaled oxygen through the pole while holding his nose and exhaled through his nose! Would that work though??
Jan 19, 2004

I did not say Jamie died of CO2 poisoning. The ANSWER says so.
Jan 21, 2004

breathing through the nose would probably work, but then the hiding place would be revealed by the bubbles rising to the surface of the water... a catch 22!
Jan 22, 2004

I am sorry about the "CO2 Poisoning" bit. Maybe I should have just stuck with the suffocation bit. Sorry guys. And thanks to all of you who helped clear up that misconception. I am glad you like the story line
(user deleted)
Feb 03, 2004

Fun teaser! Don't worry about all of the people who get overly technical on you, because in some cases it takes away the fun. I was just trying to clear up a question. Oh, and in regards to Rows' comment above: That really is too bad!
Feb 10, 2005

cool. i figured it out aftwer rading the hint.
Feb 17, 2005

One more flaw in the riddle... unless Jamie had very underdeveloped lungs, his lung capacity would be quite a bit larger than the volume of the reed.

The pole has "a diameter the size of a quarter", which is about 1 square inch. (Actually a little less, but for argument's sake...) Given that the pole is 5 feet = 60 inches long, this is 60 cubic inches, which is just under 1 liter. (Hint: do a Goole search for "cubic inches in a liter"... pretty cool, huh?)

For a 5'8" male, the typical lung capacity is about 4.5 -5 liters (full inhale to full exhale). I'm not sure what the typical breath is, but if Jamie were to run out of oxygen, he would start panting and taking larger breaths, which should be more than sufficient to ensure that each inhale gives him more air than the 1-liter capacity of the pole.
May 30, 2005

I knew that the doctor killed him for the money, but i couldn't figure out why
Jul 06, 2005

wow - when i read that there was 20 comments i thought for sure someone else would have twigged to the fact that this teaser was an encyclopedia brown "mystery" (though i'm also willing to go with "2 minute mystery" story 'coz i always mix them up)
Nov 18, 2005

garnet u contradicted urself lol. just thought i'd point that out, but we no wat u meant. anywayz i thought that was cool even though i didnt get it.
Jan 03, 2006

It is a two minute mystery. So I'm not the only one who got one of these accepted.

My teaser Dino Photo is also a two minute mystery.
Mar 08, 2006

Way too plagiarize...For shame
Jun 01, 2006

If it is a Two Minute Mystery, then that is simply a coincidence; I heard this one years and years ago. It is not plagiarism.
(user deleted)
Jul 05, 2007

Doggyxp, you're correct in stating that such an act would kill someone, but I'm actually suprised that I didn't see any comments about the physical ability to breath under those conditions. While attending a scubadiving class, I tried to breath through a snorkel, that I had straightened. Even though I was only several inches under water, when I tried to breathe through the snorkel, all the air was sucked out of my lungs! I then resurfaced and attempted it again. This time, placing the snorkel to my mouth, AFTER I was underwater. Although this was easy to do, I could not blow the air up and out of the snorkel. I believe that being 4 ft. under water would have been too great a pressure to breath, even if you have enough Tidal Volume to adequately exchange oxygen..... I Liked the brain teaser though. I was sure that the answer was going to be the impossible water pressure.
May 14, 2008

good one
Sep 28, 2008

Bamboo does have hollow stems, but the stems are segmented every foot or so, and each segment is separated from the next by a solid node. So, it would be impossible to breathe through at all. A better plant for this riddle would be the common reed, which can grow taller than five feet, is hollow, and would look more natural poking out of a pond than a length of bamboo.
(user deleted)
Oct 26, 2008

He would have suffocation alright!! Bamboo shoots are not hollow they're made of segmented CLOSED chambers.
Aug 21, 2014

The atmospheric pressure difference at 4 feet underwater and surface is too great; lungs would collapse. I'm pretty sure a metre stick is the longest feasible "snorkel".
Feb 28, 2015

Yes, he would've indeed suffocated but it has absolutely nothing to do with carbon dioxide. The reason for the suffocation is exactly at Coral pointed out.

The bamboo shoot would've equalized the air pressure between the inside of his lungs and the atmosphere above the surface. The very first time he exhaled he would not be able to take in a single breath because the 4' of water pressure crushing down on his chest.
Jun 09, 2017

bamboo is not hollow for more than a few inches, between nodes ....

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