Posted on September 21, 2010
You are the ruler of a medieval empire and you are about to have a celebration tomorrow. The celebration is the most important party you have ever hosted. You've got 1000 bottles of wine you were planning to open for the celebration, but you find out that one of them is poisoned. The poison exhibits no symptoms until death. Death occurs within ten to twenty hours after consuming even the minutest amount of poison. You have over a thousand slaves at your disposal and just under 24 hours to determine which single bottle is poisoned. You have a handful of prisoners about to be executed, and it would mar your celebration to have anyone else killed. What is the smallest number of prisoners you must have to drink from the bottles to be absolutely sure to find the poisoned bottle within 24 hours?
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