"No, no, too literal, too factual," said Frankie, "wouldn't sustain the punters' interest."
Again they thought.
Then Frankie said: "Here's a thought. "How many roads must a man walk down?"
"Ah!" said Benjy. "Aha, now that does sound promising!"
How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?
Number of roads to manhood=R
Average length of a road (in miles) = x
Age at which boy starts walking (in hours) = y
Average walking speed (in miles per hour) = z
Number of roads before turning 18 years of age:
Example: Our hero begins walking at the age of 3, down half-a-mile-long roads, at 3 miles per hour:
(157 788 - 26 298) = 131 490 hours walking
131 490*3 = 394 470 miles
394 470 / 0.5 = 788 940 roads walked down before manhood
Speed at which a three year old would have walk in order to walk down only 42 roads in fifteen years: 0.000159707 mph.
Which would mean, that in that time, the continent he was standing on would have moved by 15*0.000063 miles, or 0.000945 miles, meaning he would, in fact, only walk down a full 42 roads six hours after his eighteenth birthday, and the whole thing falls down again.
Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand?
None. The only compulsory action for sleeping in the sand is the digging of a hole in the sand. If she has to enlist in the navy in order to pay for the digging of the hole, then the matter becomes one of international politics and the service contract she has signed up for. It should be noted that usually only wrens are accepted. (Sorry)
Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannonballs fly, before they're forever banned?
Cannonballs are not yet banned.
Let the number of times the cannonballs must fly, before they're forever banned = Y
Let the number of times cannonballs have flown (so far) = C
Let the number of times cannonballs have yet to fly before they are banned (please note, this could be an infinite number as I'm not sure anyone could now be arsed) = K
Let the number of times the cannonballs have yet to fly after, and in spite of the ban = B
(C+K+B) = Y
The answer, my friend, is (please see above), the answer is (please see above)
How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky?
One. Answer dependent on visual acuity and whether or not said man is in a building or not.
Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry?
One. Answer dependent on aural acuity and whether or not said crying people are nearby.
Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take 'til he knows, that too many people have died?
None. Unless he is told by someone else, or sees it happen and forms the opinion that too many people have died, he will not *know* that too many people have died. He might approach this knowledge in the time leading up to his own death, but at the moment at which this knowledge is realised, he is dead. So he never knows. This argument may or may not be a load of shit.
The answer, my friends, is (please see above), the answer is (please see above).
How many years can a mountain exist, before it is washed to the sea?
Instantaneous creation of mountain.
Mountain is in a temperate region.
Transfer time of material from site of mountain to the sea is one year.
Mountain is 1000m in height and forms an equilateral cone. Its sides are therefore 2308m in length.
The area of the base of the mountain is= (pi)*(2308/2)^2 = 4 188 790 metres squared.
Total volume of the mountain/cone:
(4 188 790 * 1000) / 3 = 1 396 263 402 metres cubed of rock.
The total rainfall received by the mountain is dependent on the area covered by its base.
Assumed temperate region, leading to 500mm, or 0.5 metres of rain a year.
Volume of rain received by the mountain:
0.5*4 188 790 = 209 435 cubic metres of rain fall on the mountain each year.
Let us assume that each cubic metre of rain erodes 0.001 cubic metres of mountain:
209 435 * 0.001 = 209.435 cubic metres of mountain are eroded each year.
Therefore, the number of years a mountain can exist before it is washed to the sea, ignoring freeze-thaw processes, avalanches, deforestation, acid rain, birds sharpening beaks and people drilling into it, is:
1396263402 / 209.435 = 6, 666, 810 years.
Add one year for the final amount of mountain to be washed to the sea:
Six million, six hundred and sixty-six thousand, eight hundred and eleven years.
Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist, before they're allowed to be free?
Let the maximum time that some people can exist before they're allowed to be free= E
Let the infinitesimal amount of time before complete decomposition (i.e. ceasing to exist) that they are free for = T
Let the length of living existence (conception to death) = L
Let the time from death to total decomposition (dependent on ambient moisture content, temperature, carrion, and local wildlife) = D
Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, pretending he just doesn't see?
Assuming infinite capacity for ignorance, and representations from above;
Let the number of times a man turns his head, pretending he just doesn't see = N
Let the time it takes for him to turn his head (in hours) = G
G*(L- 157 788) = N
The answer, my friends, is (please see above), the answer is (ple-ease see above).