OK, so maybe this isn't the most profound query of our time. But it's at least important to Google. On Monday, a Business Insider reader asked for advice in preparation for his or her interview with Google. To help the reader out, BI pointed to a list of questions Google has asked job candidates over the years. Quite a few of them are confoundedly difficult (e.g. how many piano tuner are there in the entire world?). One particularly difficult question was: "How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?"
So obviously this isn't the type of question they're looking for an exact answer to: it's more about how you work your way through it. Showing others how it's done, a Business Insider reader responds with the following answer:
I figure a standard school bus is about 8ft wide by 6ft high by 20 feet long - this is just a guess based on the thousands of hours I have been trapped behind school buses while traffic in all directions is stopped.
That means 960 cubic feet and since there are 1728 cubic inches in a cubit foot, that means about 1.6 million cubic inches.
I calculate the volume of a golf ball to be about 2.5 cubic inches (4/3 * pi * .85) as .85 inches is the radius of a golf ball.
Divide that 2.5 cubic inches into 1.6 million and you come up with 660,000 golf balls. However, since there are seats and crap in there taking up space and also since the spherical shape of a golf ball means there will be considerable empty space between them when stacked, I'll round down to 500,000 golf balls.
Which sounds ludicrous. I would have spitballed no more than 100k. But I stand by my math.
Of course, if we are talking about the kind of bus that George Bush went to school on or Barney Frank rides to work every day, it would be half that....or 250,000 golf balls.
Not too shabby! That's pretty much the same way we solved it, minus the math.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.