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A few years ago, Danny, Leon, and Martin all applied for an Inspector job at the motorcycle factory. In an ordinary year, Danny, who was a motorcycle enthusiast and mechanic, would have been the only applicant and he was well-qualified for the job. But this was during the Great Recession. Leon was a physicist who had lost his research grant, and Martin was an aeronautical engineer who’d been laid off.
The personnel manager had three good candidates. He told them, “Come back tomorrow. Tell me the height of the building, and whoever gets closest gets the job.
Leon climbed onto the roof with iron balls and dropped them. He measured the time it took each one to fall, took the average, and then calculated the height of the factory. Martin used a sextant and a yardstick to get an angle and then used trigonometry to find the height of the building. But Danny was nowhere to be seen.
The next day all three applicants stood before the personnel manager. “Leon,” the manager said, “how tall is this factory?”
“70 feet, 6.7 inches.”
“Martin, it’s your turn.” “70 feet, 4.2 inches.”
“Okay, Danny,” said the manager, “what did you find?”
“70 feet, 7.2 inches,” said Danny.
“That’s smack dab right on the button. How did you measure it?”
“I went to maintenance and looked up the height in the building records.”
He got the job.