An engineering firm is looking to fill a position, and has interviewed a few dozen applicants. They've winnowed it down to just three candidates, and they're all bright, motivated, and experienced.
the final decision, the interviewer decides to pose one last question to
each of them.
He tells the three interviewees, "So this building we're
in, any idea how tall it is, down to the inch?" All three shake their
Turning to the first he says, so if I gave you an accurate
barometer, how would you determine the height?
The engineer pauses and
says, "Well, I'd measure the pressure difference between the roof and
ground, use that to find the change in altitude".
interviewer turns to the second candidate. "And you? How would you
"Well" says the second engineer, "I would measure the
shadow cast by the barometer and the shadow cast by the building. We
know the length of one, we can find the length of the other".
good!" said the interviewer, finally turning to the last engineer. "And
After a moment's thought the third engineer finally says, "I think
I'd just find the building manager, offer to give him a shiny new
barometer if he told me how tall the building is."