I have a bottle of water on my desk. I’ve long since peeled off the label, and I wanted to add some drink mix to the water, but I wasn’t sure how much water the bottle held. I also didn’t want to pour it all out into a measuring cup. So after thinking for a few seconds, I headed to the mailroom and got my answer.


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20 responses to “Riddle

  1. trunkbutt

    Did you weigh it on the mail scale and then look up the liquid weight conversion to find out how many pints, quarts, or cups your bottle held?

  2. juniperpearls

    You can use the letter scale to see how many ounces it is and then convert it to fluid ounces…?

  3. sylvar

    Yup. But I already knew that 1L water weighs 1kg. So when I saw that it weighs 2lb 4oz, I knew I had about a liter. Close enough to dump two packets of drink mix in there, anyway.

  4. heathrow

    a pint is a pound the world around…

  5. stonegargoyle

    The vending machine you got it from was in their? or you know how much water weighs.

  6. knobody

    the density of water is 1 g/cc. the mailroom likely has a scale. the mass of the bottle is insignifigant. from there it’s just math.

  7. creases

    The scale?

    — Cletus the Foetus

  8. jitterbug5bi5

    You weighed it on the mail scale?

  9. vixi

    looking for a scale?

  10. meander112

    The scale in the mail room. Possibly with a weight to volume equation.

  11. magnoliafly

    The handy dandy ounce scale.

  12. froglettewriter

    Multiple guess answers: :) you weighed it in the mail room thereby determining how much water is in the bottle.

    There is a water vending machine located in or through or near the mail room and it’s the same exact shape bottle so reading those labels would tell you the amount of water.


    Somebody else in the mail room has the same bottles therefore you figured you’d ask them the volume from their label.

  13. cardinalximinez

    Ask the aquarist: you weighed it. One gallon of water is about 8 1/3 lbs. From there, it’s simple math.

  14. ratcliffe1963

    you weighed the bottle on the mailroom scale and coverted weight to volume.

  15. madam_sosostris

    The postage meter?

  16. pappy74

    well, the obvious answer seems to be that there’s a package scale there to weigh it… is it that straightforward?

  17. daveyp


    During your last visit to the mailroom (whilst wearing a deerstalker hat and smoking a large pipe), you noticed that one of the mailroom staff had an identically sized water bottle but (crucially) they had not removed the label.

    Unfortunately when you returned to the mailroom with your bottle, you discovered that said labelled bottle had been thrown away. So, using the mailroom facilities, you posted your empty bottle to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (www.nist.gov) and asked them to measure it for you.

    Approximately 3 weeks later, you received a letter from NIST advising you that your bottle could hold exactly one fifth of a firkin of ale.

  18. tealfroglette

    exactly one fifth of a firkin of ale…… this has seriously brightened my day. :)

  19. anonymous

    That’s easy– the mailroom has a postage scale. You probably knew that a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. There are 4 quarts to a gallon, so a quart weighs 2 pounds. A quart is 2 pints, which are a pound each and so on. You weighed the bottle of water (disregarding the weight of the bottle itself, I imagine) and determined the amount of water in the bottle by its weight. From there, you could figure out how much mix to add to your bottle.

    That– or you found a similar bottle with the label still on it… :)

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