An ancient thought-puzzle tells of a farmer with a wolf, a goat and an (undamaged, prize) cabbage on the way to the fair. She comes across a river which is served by a rickety raft.

The raft destabilizes if she loads it with more than one object (animal or cabbage), plus herself.
(The raft can be loaded with two objects, but then she is unable to propel the raft across the river, or unload it on the other side.)
If the goat and cabbage are left unattended, the goat will snack on the cabbage, damaging it.
If the wolf and the goat are left unattended, the wolf will attack the goat, probably killing it.

How does the farmer get her goods across the river with all of them intact?

This is one of the simpler river-crossing puzzles. The Wikipedia version features a fox, a goose and a bag of beans (also the solution, if you want to know but are not feeling thinky right now).

I previously discussed / linked to gaming-related examples of closer-to-home variants of famous thought experiments (specifically, Schrödinger’s Cat and Hotel Infinity). Today I got to experience a more IRL transport puzzle right here in my own home. Featuring our lovable local versions of Ren and Stimpy. Spoiler: I failed to provide an adequate solution.

I wake up in my bed. Ren wants walkies urgently. Stimpy is very hungry. I need to dress for outdoors.

Ren follows me wherever I go doing the walky-time wiggle dance.
Stimpy also follows. She’d be giving me I’m hungry rubbies. (Kittens do this to mom-cats.) She’s slightly slower than Ren.
Through most rooms and hallways (exceptions below) Ren and Stimpy can navigate around each other.

I wake up inadequately dressed for outdoors. My clothes are in my room.
My room is a Stimpy only zone, which (I discovered) Stimpy will gleefully enforce.

Cat food on the floor (appetizers. Stimpy’s staple supply is safe if less preferred) will be eaten by Ren if left unattended.
Stimpy won’t eat if Ren’s wiggly, frenetic self is in the kitchen.

In the more advanced version, Ren would pee when leashed, so must be leashed on an absorbent mat, though leashing has been pee-free all week. Good dog!

The solution (I think) is to dress, put down food and walk Ren, leaving Stimpy free to eat. But today, Ren followed me into the No-Ren zone, and got a smacking by Stimpy.

Real-world puzzles don’t always have solutions, though I solved the open-coffee / excited-dog / heavy-box puzzle recently with aplomb.


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