A puzzle about two houses on fire has sparked a debate whereas people have a hard time agreeing on what the correct answer is.

The puzzle goes as follows: “Two houses are on fire: a rich one and a poor one. Which fire will the police fight first?”

Ever since the puzzle has started making rounds on the internet, users couldn’t agree on the right answer. While some suggested the police would always extinguish fires at the rich house first, others said they would make sure to tend to both homes at once.

The correct answer to the puzzle, however, is neither. The police wouldn’t fight the fires, they would wait for firefighters to do their job.

If you’re not pleased with the outcome of this puzzle, here’s another one – a mathematical one – for you.

“A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total,” the puzzle reads. “The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost?”

If you’re already confident that the right answer is 10 cents, think again.

If the ball costs 10 cents, the bat would have to cost $1.10 due to the fact that the “bat costs $1.00 more than the ball.” In this case, the total price of the ball and the bat would be $1.20 ($0.10 + $1.10).

The correct answer to this puzzle is 5 cents. The ball costs 5 cents, whereas the bat costs $1.05, exactly one dollar more than the ball. Both items in total, therefore, cost $1.10.

If you failed to answer the puzzle correctly, don’t worry. Apparently, many people get it wrong as it is in our nature to attempt to simplify difficult problems by substituting them with simpler ones – in this case, this would mean assuming that the ‘$1.00 more than’ statement refers to the absolute cost of the bat.

Here’s the math behind the puzzle:

Let’s assume that: the bat = x; the ball = y.

We know that: x + y = 1.10

We also know that: x = y + 1.00 (because the bat costs one dollar more than the ball)

Now let’s put these two equations together:

x + y = 1.10

(y + 1.00) + y = 1.10

2y + 1.00 = 1.10

2y = 0.10

y (the ball) = 0.05 (5 cents)

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