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The Calculus of Friendship by Steven Strogatz

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The Monk and the Mountain (1989-90)

In the June 1961 Mathematical Games column in Scientific American, Martin Gardner posed a riddle that has become a favorite in courses on the psychology of creativity:

One morning, exactly at sunrise, a Buddhist monk began to climb a tall mountain. The narrow path, no more than a foot or two wide, spiraled around the mountain to a glittering temple at the summit.

The monk ascended the path at varying rates of speed, stopping many times along the way to rest and to eat the dried fruit he carried with him. He reached the temple shortly before sunset. After several days of fasting and meditation he began his journey ...

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