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Author Topic: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems  (Read 7199 times)

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MissKitty

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Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« on: July 17, 2012, 10:30:46 AM »

I participated in an IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) seminar a few weeks ago, and they posed a challenge which I found fun and enlightening, and since Randomvillians are quite the clever bunch, I'm passing it along to you lot.

What is the phone number of the office where the following photo was snapped?  I'm not asking for a phone number for the skyscraper in the picture, which sounds hard enough. What is the phone number of the precise office where the photographer was standing when the picture was taken?



Best of luck!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 10:33:10 AM by MissKitty »
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MissKitty

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 10:44:26 AM »

Oh, I forgot to add that the challenge is ideally supposed to take no longer than 10 minutes - but since that's for investigative professionals rather than laypersons like ourselves, you may take as long as needed to figure it out.

It took me 40 minutes. I was really chuffed when I finally got it.
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Kwyjibo

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 10:58:16 AM »

I got the answer in about 30 seconds via google search.  Not terribly sporting of me of course.
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MissKitty

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 11:12:18 AM »

What'd you do, Google the blog of the guy who presented the challenge?
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MissKitty

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 11:34:10 AM »

I thought so. The fun and challenge is ruined then. Sorry.
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Predot

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2012, 11:38:25 AM »

I thought so. The fun and challenge is ruined then. Sorry.

Kwijibo can delete his explanation, for those who haven't read the thread yet.

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Kwyjibo

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2012, 11:46:40 AM »

Done, like I said, wasn't very sporting.
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juggles

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2012, 01:13:45 PM »

Well, I haven't found it yet but I've got some good guesses as to how I could.
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Dan

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #8 on: July 17, 2012, 02:27:47 PM »

I haven't a clue, so I'm going to talk out what I see/think.


First...it's not the USA. Those buildings are not American architecture, and the lp or tp on top of that building, coupled with the building behind it, seem like foreign logos. The car is driving on the right side of the street, so that eliminates South Africa, England, Australia, etc. After that... I'm at a loss.

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Butter

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2012, 03:01:49 PM »

I assume you are supposed to use the internet a bit.

tp and PZU both come back as major companies in Poland somewhere, so he's in Poland.  There is some kind of reflection off the tp building, but I can't make it out.  There looks to be some kind of flag in the lower left, but I assumed that was part of some advertisement, so I discounted it.

Figuring how many major cities there are in Poland, I narrowed it down to Warsaw, and wiki agrees that this tower is in Warsaw, Poland.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TP_S.A._Tower


Now how to get from there to where the picture was shot, I got nothin' right now.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 03:03:41 PM by Butter »
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MissKitty

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2012, 03:09:33 PM »

Butter you are on the right trail!
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Zafer Kaya

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2012, 03:20:25 PM »

I figured it out, but only because MK said it was a puzzle that could be figured out in ten minutes, and I was like, what would be pretty much the only possible way one could figure this out in ten minutes on the internet (without straight up googling the solution)?

MissKitty

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2012, 03:31:15 PM »

Yes, it's a puzzle. The challenge is that if the only thing you had to go on was a photo, and you needed to know exactly where it was taken, how could you do it using your investigative knowledge? The presenter gave the photo challenge as an example - but now that so many people have done it that particular photo isn't a challenge if all you want to do is know the answer. But if the answer wasn't a 30-second Google away, how would you figure it out?
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lutz

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2012, 04:54:12 PM »

I've probably gone about this completely the wrong way, but here's how I've narrowed it down:

PZU (building in background) is Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń and TP is Telekomunikacja Polska, both Polish companies based in Warsaw. Messing around with Google Streetview leads me to believe the photo was taken from the Warsaw Financial Centre, so the office must be one of these. The building front-right is 12 storeys tall, but the bottom storey of the WFC is quite tall, so I would guess the photo was taken from the 11th floor, which is occupied by the Regus Business Centre. Telephone number from regus.com: +48 (0) 22 528 6700.

I'm sure that is all completely wrong  ;D
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Ella Minnow Pea

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Re: Challenge: Solving 'impossible' problems
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 08:00:49 PM »

It helps to look at the image in it's original 1600x1200 resolution.

First I googled PZU and narrowed down to Poland.
Then I googled Westin Poland to see that this was Warsaw.
Then I went to Google maps to figure out what building it was taken from.
I googled the name of the building and found the list of tenants.
I then used Google Street View to attempt to figure out which floor the picture was taken from.
Then I noticed the reflection in the image (after being misled by the stamp).
Hee!
+48 22 207 19 00 is the main number. Does it need to be the direct line? In which case, I'm stumped.

This was really fun. I think we could have a weekly puzzle! I found my old Games magazines, so I'll have to post some questions. They had contests in the days before the internet, so it took real research!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 08:05:24 PM by Ella Minnow Pea »
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