Also, part of the assumption of these dialogs is not that Feynman is actually proposing these solutions, but that he is using them to Socratically establish to the listeners the flaws in their layout of the problem.
Also it shows an enormous ego. Mr. Lippert thinks he is as smart as Feynman but he is not; he just makes Feynman sound like a pedantic asshole.
Mind you I agree with his point that those questions are silly, but again he can make this point without bringing in Feynman's corpse and using it as a sockpupet.
And for the record: I do not think that I am as smart as Feynman; that would be ridiculous.
The piece was intended as satire, and is in a long tradition of such dialogues intended to ridicule a "straw man" of a particular position. Consider, for example, Gallileo's Dialogue Concerning Two World Systems, in which the scientist, Salviati, criticizes the position of Simplicio, who believes the earth to be the center of the universe.
I couldn't think of a better modern figure to stand for science, reason, clear thinking, and a mischievious sense of fun than Richard Feynman as my Salviati, and I hope that he would appreciate the spirit in which it was presented.
Since when has the thermal performance of a light bulb been undocumented and unreliable? I would think that designers of light fixtures and shades rely heavily on the documented thermal performance of light bulbs, and rate their products for compatibility with a range of bulbs accordingly.
But RF was just being a well deserved smartass. Besides, who would ever interview RF, it would a waste of time, Unless you have Newton, Einstein and Larry & Sergei already on your payroll just give the man an office, s stapler and let him do whatever comes to mind.
And, of course, Feynman being Feynman he did infinitely more than just have his name on the roster. Only his tragic demise was able to stop him.
Any company would be out of their freakin' minds to pass up any opportunity to hire Feynman.
I'd "interview" him for the opportunity to spend an hour with him, not that there's any chance in hell I'd say "no hire".
As for his position and job at the company, who cares. Whatever he wants.
Hmm, not necessarily. Back in the days when this problem was originally offered incandescent bulbs were by far the most popular light source for facilities, and if you look at a graph of such a bulb's output, you'll find the fast majority of it is below the threshold of visible light -- the real primary property of incandescent bulbs is IR (heat) production. As a physicist Feynman would be well aware of this, and hence I think he would approved of the low-tech intended solution over the suggested alternatives.
If you posit fluorescent lights, the traditional solution would still work. LED lights weren't stipulated as a special condition and even they are stated, they're not 100% efficient and hence might well work with the traditional solution.
By making assumptions as to what type of a light bulb it is (which in this setting one could not know beforehand). F.ex. LEDs give off very little heat.
"Yeah, one of our light bulbs just went out."
"Have you tried selling your house, and moving into a new one?"
If a bridge can only support 2 people, maybe it is better to not cross it at all. If you do have to cross it, maybe you can trust your tamed tiger with the goat. Pirates aren't rational agents that use silly rules for sharing the treasure. An egg that doesn't take a scratch when falling from the 13'th floor belongs to wonderland. Few women would kill their cheating husband right away. Fewer still would rely on the perfect rationality of others, and the mayor's to do so.
And so on. Brain teasers are fun, but many people (not just Richard Feynman) don't accept their weird assumptions right away, and instead assume a real-life setting.
Can I assume that the lights and the switches are correctly
wired according to the National Electric Code of the United
States? That is, that the switches interrupt the hots, not the
neutrals, that the switches are standard-duty switches rated
to interrupt 15 amps of 120 volt alternating current, and so on?
I loved this implication on a Microsoft website.