The manufacturers of a new type of wire rope terminals conducted a destruction test. This test resulted in the sample of wire rope breaking at exactly 10,000 lbs. The wire broke right next to one of the terminals. The rated strength of the wire rope was also 10,000 lbs.
“That’s great!” said the manufacturer, “This means that our new terminals are 100% efficient!”
“Probably not,” said the testing machine operator. “It is much more likely that those terminals weakened the wire, maybe by as much as 15 or 20%.
The testing machine was calibrated correctly. Why did the operator think that the terminals weakened the wire?
This is an obscure one, so here is what I hope is a large hint: wire rope must meet, within very narrow tolerances, a minimum breaking strength, or it cannot be sold. Bonus points if you can tell what detail in my description of the test might have made the technician skeptical.
If you think you know the answer, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will randomly select a winner from the pool of correct entries, and that winner will recieve as a prize a copy of a book that I will be publishing soon. Details in the coming weeks.
Submit your entry by noon, Pacific Time, Monday, July 23. The winner will be announced on Wednesday, July 25.
Note that subscribers to this free blog receive posts a day before everyone else, so scroll down and sign up if you like to get a jump on puzzles and prose.