Twiddled Bolts

Two identical bolts are placed together so their grooves intermesh. If you move the bolts around each other as you would twiddle your thumbs, holding each bolt firmly by the head so it does not rotate and twiddling them in the direction shown below, will the heads:

(a) move inward
(b) move outward, or
(c) remain the same distance from each other?

One of the bolts will be screwing itself, and the other one will be unscrewing itself. This will happen at the same pace and the bolts will remain the same distance from each other. Thus the answer is (c).

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Martin Gardner (1914 – 2010) was an American popular mathematics and popular science writer, with interests also encompassing scientific skepticism, micromagic, philosophy, religion, and literature—especially the writings of Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum, and G. K. Chesterton.

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