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How to Solve Almost Any Problem by Alan Barker

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Chapter 9

Dreaming the future: creative problem-solving

Read this story all the way through, at least once, and then answer the questions.

An oil well in the Arabian desert exploded. The oil company was faced with an inferno consuming vast quantities of oil every day. All efforts to extinguish the fire failed. Eventually, the company called in Flash Quencher, the famed fire-fighter.

Flash could see that the way to quench the fire was to dump a huge quantity of fire-retardant foam at the base of the well. Although there was sufficient foam on site to do the job, the company didn’t have a hose large enough to deliver the foam quickly enough. The small hoses on site were simply inadequate.

Flash knew what to do. He stationed men in a circle ...

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