Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Ask Jamie

Summer is a wonderful time of year, but it also happens to be the time of year when most brain cells are killed, either by fancy drinks with umbrellas in them, or by simple disuse. While I encourage the former, I will attempt over the next few months to prevent the latter. And so, for a limited time only, I am answering any and all of the burning questions you couldn't bring yourself to ask anyone else.

No question is too big, nor too small. I'll answer anything: the philosophical, the tangible, the personal, the hypothetical.

If you have a question, you may leave it in the comments section of this post, or, for the rest of the summer, send me an email: the amazing willy wanker at g mail dot com. Simple as that (only smoosh it all together). Questions can be sent anonymously, but otherwise your website will be plugged into the post. Questions of a timely nature are not suggested because they will be answered sporadically.

Sample Question:

What is the circumference of a peach pit?

That's a good one. Since the peach pit referred to in this question was not mailed in with the question, I have no starting measurements. This makes it difficult, but not impossible.

Now, I seem to remember that in mathematics, a certain set of constants are constantly being referred to. Such as, for example, Bernie's constant, or Toby's constant. And I'm sure they're all constantly constant, reliable and unchanging, and ultimately quite boring.

Of course none of these will help us today since I don't know them off the top of my head, and the Bore guy and the Stegasaurus guy are no where in sight. So I'll use a circumference that I am certain of, the earth's: measured at 40, 075.16 kilometres (this is measured at the equator, it's slightly smaller when measured at the poles, so when comparing it to the peach, be sure to tip it on its side).

Okay, so we're making progress. Now, what do the earth and a peach have in common? Well, luckily, since we're taking about circumferences, they're both round. Luckier still, they both have cores. So, after helping myself to a nice slice of pie (apple, of course), my full stomach is able to guesstimate the earth's core at a circumference of 7563.9168 kilometres.

But let's face it, a peach is really small compared to the earth, so it is necessary to use fractions to compare the two.

Now, EARTH and PEACH have 3 letters in common, E, A, and H. That's 3 out of 5, or 6 out of 10, which makes for perfect fraction work!

So, it can be deduced that a peach pit's circumference will be 3/5 of the earth's core's circumference.

Now for some fancy footwork:




3025.56672 kilometres

We can all agree that measuring a peach pit in kilometres is simply Ludikris, so we'll be converting into centimetres for conveniency. Everyone knows there are 100 centimetres in 1 kilometre. But that would give us a Ludikrisly large number, so instead of multiplying, we'll divide, since that's what common sense tells us to do.

Now we have a measurement of 30.25 centimetres, which is better but not quite right. I know a thing or two about ratios:

40075.16km : 30.25cm

Now there's some junk about dividing by the common denominator, and as previously established, the thing that is common between the earth's crust and the peach's pit seems to be the letter t. And as you know, algebra and geometry people are always falling over each other to throw letters in with their numbers, so this is a perfect fit.


t (the italics mean it's mathematical!)

Now you have to assign some random number to be represented by the letter t, or else our answer will look like a license plate!

So, for no particular reason, t=10

And so the answer is: 3.025cm (remember to tilt it!)

Now I know not everyone has a highly specialized brain like mine, which is able to follow highly complex equations of the mathematical sort. I hope you've all been able to follow along. If not, simply write to me (heretofore to be referred to as "Dr. Math") at my email address, and I will furnish you with my highly-coveted math tutorial, soon to be appearing on the backs of Fruit Loop boxes in a grocery store near you!

And should you have any question at all, no matter how daring or impossible to solve, do send them forward, and prepare to be astounded.

No comments: