The Geometry of Squirrel Hunting

From Practical and Mental Arithmetic, on a New Plan, in which Mental Arithmetic is Combined with the Use of the Slate... by Rosell C. Smith (1829). Via Ptak Science Books.

     Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 20, 2013
     Category: Nineteenth Century

I get 98.2 feet, thank you Pythagoras
Posted by DoctorDidj on 07/20/13 at 10:15 AM
Eh, it's close enough for jazz.
Posted by jtolleridge on 07/20/13 at 10:20 AM
You forgot to factor in the diameter of the tree; assuming that the top of the tree is straight up from the center, the man is 19 paces plus 3 feet (half of the diameter of the tree) away from the center of the tree.

So 100 feet is correct.
Posted by Doug on 07/20/13 at 10:33 AM
Was he shooting at a high 'potomus?
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/20/13 at 11:12 AM
Assuming the man is 6 ft. tall and the gun braced at his shoulder is approximately 1 ft. below his head, the distance from the man to the squirrel along a straight line is about 92 ft. He's not shooting directly from the ground, and that obviously does make a difference in the numbers.
Posted by EngineerGuy on 07/20/13 at 12:28 PM
To be picky, it was asking how far from "the place where the hunter stood" and not how far it was from the gun to the squirrel, which is probably the better question.
Posted by Doug on 07/20/13 at 01:13 PM
The problem's only purpose is to see if the student recognizes a standard 3-4-5 right triangle (3*20 length and 4*20 height = 5*20 hypotenuse) when presented in non-standard format.

The distance from where the hunter stood to the position of the squirrel is meaningless in any real sense. You'd have to know the height of the hunter at the shoulder and the length of the weapon before you could calculate a meaningful answer.
Posted by Phideaux on 07/20/13 at 04:43 PM
Well, being acalculiac, after scribbling numbers and fornula over reams of paper, and punching so many of same into my poor computer that it over heated, the answer I got was:
"The border of Mexico and Brazil!"
I think I forgot to carry the log of the man's hat size when calculating what he had for breakfast... or something. ❓ :sick: ❓
Posted by Captain DaFt on 07/20/13 at 11:25 PM
But, did he get the squirrel which, if the age of this print is gauged correctly, the important question.
Posted by Expat47 in Athens, Greece on 07/20/13 at 11:59 PM
Does the SAT still depend on your ability to memorize things like 3,4,5 triangles (and 1, 1, sq rt 2 ... and then you have top memorize that the square root of 2 is 1.414 more or less). I've carried those numbers around for over 50 years, but the last time I had any use for them was when I took the SAT. My scores were 672 and 720. Two other useless numbers that are burned into my brain.
Posted by ozzie in honolulu on 07/21/13 at 12:56 AM
If you were scored under the old SAT system (top score = 800), you can add your two scores together and take 10% to get a rough IQ score. Ozzie is at genius levels, with a 139!

But that's just average for WU readers!
Posted by Paul on 07/21/13 at 11:02 AM
A story problem with a gun in it? Today teachers would freak out at such a thing.
Posted by Patty in Ohio, USA on 07/23/13 at 09:47 PM
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