Friday, December 25, 2015

Reading a Book and Doing the Math

I don’t post regular reviews anymore; I’m taking the time to really enjoy what I’m reading. But that takes a little extra time for me. For instance, I am reading a book which says that 600 acres are equal to One square mile. I am always curious as to the veracity of any numbers thrown at me, and almost always check them out- longhand.

In spite of failing mathematics throughout my school years I have spent my entire life working at jobs which all dealt with numbers. From navigating a ship by star to estimating earthwork (try it sometime by emptying a pot of dirt and then seeing if you can get it all back in; or digging a hole and then throwing the dirt back in without having some left over) I have in love with the little digits and their perfection. They simply do not lie. Statistics do; but not mathematics. So, you see I just had to check the figure out and determine for myself how many acres are in a square mile.

To begin with I know that a mile is 5,280 LF long so you multiply that by itself and come to the sum of 27,878,400 square feet to a square mile.
Now we need to take the acreage. There are 43,560 sq ft in an acre. The assertion is that there are 600 of these acres in a square mile. So you multiply the 600 acres by the 43,560 square feet per acre and come to 26,136,000 square feet in 600 acres. We have a problem. The acrerage stated in the book is short.

Taking 43, 560 square feet and multiplying it by x for the unknown acreage and making it equal to the square footage we know to be a square mile (27,878,400 square feet) you get 43,560x = 27,878,400, as in square feet. Then you isolate the x.

The equation looks like this; (cross multiplication)

43,560X = 27,878,400 sq ft  = 640
43,560         43,560

And the proof is self-evident. You simply multiply 640 acres by 43,560 square feet to each one and come up with the same number of square feet then divide that back by 43,560 square feet for a total of 640 acres; 40 acres more than stated in the book. It's no big deal; just something I do. 

As usual with any post dealing with mathematics I dedicate this to my father, William Llewellyn Williams, who was so good at numbers that he couldn’t teach me to count;, believing that his failure was my shortcoming. 

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