January 3, 2002
If We Had Two Suns
OLD CHALLENGE. How would night and day differ if Jupiter's orbit held instead a second, little sun?
ANSWER. When the earth was on the other side of the Sun from Jupiter-sun, day and night would be as now. As the earth moved around, days would lengthen, until when the earth was in between the Sun and Jupiter-sun, all locations would enjoy 24 hours of sunlight. Little Jupiter-sun would rise just as the Sun set. One pole would see only the Sun, the other only little Jupiter-sun. Of course, Jupiter-sun would presumably be much dimmer than the Sun.
QUESTIONABLE MATHEMATICS. Howard Waldman found the following quotes at www.uselessfacts.net (a very funny site):
"Better make it six, I can't eat eight." - Dan Osinski, Baseball pitcher, when a waitress asked if he wanted his pizza cut into six or eight slices
"Pitching is 80% of the game. The other half is hitting and fielding." - Mickey Rivers, baseball player
"Half this game is ninety percent mental." - Danny Ozark, Philadelphia Phillies manager
"We talked five times. I called him twice, and he called me twice." - Larry Bowa, California Angels coach
"Any time Detroit scores more than 100 points and holds the other team below 100 points they almost always win." - Doug Collins, basketball commentator
Readers are invited to submit more examples of questionable mathematics.
NEW CHALLENGE. The new year 2002 is a palindrome, the same backwards as forwards. How common are palindrome years?
MATH CHAT wishes all readers and friends a happy and progressive 2002!
Copyright 2002, Frank Morgan.
Send answers, comments, and new questions by email to Frank.Morgan@williams.edu, to be eligible for Flatland and other book awards. Winning answers will appear in the next Math Chat. Math Chat appears on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Prof. Morgan's homepage is at www.williams.edu/Mathematics/fmorgan.
THE MATH CHAT BOOK, including a $1000 Math Chat Book QUEST, questions and answers, and a list of past challenge winners, is now available from the MAA (800-331-1622).