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A fish sees a heron looking at him from across a pool, so he quickly swims towards the south. When he reaches the south side of the pool, he has the unwelcome surprise of meeting the heron.
The story of the negative numbers
Given a triangular piece of land having two sides 10 yards in length and its base 12 yards, what is the largest square that can be constructed within this piece of land so that one of its sides lies along the base of the triangle?
A wide-ranging site with links to many sources in the history of mathematics.
There is a log of precious wood 18 feet long whose bases are 5 feet and 2.5 feet in circumference. Into what lengths should the log be cut to trisect its volume?

[Translation of title: Algebra in the Time of Babylon. When Mathematics Were Written on Clay.] A thorough review of Jens Hoyrup's revision, expansion, and French translation of his own 1998 book for Danish high-school students.

The Tree of Proportions and Proportionality from the De Divina Proportione of Luca Pacioli published in 1509.
A guest on horseback rides 300 li in a day. The guest leaves his clothes behind and the host rides off to catch up with the guest once he discovers the clothes. Assuming the host rides without stop tell how far he can go in a day?
The two final volumes of the MAA tercentenary series on Euler present numerous papers on various aspects of Euler's life and work.
The story of Gerbert, who became Pope Sylvester II in 999, and his mathematics.