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“Well, here it is: that time they told us about in high school when math would save our lives”*

Ok, maybe it didn’t save my life, but consider this:

We are building round concrete pillars to use as tables in our courtyard at work. We want to paint or etch chessboards on the top of the pillars. The concrete forms are 18″ in diameter. Will a chessboard with 2″ squares fit on the pillar?

So, there I sat, 30+ years out of high school, dragging out the Pythagorean Theorem and estimating square roots.

And the answer is “no”. 2″ squares produce a chessboard that is too big to fit on an 18″ pillar. We settled on one and a half inch squares. They produce a chessboard that is just under 17″ on the diagonal.

My Math teacher Aunt would have been proud.

*Val Kilmer in the movie “Red Planet”

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