Problem 240: Tunnel vision
The Digwell Design Firm’s biggest job ever involved tunneling beneath the city and developing underground urbanization. The “downtown” designs included plans for Crystal Caves Condominiums, the Down Under Delicatessen, the Underdog Saloon, and a play-off-the-walls golf course.
Finagel J. Wurme was the low engineer on the totem pole for this ambitious subterranean project. As though being a mere drone weren’t enough, the crew relentlessly teased Wurme because of his small stature. He was bestowed nicknames like “Low-tech” and “Inch Worm.” But, Wurme eventually got his digs in.
The crew had to put in the basic infrastructure, including pedestrian ways through tunnels with a 9-ft diameter. The plans called for platform floors measuring 8 ft wide and 6 in. thick.
When running blueprints for the tunnels to the firm’s headquarters, Wurme seized an opportunity. He changed the platform width from 8 to 8.5 ft. When the tunnels and platforms were built to his specs, Wurme could clear the ceiling with two inches to spare while walking down the center of the platform. The taller senior engineers, though, had to hunch over to get through. Wurme chuckled as his managers ducked in the illspeced tunnels the duration of their three-year contract.
How many inches tall (or short, depending on how you look at it) is Finagel?
Solution to problem 239, September, 2000: Bombs away
Fun problem 238:
Total entries: 309 Number correct: 308 (>99%)
Winner: Al Siddall, Aiken, S.C. Al’s prize: Maple 6, a fully integrated analytical computation system.
Maple 6 combines the intelligence of Waterloo Maple’s symbolic computation algorithms with the reliability, accuracy, and power of the NAG numerical solver. Its math engine lets you define, solve, modify, optimize, and explore the mathematics or data in technical projects. This includes modeling and simulation, theoretical analysis, engineering design, and scientific application development.
Get your creative juices flowing and send us your original problems and solutions. If we publish yours, you’ll win a prize. Eric Muetz of Lawrence, Kans. wins a WD-40 prize pack for contributing this month’s problem. Enter your favorite WD-40 use in the Search for 2000 Uses contest.