Futility Closet has plenty of great trivia. I want to share some of my favorite geographical tidbits from there, since I have maps on the mind lately.
- Most major landmasses are not antipodean to others. Digging a hole straight down and through the earth, US kids would hit open ocean; only Argentine or Chilean kids could dig a hole to China.
- Parts of the continental US “can be reached by land only by traveling through Canada.”
- There are lakes containing islands that themselves have lakes with their own islands… Google Sightseeing and Elbruz have more nested lake-island recursion examples.
- Nested geographies can be administrative too: There is a Belgian town located inside the Netherlands, and this town also contains Dutch parcels inside its borders. This creates interesting issues with taxes, banking, or even which nation’s ambulance responds to an accident.
While we’re talking about shapes and areas, here’s a more mathematical-geometrical question: What’s the most efficient way to carve up a circle to fit inside a square of slightly-larger surface area?
I baked a cake in a round 9″ pan, so the surface area is . I wanted to transport it in a pan with a lid, and I have such a 8″ square pan with surface area . What’s the best way to fit it in, with the fewest cuts and least wasted scraps? (Well, not really wasted, I’ll eat them gladly 🙂 )