The "Right" Triangle
Pity poor professor Mali Kilter making that difficult climb to the top of the eucalyptus tree. If that's not difficult enough, then he needs to drop a plumb line straight down to the ground without it hitting and being deflected by any one of those big branches. Had he paid more
attention to the teacher during his ninth-grade geometry class, he would have remembered something special about a triangle with one right angle.
If the hypotenuse of this triangle meets each of the two sides at a 45 degree angle, then the two sides are equal in length.
To measure the height of the tree, all he needs to do is back away from the tree until he can sight the top while looking at his protractor set at 45 degrees. His distance from the tree is equal to the height of the tree.
Simeon Ross Greenlawn, New York
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