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Gizmodo Monday Puzzle: Impossible Geography


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Picture: Picture: Shutterstock Graphics: Gizmodo

Right here’s a mind-blowing geography truth: The northernmost a part of Brazil is nearer to Canada than it’s to the southernmost a part of Brazil. Information like this partly communicate to really uncommon geographical options of Earth (like Brazil’s huge land space) but additionally to how warped our notion could be of our own residence. We’ve grown so accustomed to seeing 2D rectangular maps in school rooms, on Threat boards, and on Sporcle quizzes, that we typically neglect how disfigured they’re. We dwell on a globe, and geometry assures us that there isn’t any option to iron out the floor of a sphere right into a flat form with out distorting sizes and distances. The result’s a populace with geographical instincts that don’t match the info on the bottom.

In his fantastic ebook Mathematical Puzzles: A Connoisseur’s Assortment, Professor Peter Winkler devotes an entire chapter to geography puzzles. He notes, “this chapter doesn’t belong within the ebook… they’re right here as a result of mathematical puzzle lovers appear to take pleasure in them.” As a mathematical puzzle lover who can barely inform Djibouti from Uranus, I concede that Winkler gained me over right here. His geographical puzzles are world class.

I’ve posed three of them under. Attempt to clear up them by intuition and reminiscence earlier than consulting a globe.

Did you miss final week’s puzzle? Test it out right here, and discover its answer on the backside of at present’s article. Watch out to not learn too far forward in the event you haven’t solved final week’s but!

Puzzle #21: Not possible Geography

  1. Which U.S. state is closest to Africa?
  2. Should you fly due south from Key West, Florida, which South American nation will you hit first?
  3. I’m in an East Coast U.S. state and I name my pal who’s in a West Coast U.S. state. It’s precisely the identical time of day for each of us. How is that this potential?

The third query requires some specialised information past fundamental geography, but it surely’s such a cool undeniable fact that I needed to embrace it. It’s not a trick query. Attempt to guess the define of the answer even with out the concrete info to flesh it out. What forms of issues would should be true for such a telephone name to happen?

We’ll be again Monday with the solutions and a brand new puzzle. Are you aware a cool puzzle that you just assume must be featured right here? Message me on Twitter @JackPMurtagh or electronic mail me at [email protected]

Answer to Puzzle #20: The Simpsons M

Final week’s puzzle got here from a cartoon, but it was something however youngster’s play. Within the episode, Bart finally ends up visualizing the reply within the zig-zag of Homer’s thinning hair.

Image for article titled Gizmodo Monday Puzzle: Impossible Geography

Screenshot: The Simpsons season 26, episode 22 “Mathlete’s Feat”

Enlarged under for readability:

Image for article titled Gizmodo Monday Puzzle: Impossible Geography

Graphic: Jack Murtagh

Robust to identify! Shout-out to yaksplat for submitting the primary appropriate diagram. Reward your self with a doughnut. You undoubtedly don’t have Homer’s pea-brain.


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