Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tee Pee Progress - Geometry On The Web

What's my angle ?
Yesterday I blogged about building a paper model of my Tee Pee.  I left off going to find a silver tarp at least 8' x 15', which I found at Harbor Freight.  Today I moved all the den furniture aside, spread out the enormous 12' x 19' tarp, and cut it to the 8' x 15' dimensions I needed. 
Now I am ready to cut out my tee pee, but I think I have a geometry problem.  I need to know the angles at which to cut the bottom edges.  Uh-oh.

I could wait intermnably for John to get home and using my geometry book, in about 30 minutes, he could figure out the degrees using some cosign formula he found in the back of the book when we were building my A-frame.  But I'm impatient, so on a whim, I do a Google search on "Solve geometry problem", and came up with the coolest website ever!!!!!  It's called WEBMATH, and has a dropdown list of all sorts of problems, and how to solve them.  I chose "Right Triangle", plugged in my known quantitles, and it gave me the answer I needed -- in about 90 seconds.  Unbelievable!

I knew I needed a right triangle to get my answer, and knew enough to divide my isosceles triangle in half (green line) to get a 90 degree angle.  I knew the hypoteneuse was 8' and half the base was 1.75'.  I plugged those figures into the boxes provided on the web page, and it showed me the entire formulation it used to generate my answer of 77.364 degrees.  Unbelievable!  Totally amazing!

And all this, for free! 

Aside: Some people ask me why I bother with this blog, with my Wild Food Foragers of America project, and other volunteer things I do or have done, giving away a lot of hard won knowledge for free.  Well, this is why:  I get so much for free, and so much of it that I could not purchase for a king's ransom were it not for other people's generosity, it's my way of paying back, of not being a total mooch. I love feeling plugged into that ever-flowing stream of abundance, and the only way I know to stay plugged in is to live in a constant state of gratitude, and contribute what I can.  For so many years, while working my ass off full time, scrabbling to make ends meet, I couldn't afford to give anything away for free.  But now I'm making up for that, I hope. The business world certainly has its place, but so does the volunteer world. I want to maintanian balance --- one foot in each.

Anyway, back to the tee pee.  77.364 degrees.  Where's my damn protractor?  Oh hell, I can't find one.  Looks like I'll have to use the old fashioned method of "approximating". It's just a silly tee pee after all, not commercial housing.  Why am I even bothering with this?  Why?  Because it's fun.  It keeps me mentally challenged.  And besides English, geometry was my favorite subject in school.  My Geometry teacher said on the first day in 5th grade, "the whole world is made up of shapes", she sent us home to list how many rectangles, triangles and circles we could find in our houses, and I remember that revelation just blew me away.  I had never noticed them before!

More later, gotta go.

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