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October 31st, 2011, 06:25 AM   #1
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Impossible Math problem

I need help solving an extra credit word problem that has me stuck, my teacher has told me I am able to use any outside resources I can to solve this. There are also a series of hints that he has given us to help solve which I will post after the question.

>>> Between the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) and the Demark Building in Chicago lies an alleyway. Two cables are criss-crossed diagonally, one going from the foot of the Willis Tower and attached to the Demark building, and one going from the foot of the Demark Building and attached to the Willis Tower. The cables are 60 feet and 40 feet, respectively. If the distance from the cross section of the two cables to the ground is 10 feet, how wide is the alley?
>>>
>>> I give you my word that this problem can be solved using basic algebra, no fancy differentiation and integration/vector analysis are necessary. You have until December 1st to turn in your original copy. Partial credit will be assigned. The sooner you turn in the completed problem, the more credit you will receive because each week I will send out a new hint.
>>>
>>> Hint 1: Pythagoras isn't always correct.
>>> Hint 2: You will need to get the problem into a 4th degree polynomial to solve
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October 31st, 2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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Re: Impossible Math problem

Go here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossed_ladders_problem
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