Math Journal: Geometry of annexation isn’t a completely gray area

Bloomington’s litigation over a 2017 law that stopped its effort to annex some land into the city is grinding its way towards a hearing in front of the Indiana Supreme Court.

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Bloomington won a ruling from a lower court in April that found the law was unconstitutional on two grounds.

One of the State of Indiana’s allegations is that Bloomington “gerrymandered” the areas it chose for its planned annexation. For this edition of the Beacon’s Math Journal let’s not dive into the specifics of the parcels Bloomington planned to annex.

Instead, let’s take an abstract look at a geometric requirement that the state statute imposes on the possible shapes of annexed territory. The statute puts some limits on how much the shape of an annexed area can be gerrymandered.

Continue reading “Math Journal: Geometry of annexation isn’t a completely gray area”

Math Journal: Saw marks on old wood in tables at Crumble Coffee & Bakery

The tabletops in Crumble Coffee & Bakery on the southeast corner of 10th Street and College Avenue look like they’re made of old wood. The boards hint at a life before they were crafted into furniture, but after they were milled from timber.

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A cup of coffee at Crumble Coffee & Bakery sitting on a table crafted from reclaimed barn and hotel stable lumber. (Dave Askins/Beacon)

The twice-over reclaimed character of the tabletops was confirmed by Crumble Coffee owner Scott Reynolds in an email to The Beacon. The wood was “first used in a hotel stables in Plainfield over a hundred years ago,” he wrote. After that, the wood was reclaimed for use in a barn in rural Monroe county. More recently, Reynolds said, “that barn wood was again reclaimed and refashioned into our tables.”

Among the hints that the wood is old are the kerf marks left by the circular saw that milled the wood.

How big was the saw? There’s enough information in the narrow boards to calculate the blade diameter. And that’s the problem for this edition of the Math Journal. Continue reading “Math Journal: Saw marks on old wood in tables at Crumble Coffee & Bakery”