I just learned something from Parade Magazine.
For the uninitiated, Parade is one of those supplements to the Sunday paper that most people ignore. Like the dimensions of the newspaper it’s tucked into, it has shrunk over the years. In fact, if it gets much smaller, they’ll have to change the name to Single File. I look at it out of habit and rarely, if ever, read an article. But I do read “Ask Marilyn.”
Marilyn Vos Savant is very smart and usually has something interesting in her column. Often, though, the entries have to do with impenetrable number puzzles: If a train leaves Pittsburgh at 10:00 traveling 60 MPH and another train leaves Boston at 10:15 traveling at 50 MPH, how many oranges will fit on a Frisbee? I leave them alone. But today was different.
The question a reader asked was if you wrapped a 25,000-mile-long band snugly around the Earth (assuming a flat Earth) and then spliced an additional 50 feet to the length of the band, would you be able to fit your finger under the band? The answer is yes, and then some. Turns out adding 50 feet to the band would result in the band floating eight feet from the surface of the planet.
Even more interesting, adding 50 feet to a band surrounding any round object, from a planet to an orange, will result in the same eight-foot distance from the surface. Golf ball, basketball, hot air balloon, Mars: add fifty feet, same eight foot gap.
The question is to what use do I put this nugget of info? This was probably it.