There’s more than one way to skin a cat, but some methods are better than others. Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees, and then it’s good to ask for some outside perspective. This is one such story.
Two mathematicians were standing at the base of a flagpole, looking at its top. A female engineer walked by and asked what they were doing.
“We’re supposed to find the height of this flagpole,” said one, “but we don’t have a ladder.”
The engineer took a wrench from her purse, loosened a couple of bolts, and laid the pole down on the ground. Then she took a tape measure from her pocketbook, took a measurement, and announced, “Twenty one feet, six inches,” and walked away.
One mathematician shook his head and laughed, “A lot of good that does us. We ask for the height and she gives us the length!”
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