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Slicing Pizzas, Racing Turtles, and Further Adventures in Applied Mathematics by Robert B. Banks

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6

Which Major Rivers Flow Uphill?

As all of us know, jellied biscuits fall to the rug (frequently upside down), baseballs fall to the center fielder (frequently with two outs and bases loaded), and car keys fall to the pavement (frequently through sewer gratings). And rivers fall—or as we usually say—flow downhill. So how can a river flow uphill? Well, be patient. That matter will be explained in a page or two.

We start our consideration of this topic with a short trip through some trigonometry and analytic geometry. As illustrated in figure 6.1, suppose that you have a circular cone made of cheese on the table in front of you. With the blade of your knife or saw parallel to the table top, you slice through the cone of cheese. The cross-section ...

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