If you didn't enter or follow the Mulch Madness
contest in 2007, you probably don't remember my
attempt to measure the
leftover mulch that was the subject of the contest. Or the
damage my tape measure suffered in the process, after which I
cleverly lamented that I was "done in by a simple twist of tape."
I've waited two years and not a single Dylan fan offered either
plaudit or raspberry. In any event, with the advent of this
year's mulch, I know how big the pile is from the invoice: 15
cubic yards. According to Google, 15 cubic yards =
1.40871525 × 10-6 cubic
furlongs*, to preserve my units of measurement, if not those of
the contest winner. Compare that to my 2007 approximation of
the amount left after several weeks of nibbling with wheelbarrows:
V = .2618 * 44 * (23716 + 11858 + 5929) = 478,000 cubic inches or
9.62*10-7 cubic furlongs.
This approximate ratio of 1/3 used, 2/3 remaining,
gives me faith in my own measurement, in the honesty of the vendor,
and in the capacity of the wheelbarrow. I'm not planning to
run a contest this year; I have good reason to believe that the heap
will be reduced long before July. Please wish me and the
parking spaces luck.
* If you're CNN, I know that after my
continual whining about your arithmetic you're looking at that
number with triumph in your eyes and revenge in your spleen.
You finally caught me using far too many decimal places.
No you didn't. 15 cubic yards, an exact
measure, really does have all those decimal places in furlongs,
assuming Google got it right. Of course I didn't get
exactly 15 cubic yards of mulch, and my measurement of the pile
two years ago was even less accurate. The result, 1/3 vs. 2/3
is as imprecise as you could hope for, and as accurate as it
deserves to be.