See, Kids, That Trig Class Was Useful

When a stampede killed pigs and induced sows’ abortions on a farm near York, England, two years ago, the operator of a noisy hot-air balloon denied responsibility, referring to a court order keeping balloons 500 meters away. Using GPS coordinates and the location of dead pigs, a York University mathematics professor, using trigonometry, he said, proved the balloon could not have been more than 300 meters away. After the professor “showed his work” on the problem, the balloon’s insurer upped the settlement to almost four times its initial offer.

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