On 02:22 PM 24/01/2002 +1000, [EMAIL PROTECTED] said:
>
> >
> > <snip>
> > > ... I worked with PHD math major who walked around with a coffee mug
> > > most of the time sharing his paradoxes of math algorithms
> > and equating
> > them
> > > to real world applications.   He once told me the boring
> > mathematical
> > theory
> > > how to stack oranges in the most efficient manner.  Yes there was a
> > formula
> > > to it. There was also the stock boy with a 6th grade
> > education working in
> > > the produce section of a grocery store who already knew
> > without  a proof
> > > that the most efficient method was to stack them side by
> > side and  build
> > the
> > > orange pyramid in the isle.
> >
> > My understanding is that mathematicians have had very strong
> > suspicions, and
> > for some time, that the "pyramid" pattern is the most
> > efficient possible for
> > stacking spheres (i.e. in terms of minimising the unoccupied
> > volume between
> > adjacent spheres). The rub, however, is to actually prove
> > that (which I
> > gather *has* now occurred, but only within the last five or so years).
> >
>
>Note that the efficiency of the stacking is not necessarily what the grocery
>boy was aiming for. The grocery boy would no doubt be aiming for optimum
>stability of the stack, not optimum efficiency of the stack. The fact that
>in this instance the most stable stacking method is also the most efficient
>in terms of space is neither here nor there to either problem.
>
>Cheers,
>MvdW


And there it is boys and girls - clear evidence that not only do engineers 
stand in a corner by themselves at parties - but that they actually 
*should* do so.  It is for the common good you know...

I'm off to the grocery store to see how many oranges I can buy - from the 
bottom of the pile of course...

Hooroo,
Ian

(Now will the Forum Admin threaten all and sundry over this flagrant misuse 
of a few pico-percent of the internet capacity...)

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