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Nico Santana

Problem Solving

“A trough is 12 feet long and 3 feet across the top (see figure). Its ends are isosceles triangles with altitudes of 3 feet. (a) Water is being pumped into the trough at 2 cubic feet per minute. How fast is the water level rising when the depth h is 1 foot? (b) The water is rising at a rate of 3/8 inch per minute when h = 2. Determine the rate at which water is being pumped into the trough.”

—Edwards, Bruce H. and Ron Larson. 10th Edition Calculus. Cengage Learning, 2015.

Page 154: water pours over my head,

pools at my knees. I want to know

how fast the rain falls. I want to press

my palms to the clouds and reduce

this passing downpour to a figure.

Answer: given the rate at which this

storm beats down on my shoulders,

the roads flood at 2 inches per second.

Given how quick I am to drown, the

raindrops fall at 9 feet per second.

Mathematics is kindest when it

demands a number for everything—

new letters written, phone calls missed,

conversations between hello and

goodbye. Just 5 pages ago, I stood

at a dock and counted the miles

from here to some unspecified

island fading in and out of sight.

And of course I felt the distance like

a hole in my lung—not that I knew

how to name it, so here is a series of

digits instead. Next page. Next page.

Next to nothing gained after each

solution, and so here is a new problem

to labor over. Can I be honest? I just

want to write about something I know

the answer to.

About the Author

Nico Santana is a Management Engineering major from the Philippines who much prefers writing and reading to anything even remotely management-related. His poetry has been published in TLDTD, as well as in several video game-centric fanzines.

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