Tag: Pennies

Weekend Geek: Pennies to Heaven



In case you need to get your mind off the Supreme Court, here’s a fun math problem for the weekend. Imagine a stack of pennies from the surface of the earth to the surface of the moon (equator-to-equator; neglect rotation of both bodies and all other factors that would make this impossible). Use the properties of modern (post-1982) pennies. The distance from the earth to the moon varies a lot, so use the mean (or “semi-major axis”) distance. You may have seen this problem before, but I’m taking it a little further:

1.  How many pennies would be required to reach from the earth to the moon?

A Penny Abolished Is Two Pennies Not Collected Through Coercive Taxation


penny laneLast week Mrs. Cole and I took a trip to Niagara Falls. For those of you who don’t know, Niagara Falls is right on the border between the United States and Canada. So there’s a Canadian side and an American side. On this trip we stayed on the Canadian side and spent most of our time there. (By the way, everyone says the Canadian side is nicer and that is accurate. The American side looks like Atlantic City away from the boardwalk.)

Canada is, in theory, a foreign country. But if you live in upstate New York… well, not so much. Going to Canada is a lot like going to Vermont (or it used to be). I see as many cars with Quebec and Ontario license plates as I do Vermont plates.

For those of you who live in other places, we get Canadian pocket change mixed in from time to time. Canadian nickles, quarters, dimes and, of course, pennies, are the same size as their American counterparts, so you may not even notice. (Except that they don’t work in machines.)