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Systems of Equations Word Problems

1. You are hiking along the California coast and wonder about the height of a particular Giant Redwood tree. You are 5 feet and nine inches tall and your shadow is 5 feet long. The shadow of the tree is 195 feet long. How tall is the tree?

2. The next two problems are examples of "simple Hindu Algebra", quoted on page 528 of "The Story of Civilization", v.1., by Will Durant, Simon and Schuster, 1935. The problems are approximately 1,800 years old. (Mental pursuits by women were discouraged at that time. You ponder the significance of fictitiously directing the questions at women. Durant does not comment on this issue.)

Out of a swarm of bees one fifth part settled on a Kadamba blossom; one third on a Silihindra flower; three times the difference of those numbers flew to the bloom of a Kutaja. One bee, which remained, hovered about in the air. Tell me, charming woman, the number of bees.

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