GeekDad Challenge of the Week: Dog vs. Orchid

Geek Culture

Flickr user Timtak, CC license

It’s just past two o’clock in the morning and fortunately your kids are asleep. Unfortunately, you are not. There you stand under the twinkling stars, shivering in your boxer shorts, holding a leash and contemplating the veracity of the phrase man’s best friend. It wouldn’t perhaps be possible for your dog to, you know, just do its thing so you could stumble back to bed, rather than endlessly wandering the perfect semicircle allowed by its 10-foot leash to find the *perfect* spot, would it?


Instead, this is how it goes down: you stand on a straight sidewalk with your hand at your waist, three feet from the ground and exactly at the sidewalk’s edge. At the other end of the 10-foot leash is your dog, whose collar is one foot from the ground. The dog has an equiprobable chance of, you know, doing its thing anywhere within the leash’s reach and in fact adds 30 inches to the leash’s reach due to the K9 ability to “hang it,” with neck pointing toward you and back end facing outward into the dark, dark night.

And somewhere out there is your neighbors prize orchid. (Why — you may ask — did your neighbor plant a prize orchid along the side of a public sidewalk? Never mind. It’s two in the morning and you shouldn’t be asking questions like that.) Here’s the thing about the orchid: its roots draw nutrients from 16 inches in each direction, but near its stalk is a 4-inch square kill zone.

Considering your dog’s you-know-what as a point source, what is the probability your erstwhile best friend will fertilize the orchid’s roots without killing the plant itself? (Discount the kill potential of all that wandering that precedes, well, you know.)

Submit the solution to the GeekDad I Want To Win Gift Certificate Mailbox by the end of the day on Friday and you’ll have a chance to win a $50.00 ThinkGeek Gift Certificate!

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