09 February 2009

Brian Hayes on the continental divide

Brian Hayes recently made a fascinating post about determining the location of the Continental Divide. Apparently that's what those pictures on the cover of this month's Notices were. This is to go with David Austin's review of Hayes' Group Theory in the Bedroom, and Other Mathematical Diversions. The book consists, apparently, of reworked versions of Hayes' essays for The Sciences and American Scientist, essays which in general I highly recommend; the post by Hayes that I linked to is his reflections on redoing this map with the data that's available now, which is better than the data he had in 2000 when he wrote the original column. (Not surprisingly, the major discrepancy between the divides obtained then and now is in Wyoming, where there are some pathological areas that don't drain to either ocean.)

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