## Wednesday, March 9, 2011

### Welcome to Reunion math, Part I

Many of us have been to college or high school reunions. A reunion is an social event where people get together, remember the old days, and marvel at how other people have aged ...

Reunions require basic math, because your mind will automatically think "Has it really been 40 years since I graduated from high school?!"

Today, instead of going to a reunion, we are going to recognize a reunion that has come to us. On March 3, 2011, my Flag Counter tells me a visitor from Reunion Island (La Réunion in French) came by the blog. Strictly speaking, Reunion is not a country of its own, but a department (region) of France. But we'll take the visit gratefully anyway. Welcome!

Reunion is off the east edge of Africa, near Madagascar. It looks like a beautiful place:

What sort of elementary math do you need to understand an island half-way around the world? You need to understand time and distance, for a start.

La Réunion is a long way from the California headquarters of Excel Math. It's 12 hours ahead of our time zone .

To get there you simply fly from Los Angeles LAX airport to Paris ORY to Reunion RUN. It's 11,500 miles, more or less.

I suppose you could go the other way around (LAX to Sydney SYD to Reunion RUN), but that turns out to be a couple thousand miles further - 13,500 or so.

After time and distance, it would be helpful to be able to understand area, and circumference.

How large is Reunion?

Reunion is the 178th largest island in the world. The island is about 970 square miles or around 30 miles across. It has a circumference (coastline) of 128 miles or 207 km. (For comparison, Maui in Hawaii is 729 square miles and the Big Island is 4028 square miles.)

Here's a NASA satellite picture of Reunion next to a cyclone [click image to enlarge]. Scary, isn't it?

Come back tomorrow and we'll show you how else you can use your Excel Math elementary school mathematics to understand La Réunion.