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Dick and Jane Measure A Rainstorm

   "Look, Jane," Dick said. "Look out the window. Look at the rainstorm, Jane."
   "Yes, Dick," Jane said. "I see the rainstorm. It is a very heavy rainstorm."
   "I'll say!" Dick exclaimed. "It is the kind of rainstorm that Uncle Jack, in Texas, would call a toad-strangler!"
   "And not only that," Jane added, "but the wind is blowing very hard, too."
   "Yes, Jane," Dick agreed. "The wind is blowing hard and steadily."

   Dick was looking out the front window of the house. Jane looking out a side window. Their house faced due south. Both Dick and Jane knew which way their house faced.

   "Oh, Dick, do you know what I think would be fun?" Jane asked.
   "Yes, Jane," Dick replied with a leer. "I sure do know what would be fun."
   "Besides that!" Jane said, pushing Dick away. "Let's measure the rain."
   "Oh, yes, Jane!" Dick said. "That would be fun"


This is how they went about it:

Each used a ruler and a crayon to mark a slanted line on their respective windows. Their lines were parallel to the observed angles of the rain as seen through their respective windows. Then each used a carpenter's level to draw a perfectly vertical line intersecting their angled line. Finally, each used a protractor to measure the minor angle thus produced in each window.


   "My line slants to the east, from top to bottom," Dick said. "It shows an angle of eleven degrees from the vertical."
   "And my line slants to the north, from top to bottom," Jane added. "And my line shows an angle of seventeen degrees from the vertical."

   Fortunately for Dick and Jane, who had long ago forgotten how to use their slide rules (were they even able to remember where they'd stashed them, lo, those many decades gone), the storm had not taken out any power lines, so they were able to use their computers. Dick and Jane loved using spreadsheets for their mathematics puzzles, and they were fond of the Internet, too. In no time at all they finished.

   "Now we know the exact direction from which the wind is blowing," Dick exclaimed.
   "Yes, we do," Jane added. "And we have a pretty good idea how hard it is blowing, too."


What were the solutions that Dick and Jane came up with, and how did they figure them?

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