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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


The Englishman who Went Up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain (1995)

The villagers are trying to raise their local hill by 20 feet so that it will reach a height of 1000 feet and therefore appear as a mountain on maps.
REVEREND: The Good Lord took a day to divide Heaven and Earth, we can’t expect to do better. And we have broken the back of it, that’s the important thing.
SOMEBODY: We haven’t broken the back of it.
REVEREND: Yes, we have, we are almost up to 14 feet.
SOMEBODY: The more we get higher the base grows wider.
SOMEBODY ELSE: He’s right.
REVEREND: Pessimists, all of you.