“There was a young and adventurous man who found among his great-grandfather’s papers a piece of parchment that revealed the location of a hidden treasure. The instructions read:
‘Sail to _________ North latitude and _________ West longitude where though wilt find a deserted island. There lieth a large meadow, not pent, on the north shore of the island where standeth a lonely oak and a lonely pine. There thou wilt see also an old gallows on which we once were wont to hang traitors. Start thou from the gallows and walk to the oak counting thy steps. At the oak thou must turn right by a right angle and take the same number of steps. Put here a spike in the ground. Now must thou return to the gallows and walk to the pine counting thy steps. At the pine thou must turn left by a right angle and see that thou takest the same number of steps, and put another spike into the ground. Dig halfway between the spikes; the treasure is there.’”
So, the young man chartered a ship and found the island, but it wouldn’t be a very interesting story if things went as planned, now would it? He found the lonely oak and the lonely pine, but to his great chagrin the gallows was gone, melted away by elements with not the slightest trace left behind. The young man fell into an angry frenzy and began to dig all over the island, but it was just too big. He sailed back home with empty hands. They say the treasure lies buried there still.
And story is all the more sad because the young man would have found the treasure if only he knew a little about mathematics, and in particular about the use of imaginary numbers.
Bud Kelly (2021). Treasure Island Puzzle Source Code (https://www.mathworks.com/matlabcentral/fileexchange/66878-treasure-island-puzzle-source-code), MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .
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