Gothamist loves math problems (though we admit to getting a little confused when it involves two trains traveling towards each other at differing speeds, starting at different times...or when there are logarithms involved), so a NY Times story about appeals judges in Albany upholding a drug conviction where the prosecutors used a little geometry to nail a drug dealer was pretty fun. See, James Robbins was arrested for selling drugs to an undercover cop at 40th Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan. Penalties for dealing within 1000 feet of a school are much harsher, so the prosecutors found that the nearest school was Holy Cross, at 332 West 43rd Street. And then, by using the Pythagorean theorem, they claimed that Robbins was selling drugs at 907.63 feet away. But Robbins' lawyer appealed the case because, really, a person can't walk those 907.63 feet - a person would really be walking 1254 feet. The judges disagreed with the defense, saying, "guilt under the statute cannot depend on whether a particular building in a person's path to a school happens to be open to the public or locked at the time of a drug sale."

We mapped the path to better understand the argument, and we can see why the defense attorneys appealed. Gothamist supposes that some more algebraically-inclined drug dealers have already figured out suitable areas to sell drugs from, by taking locations of schools and creating 1000 foot radii from them.