Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life with an engineer, part 56

Example 1
Me: What time does our flight leave?
SH: 11:59.
Me: I would have said "noon."

Example 2
Me: It was $2.00 a gallon.
SH: I thought it was $2.02.
Me: Whatever.

Example 3
The plane takes off. The pilot (oops! first officer!) announces a contest. The person who guesses/calculates the time closest to the time that we cross the halfway point to Hawaii gets a prize. He gives us this information:
Takeoff time: 2:51:26
Distance to HI: 2,098 nautical miles (why ships and airplanes can't use regular miles I do not know. Are there nautical kilometers, too?)
Airspeed once we hit cruising: 457 nmph
Headwind: -14 nmph

My calculations:
Effective speed = 457-14, or 443, but I am going to use 440 because it's easier to do the math by hand that way and we didn't start at that speed anyhow so that's my fudge factor.
I divide the speed into the miles (2,098/440), divide the result in half (4.77/2), convert the result to hours, minutes and seconds and add it to the starting time (2:28:48 + 2:51:26) to yield my estimated time of crossing the halfway point (5:20:14).

I then throw in an extra five minutes just because.

Then I see SH's answer -- he did the straight math and came up with something like 5:14:22 and I decide that although he is probably wrong, I am too far off the arithmatic middle and cut the five minutes back off.

Four hours later, the pilot announces the winner.

Me.

Me.

Me.

The actual time we crossed the halfway point?

5:20:18.

I was four seconds, yes, four seconds early. The fudger wins!

When the flight attendant handed me my prize (three cans of macademia nuts, which are not cheap and which I shall give to my nice neighbor for shoveling our sidewalk in our absence -- I don't want to eat them because they are 1,000 calories a can and the cans are not big at all), she told me that she has never seen anyone come so close. And she's been doing this a while, I can tell you.

3 comments:

Benita said...

Congratulations! I lost that contest on both trips. You're really sharp to come so close!

GirlBlogger said...

Hey, we didn't have that contest on our flight to Hawaii.

class-factotum said...

Benita, I was really lucky is all!

GB, tell them you want your money back! Fin would have gotten it for sure.