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.




The actual time we crossed the halfway point?


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.


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.