Monday, July 07, 2008

Evidence that my brain has a problem with obsession

Remember this post?

I didn't get it. I mean, when I did the math I saw it was right, but it didn't make *sense.*

So I obsessed. I obsessed and obsessed and obsessed. Weeks passed. It still didn't make sense.

Until yesterday. I was pouring some soap into the bathtub, and I suddenly *got* it.

It all came down to this (kinda dumb)joke my dad used to tell me. "If you have a man and a woman, and the woman travels half the distance to the man. And then the man travels half the distance to the woman, and so on, how long will it take for them to get to each other?"

The answer? "They'll never get to each other. But they'll get close enough for all practical purposes!"

Only engineers think this joke is funny.

Anyway, I realized that the distance the people are travelling a few steps in is a lot smaller than the distance they first travelled, even though each leg is 0.5 times the size of the last. So, even though the 0.5 is constant, the actual distance changes.

Then I realized that the gas mileage thing has a relationship to that kind of exponential problem and suddenly, it actually made sense.

So, thanks Dad. All these weeks later I can FINALLY stop friggin trying to figure it out!


Tirzah said...

Don't you just love it when you HAVE to think about something until your brain can work it's way around it??


You know those Orbit gum commercials? Got a dirty mouth? Clean it up. CHING! Now do you know what I'm talking about?
Anyway, my 13 year old daughter had to be the one to explain to me what the two guys arguing over a basketball game meant when they called each other a "donkey hole."

My newly minted teen is more hard core than me. When did that happen?!??