Friday, May 29, 2015

Mailing labels

This post isn't about labels you use for mailing ... it is about actually mailing a label. These days I'm in the business of shipping bright orange 2.5lb boxes around the world and sometimes funny things happen.

This postage stamp, connected with two packing slips, escaped free of the little customs baggie on the box, aaaaaaand traveled all the way to the customer in Norway. Actual box with the bike horn was nowhere to be found, they literately received exactly what you see here in this picture and nothing more.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

My letter to the editor

On May 14th, Jesse Pistachio wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Teaneck Suburbanite. This elicited a response last week by Steven Mather (second letter). Well, I felt the need to respond, and this week they printed my letter to the editor:
To the editor,
I am writing in response to the "Perhaps try slowing down" letter from May 21.
I wholeheartedly agree with much of what Mr. Mather writes regarding the correct response to a "road bully". I, personally, am happy to drive with cruise control set to 25, with an aggressive driver riding my tail.
However, I must point out an inaccuracy in Mr. Mather's letter. He states "Getting someplace five minutes FASTER [emphasis mine] is not worth the life of the person you might hit while driving so fast in these neighborhoods." The entire stretch of Sussex/Garrison -- the road under discussion -- is just 1.9 miles long. Driving at 25 mph, nonstop, takes 4.6 minutes. There is no speed one could drive which would get you across town five minutes quicker; traveling infinitely fast will only save you 4.6 minutes. Even if you consider the worst-case-scenario of waiting at a full red light cycle of the traffic light, you would need to drive at approximately 1,900 mph to save five minutes, thus exceeding the current land speed record by a factor of 2.5!
So, for the record, driving at 30mph saves you 45 seconds, 35mph saves you 1.3min, and 45mph saves you a whopping two minutes.
Eli Lansey, Ph.D.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Self-contradictory highway sign

We occasionally pass this sign on the way to work:
I'd like to point out a few things:
  1. This picture was taken from the passenger side of the car. Be safe when driving!
  2. The splotches are an artifact of a refresh rate, moving car, and cellphone camera. In real life, it looks solid.
  3. I am incredibly annoyed by the different fonts and sizes of the two different 13s. It's a digital sign with digital fonts, not sure how this screwup happened.
  4. Finally, the left part of the sign says "13 MILES  l3 MIN" And yet, the speed limit sign says 55mph. Which is it, folks? At 55mph, it should take 14.1 mins to travel 13 miles, so rounding to nearest integer, it should say "13 miles 14 minutes". On the other hand, if you're travelling at 55mph for 13 mins, you travel a distance of 11.9 miles, so rounding to nearest integer it should say "12 miles 13 minutes". In fact, using rounding (nearest integer, ceiling or floor) there is no way to get (rounded to 13) miles in (rounded to 13) minutes. So, I think it's safe to drive at 60mph there, and rely on physics in when you get a ticket.