Thursday, June 14, 2007

Witz Pickz: Baffling Scientific Happenings!

Yes I watched Mr. Wizard as a child, and No I don't understand much about science. The closest I've come in recent years to being able to explain a scientific process or system was describing how the Fraggles and Doozers co-exist in a symbiotic relationship. Other than that....

So you can imagine my confusion yesterday when I encountered an incredible and baffling scientific happening while driving my car and talking on my cell phone. Unlike most assholes, I was on my cell phone as a joke. I was driving back from a soccer game when my friend ended up in front of me at a stoplight. We goofed around for a minute and then I promptly drove past her. She retaliated with a phone call and a biting quip regarding my car's transmission (those are the best kind of quips, aren't they?) and as I heard her talking on my cell phone, she pulled up next to me in her car. THIS IS WHERE THE SCIENTIFIC MYSTERY TOOK PLACE! I was able to hear her saying things on the cell phone BEFORE seeing her mouth form the words in the car next to me. I immediately thought up the problem:

Two cars are travelling at 40 mph on a parallel path heading north. The driver of each car is on their cell phone with the other. If a cell tower stands several miles away, at a height of approximately 100 feet, and images travel at the speed of light-- HOW THE EFF CAN I HEAR THE WORDS BEFORE I SEE THEM???

Please, somebody tell me! Because I literally heard the words and then looked over to see them being formed. We were three feet apart! Light moves fast! The sound had to travel to a network tower and then to my cell phone right? At the very least, it had to travel from her mouth to a cell phone receiver, to my cell phone receiver, out my speaker to my ear. That's a lotta ways for sound to go. Light's just BAM, THERE.

When I mentioned it on the phone, she said she noticed the same thing. So, assuming I'm not crazy (50 to 1 odds) and assuming we are not BOTH psychic (5000 to 1 odds) and assuming we both do not have Nicholas Cage's ability to see "a few minutes into the future" as in his new film "Next" (500,000 to 1), WHAT WAS GOING ON??? Somebody must know, because I, clearly, am baffled.

Who Will Be the Science Sleuth?,

1 comment:

Thomas J. Brown said...

When I was living in the dorms at EWU, I had the radio tuned to one of our football games (I have no idea why, since I dislike sports).

Every time EWU scores a touchdown, the ROTC guys fire off this huge cannon.

So EWU scored and the cannon was fired. I heard the cannon over the radio about a half-second before I heard it "in real life".

What's particularly amazing is that the sound of the cannon blast over the radio would have traveled from the cannon to the mic (probably a few hundred feet), to the radio station (600 yards or so), to the broadcast tower on Krell Hill (in Spokane, about 15 miles away), then back to my radio (another 15 miles) all in less time than it took for the sound to travel about 300 yards from the cannon to my ear.

Thomas also picks science.