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Friday, August 21, 2009

practical mathematics

1) A swimming pool lies 10m off the foot of a high rise downtown Zagreb. On the roof, 100m* up, a desperate man stands in suit and tie, trembling, crying, shouting abuse in Serbo-Croatian, the foam of death on his lips. In his hands is a picture of a woman with blond hair, (probably peroxide) and breasts that look – how shall I say – well, fake. Anyway - irrelevant – the point is – the question is: what is the maximum speed he must stay under when leaping off the high rise to ensure his safe passage to the underworld i.e. the guy wants to die, not go for a swim. Note1: assume a perfect parabola and no air friction. Note2: We’re on Earth, so gravity – except around Labas’ meteorite – is approximately constant. Hints:

a) Drago Stanic – that’s his name; remember him? he called me from his yacht on the Aegean – is not a stuntman, nor does he wish to be one.

b) Drago and I used to play Mikado and number games in my yard after school. He was always good with numbers, then he got really good and turned criminal. Casinos and whatnot. He loved puzzles and food. Was he fat? Yes. But this is of no practical significance since air friction is zero.

2) Once desperate, now disembodied and strangely lighthearted, Drago must travel from the concrete at the foot of the high rise to a giant rock belt on the rim of the galaxy 300 light-years away. His punishment for whacking Serbs, beating Tania and stealing money is mild: he will run a hotdog stand for the Americans he so disliked on Earth, i.e. he will languish for the rest of eternity outside a football stadium, i.e. American football. Now, if Drago can travel at 30 times the speed of light (he's disembodied, immaterial, ectoplasmic – call it what you want – so he can do this now) how long will it take Drago to get there? Note1: disregard Special Relativity. Note2: ...and General Relativity. Note3: in fact, ignore all physics post 1916. Note4: Assume a straight line and no pit stops. Note5 Assume Drago hits no obstruction and has a working knowledge of blackholes. Note6: Even though Drago – as I remember him – is notoriously “distractable”, assume that for once in his godforsaken, fucked-up life he is going to concentrate on the task at hand and not wander around full of schemes to make a quick Dinar. No dollars or dinars in space Drago! Hints:

a.Drago and Tania – lady Peroxide – enjoyed a short but intense relationship. Tania cheated, but this is just for your information and of no practical significance.

b A light-year – like a relationship is a distance traveled, not a duration.

3) This is a two part question. If regret is a wave that spreads out through space like a ripple in water, lighting up the disembodied as it encounters them (1) how fast would this wave have to travel if it left the bosom of the regreter downtown Rotterdam to touch Drago just before he reaches the rock-belt stadium? And (2) how long would it take for Drago to appear as a shooting star for this Earthlings to behold. Note1: light must travel back the distance before it can be perceived. Note2: When he called me from his yacht - despite the jokes and tomfoolery - underneath it was a plea for help. Come to Zagreb, my friend, please come! But this is just for your information and of no practical significance

Extra credit (for smart asses and cookies): What hemisphere would see Drago if he jumped…now!

Note: Use pen & pad. You may test waves of your own and look at the sky at any time. That’s not cheating, it’s encouraged.

(RIP Drago!)

*source: Snezana Eugenia Birckenwald-Lekic IV (Snezi)