Okay, actually…

Cidu Bill on Apr 19th 2017

55.PNG

Choked carburetors pre-date the 55mph speed limit.

Filed in Bill Bickel, Frazz, Jef Mallett, comic strips, comics, humor | 39 responses so far

39 Responses to “Okay, actually…”

  1. Mona Apr 19th 2017 at 07:06 pm 1

    And….the speed limit on Highway 522 between my house and the nearest town is 55 MPH.

  2. James Pollock Apr 19th 2017 at 07:29 pm 2

    He says he’s going to assume old technology. Not contemporaneous technology. (And yes, Caulfield knows the difference.)

  3. Christine Apr 19th 2017 at 07:32 pm 3

    I think that’s the point. He’s not trying to actually stay in period, just be old-fashioned (being older than the speed limit is a bonus) to complain about the problem being old fashioned.

  4. Ian D Osmond Apr 19th 2017 at 07:50 pm 4

    But according to Google Maps, it’s easier to go through Flint to Bay City, and then take 10 to 115 over to Cadillac, which skips over Reed City entirely.

    In any case, Google comes up with three different routes, depending on traffic, and they’re all different lengths. I think that would be important for the problem to specify.

    Also, does this mean that Frazz is set in Michigan? Did we know that already?

  5. Ian D Osmond Apr 19th 2017 at 07:52 pm 5

    Moana — but the speed limits on the highways between Belmont and Cadillac are 70 mph, and are going up to 75 in a couple months, according to a cursory google search I just did where I didn’t read beyond the page titles so I could be completely wrong.

  6. James Pollock Apr 19th 2017 at 07:54 pm 6

    The correct answer to the actual problem given, of course, is “it depends on what route he takes”.
    Averaging 55mpg over 84 miles doesn’t tell you how long it takes if the distance actually travelled is more than 84 miles. For example, if the route includes Boston, Miami, San Antonio, San Diego, Vancouver and Winnipeg, it’s going to take a fairly long time.

  7. ja Apr 19th 2017 at 08:22 pm 7

    @Ian D Osmond
    ???
    Belmont, MI is near Grand Rapids. Cadillac is almost due north up US 131. Going via Flint and Bay City would triple the length of the trip. US 131 is the only viable option to get you there in roughly 84 miles (which is about the right distance).

    As an additional note, these days, you’d have to exit US 131 to stop in Reed City, but the old US 131 ran right through town…

  8. Lost in A**2 Apr 19th 2017 at 08:31 pm 8

    Ian, yes, Frazz is set in Michigan, and yes, some of us knew that.

  9. Brent Apr 19th 2017 at 08:45 pm 9

    It says the average speed… and that’s always going to be lower than your maximum speed. The question is probably more accurate now than when it was first written.

  10. pepperjackcandy Apr 19th 2017 at 09:01 pm 10

    If Mr. Schad spent half an hour at 35 miles an hour to get to the expressway, then an hour on the expressway at 75 miles per hour, and then half an hour at 35 miles an hour to get to his destination, that’s an average speed of 55 miles per hour right there.

  11. mitch4 Apr 19th 2017 at 09:25 pm 11

    As Brent #9 and pepperjackcandy #10 are starting to say, averaging 55 MPH does not mean you have obeyed a speed limit of 55 the whole time. Maybe you did, if your speed never varied; but if it was ever under that, it also had to be over it at some point.

  12. Dave Van Domelen Apr 19th 2017 at 11:30 pm 12

    “If he averages 3.4 miles per hour through Atlanta….”

  13. Jeff Lichtman Apr 20th 2017 at 12:15 am 13

    Choked carburetors pre-date cars that could go as fast as 55 MPH.

  14. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 01:12 am 14

    “Choked carburetors pre-date cars that could go as fast as 55 MPH.”

    Tailwind.
    Or load it on to the train, which could do 55 before there were any cars at all.

    For that matter, the original problem doesn’t say he’s driving.

    At the risk of re-igniting the complaints from the riddle thread, does anyone else enjoy lateral-thinking puzzles?

    Person A leaves Los Angeles heading for New York. At the exact same moment, Person B leaves New York with Los Angeles as the destination. Both arrive safely, yet their paths never cross. How can this be? (Hint: Not only do their paths never cross, they’re never even at the same longitude at the same time.)

    Thrilled that you solved the first puzzle so easily, Person C leaves Las Vegas for Nashville. At the same time, Person D leaves Miami for Kansas City. Again, both arrive safely at their destination, but in this puzzle neither one ever leaves the North American continent. But again, there is no point in time where both of them are at the same longitude. How is this possible?

  15. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 01:16 am 15

    Answers:
    Person A leaves Los Angeles traveling East. Person B leaves New York, ALSO traveling East. Person A arrives in New York from the west, and Person B arrives in Los Angeles from the west.

    Person C leaves Las Vegas, traveling east very fast. Person D leaves Miami traveling north very slowly. Person C arrives in Nashville, then turns around and returns home. Person D makes a left turn at Atlanta and (eventually) reaches Kansas City.

  16. woozy Apr 20th 2017 at 03:11 am 16

    55 mph as an average speed for 84 miles miles is a pretty fast average considering there are slow downs and stops. And if it is the *average* speed then no it does NOT depend if you stop for something. That still is calculated into the average speed.

  17. woozy Apr 20th 2017 at 03:21 am 17

    @14. Why in world *would* their paths cross? We live on the surface of globe, not a one dimensional line. Whatever answer one may have about one is in a car and the other is in an airplane or one is traveling across the US and the other is taking a detour around the world in the other direction, are unnecessary. One left new york through the north of town and took 80 to San Francisco and down 101, and the other took 20 out of Barstow through the southwest and up the Atlantic seaboard through the Holland tunnel. Seriously, I’m having a very hard time imagining how this can be considered a puzzle at all.

  18. woozy Apr 20th 2017 at 03:29 am 18

    Actually, that would have been better in you had just left out the paths crossing and went directly to the longitude never cross. Of course then one’d have to be familiar with the intermediate value theorem to realize that would actually be impossible.

    Yes the answer would have to be what James says. The second person takes a detour far to the west while the first goes, comes back and the takes a detour to the east before the second person catches up.

    That’d be a good puzzle for know it all mathematicians.

  19. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 03:36 am 19

    “And if it is the *average* speed then no it does NOT depend if you stop for something. That still is calculated into the average speed.”

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. That 55mph is the average speed over 84 miles. You have no idea what the average was for the rest of the trip, or of the total combined. You’re assuming that the additional, unspecified distance was 0, but the problem does not say this.

    If he drop for 84 miles at an average of 55mph, and then stopped for two hours, and then drove the remainder of the distance in 20 minutes, is the total trip time the same or different as if he drove for 84 miles at an average of 55mph, does not stop, and the rest of the distance takes 20 minutes?

    Yes, I used to write all my own exams. And it was VERY important that the right answers be unambiguously right, and the wrong answers unambiguously wrong. (I also wrote “bonus” questions, which were trick questions but not impossible. For example, I might ask: “You are looking in the Windows System Event Log. You see a series of logged events which have a closed padlock icon. What does this indicate?” A careless exam taker might answer “it indicates an event that was blocked by policy” or “it’s a failure security event”, both of which are wrong.

  20. Proginoskes Apr 20th 2017 at 04:07 am 20

    To school kids, anything more than fifteen years old is “old technology”.

  21. ja Apr 20th 2017 at 05:52 am 21

    Frazz is set in a fictionalized Rodney, MI.

    While I don’t doubt that Caulfield is more than capable of nit-picking ambiguities in the problem, the general form of these story problem jokes in Frazz (a trope that I believe Mallett copied from Schulz) is that the premises are unrealistic or difficult to relate to. For instance, there was a Frazz string with a story problem about a train leaving Huntington Woods and one of the non-Caulfields objected on the grounds that Huntington Woods has no train stations. Even more relevantly, there was a strip in which Caulfield answers NA to all of the story problems because they were all ridiculous, with the specific example being a problem about leaving Novi and driving 28 miles to the airport at the speed limit. Caulfield’s objection? “No one drives the speed limit on I-275.” Both of these examples deal with real Michigan places, and Huntington Woods really does not have a train station, and Novi is really 28 miles from DTW, and yes, the speed limit on I-275 (at least during non-rush hours) should be viewed as a suggested minimum.

    US-131 is an expressway from Grand Rapids north to just south of Cadillac. The path from Belmont to Cadillac is basically 84 miles of almost all expressway, and no one drives 55 on it either– the speed limit is 70 (and this exact stretch of road is targeted as one of the first three sections of highway to be raised to 75 under a recently signed law). People didn’t drive 55 on it when that was the speed limit, either (FWIW, during the 55-era in Michigan, speeding written up at under 70 MPH on express ways were “energy violations” and did not show up on your driving record. Caulfield is suggesting that no one has driven 55 on US 131 since the era of choked carburetors, when US-131 was not divided highway, and still ran directly through Reed City (it now runs just west of it).

  22. Terrence Feenstra Apr 20th 2017 at 06:45 am 22

    It appears from the above that we all have a little too much time on our hands.

  23. Powers Apr 20th 2017 at 09:38 am 23

    “You are looking in the Windows System Event Log. You see a series of logged events which have a closed padlock icon. What does this indicate?”

    Depends on what subject is the antecedent of “this”.

  24. BillClay Apr 20th 2017 at 10:18 am 24

    James @ 17. The problem doesn’t specify many, many things. It doesn’t define any of the words it uses nor does it define what a mile is nor an hour. And even if you want to say that some things are understood by convention while at the same time you are claiming you can’t do that with details you seem to want to specify, one thing the puzzle does not define is what the speed is relative *to*. In your puzzles about people traveling between cities did you define where those cities are? Did you even specify they were cities and are the commonly understood cities?

    Some puzzles are interesting when they hinge on common perceptions, others are pedantic and require you to be a mind reader. “What does this indicate?” “This”, the word, has a definition. Is that what you are referring to? I could also interpret your required answer to be that if they are looking at windows logs they aren’t looking at their exam. Is that the lateral way of looking at something? Some lateral puzzles are good because they require a different perspective. Different definitions of “cabin” or someone with hiccups are good. Arguing over what the definition of is is makes for poor puzzles.

  25. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 03:47 pm 25

    “The problem doesn’t specify many, many things. It doesn’t define any of the words it uses nor does it define what a mile is nor an hour. And even if you want to say that some things are understood by convention”

    Or you could just point out that the definitions of “mile” or “hour” are not needed to solve the problem, only the relationship between them… which is given. You can write a story problem in Jabberwocky.

    “In your puzzles…”
    Did you not even notice that these are two different types of questions? One tests your ability to recognize abstract mathematical processes to concrete problems, the other is about applying creativity to solve problems.

    “Did you even specify they were cities and are the commonly understood cities? ”
    Nope. Another correct answer to the lateral thinking puzzles would have been “These are all places on Mars, and their locations on Mars do not match the relative positions of their namesakes on Earth.”

    “Some puzzles are interesting when they hinge on common perceptions, others are pedantic and require you to be a mind reader.”
    Riddles are inherently deceptive. Sometimes they hinge on the fact that a word has more than one meaning… example: what has a bed but never sleeps, and a mouth but never speaks?… and some rely on the listener deceiving themself by making an unwarranted assumption… “This boy’s grandfather and father died young, and yet I claim him as my son.” Sometimes they use irrelevant detail to make you lose track of what to pay attention to… an in the case of the famous “As I was going to St. Ives…” riddle, which is too long to quote here.
    Now, consider the riddle contest in “The Hobbit”. Frodo cheated. “What have I got in my pocket” is not a riddle. A riddle contains everything needed to solve it, or it’s cheating. The entire literary field of the mystery novel is built around this same principle. You can wait around until the end and say “the butler did it! Nobody saw him enter because they EXPECT to see the butler entering and leaving rooms.” But you can’t say “The butler did it! He can secretly walk through solid walls…”

    “‘What does this indicate?’ ‘This’, the word, has a definition. Is that what you are referring to?”
    No, because if that was what I meant, that’s what I would have written. The question would have been “What does “this” indicate?

    “I could also interpret your required answer to be that if they are looking at windows logs they aren’t looking at their exam. Is that the lateral way of looking at something?”
    I didn’t teach logic. I taught computer and network technology. The goal of an exam in that context is to assess the student’s knowledge of the subject matter taught during the exam. A person who’d mastered the subject matter would know the answer to the question because all the clues needed to answer it were in the question. A secondary purpose is to ensure that people with more complete mastery get better grades than people with less complete mastery.

    “Arguing over what the definition of is is makes for poor puzzles.”
    I believe that YOU are the one who brought up the definition of “miles”, “hour”, and “this”.

  26. Winter Wallaby Apr 20th 2017 at 05:14 pm 26

    BillClay #24: +1

    Anyone can pretend that they just arrived from the Planet Zeebo and don’t understand how language works. “Oh, you want a chair? You didn’t specify that you wanted it today.” “Oh, today? You didn’t specify now, today.” “Oh, here you go. But you didn’t specify you wanted a chair for an adult. Or that it should be fully constructed. Or that it shouldn’t be covered in green goo.” This isn’t a hard thing to do. It doesn’t make a person look clever, or create an interesting puzzle; it just establishes that it’s pointless to talk to them.

  27. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 05:45 pm 27

    “This isn’t a hard thing to do. It doesn’t make a person look clever, or create an interesting puzzle; it just establishes that it’s pointless to talk to them.”

    Congratulations, you just (re)discovered why dealing with djinni is a bad idea.

  28. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 05:56 pm 28

    I read back through a few of the comments, and realized I forgot to give the answer to the “bonus” question.
    “You are looking in the Windows System Event Log. You see a series of logged events which have a closed padlock icon. What does this indicate?”

    Well, actually, there isn’t a “the” answer… there are quite a few answers that would be scored as “correct”. All of them rely on noting the fact that Windows Security Events (which are identified with either open or closed padlock icons, to indicate success and failure events) do not occur in the Windows System Event Log. They occur in the Windows Security Event Log.

  29. Mark in Boston Apr 20th 2017 at 11:35 pm 29

    You’re a bus driver. You pick up your bus in Arlington, Massachusetts, headed for Boston.
    At the first stop 14 people get on.
    At the next stop 5 people get off and 6 people get on.
    At the next stop 3 people get off and 4 people get on.
    At the next stop 10 people get off and 7 people get on.
    At the next stop nobody gets off and one person gets on.
    At the next stop, which is the last stop, all of the people get off.
    How old is the bus driver?

  30. James Pollock Apr 20th 2017 at 11:42 pm 30

    “You’re a bus driver.”
    “How old is the bus driver?”

    TYPE MISMATCH ERROR

  31. ja Apr 21st 2017 at 08:23 am 31

    @James Pollock

    Of course, your answer makes perfect sense, but when I read “You are looking in the Windows System Event Log. You see a series of logged events which have a closed padlock icon,” the response that popped into my head immediately was “XYZZY” or perhaps “jump in leaves.”

  32. BillClay Apr 21st 2017 at 11:50 am 32

    James - in post 6 you indicated the answer to the problem in the strip depends on the route taken. In other words, the puzzle as stated doesn’t specify the route, therefore you are claiming you can’t answer the question. I indicated the puzzle doesn’t specify much of anything, including what the speed is relative to. Right now you are moving at close to the speed of light. But it would take you years to get to Mars. Pointing out the route was specified felt to me like arguing over the definition of is. Yes, you are correct. No doubt about it. As was the statement about the vagueness on the definition of is.

    I have no idea what kind of professor or teacher you were, so I would have no context to know if the questions you were asking were hinging on technical knowledge about the different windows logs or if you were the type that was trying to be purposely obtuse. Your answer indicates what I would consider a good question and answer. Much like asking how many animals Moses had on the ark or what happens when roosters lay eggs on a roof. Details are important, to be sure.

    You gave example of lateral thinking puzzles then talked about how you wrote bonus questions on an exam. One seemed an extension of the other which is why it appears the exam questions were about logic, not technical understanding. I don’t know if I was supposed to know you taught network courses or not when I read the original bonus questions.

  33. mitch4 Apr 21st 2017 at 05:16 pm 33

    Horace Horse on the three words puzzle clause: http://www.gocomics.com/darksideofthehorse/2017/02/22

  34. Winter Wallaby Apr 21st 2017 at 07:06 pm 34

    mitch4 #33: xkcd on Hemingway’s six sentence short story: https://xkcd.com/1540/

  35. Cidu Bill Apr 21st 2017 at 08:57 pm 35

    I do have to salute xkcd’s assumption that none of its readers need the premise explained to them.

  36. Mark in Boston Apr 21st 2017 at 09:18 pm 36

    “TYPE MISMATCH ERROR”

    Yes, after I submitted I realized that I should have written “You’re the bus driver” to match with “How old is the bus driver?” But I don’t know how to go back and edit a comment here, or even whether it’s possible.

    But whether you happen to be driving the bus or not, the only bus driver given in the puzzle is you, so “the bus driver” must refer to you.

    You know, the puzzle would be much easier to solve if I started with “You’re Zyzzyx Varnhoft Phlim” and ended with “How old is Zyzzyx Varnhoft Phlim?”

  37. James Pollock Apr 21st 2017 at 09:37 pm 37

    “I do have to salute xkcd’s assumption that none of its readers need the premise explained to them.”

    That’s because there’s a whole website devoted to explaining xkcd comics.

  38. Boise Ed Apr 22nd 2017 at 04:26 pm 38

    James [14,15]: Another solution is that Mr. LA takes the straight route ENE and Mr. NY takes a polar route, starting N.

    BillClay [24]: I just flashed back on a test (SAT, maybe) where more than one question was plagued by ambiguity. I could justify two or more of the choices. So the question became “Which does the test-maker want me to choose?” That’s also a useful guide to most DMV tests I’ve taken.

    James [25]: You would teach subject matter during the exam?

    Mark [36]: It’s not possible. I don’t know whether Bill can do so or he can only delete the whole comment.

    James [37]: That’s why I avoid xkcd.

  39. James Pollock Apr 23rd 2017 at 12:56 am 39

    “Another solution is that Mr. LA takes the straight route ENE and Mr. NY takes a polar route, starting N.”
    This is just a variation of the answer I gave… he goes around the long way instead of going west. There ARE multiple correct solutions to lateral thinking puzzles, though.
    Here’s another. Mr. LA starts for NY. He travels east, Mr. NY starts east, and waits in Connecticut. Mr. NY arrives safetly at his destination, and is then subsequently run over by a bus, and his family decides the cremate his remains (morbid, I know!). Mister NY then heads west, eventually arriving in LA safetly.
    Here’s another, MUCH more lateral one. Mr. LA heads east. Mr. NY invents a time machine, travels into the past, arrives in LA before Mr. LA is even born, and travels west, arriving in Honolulu just before Mr. LA is born. Mr. LA arrives in NY.
    Lateral thinking puzzles are about overcoming your own preconceptions about how to solve the problem. “The purloined letter” is a literary lateral-thinking puzzle in mystery-story form. (The mystery genre imposes some rules that are separate from lateral-thinking puzzles… You can compound the complexity by writing mysteries that are lateral thinking puzzles and also cross over to another literary genre. AC Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Larry Niven have written SF mysteries, Asimov and Niven have also written fantasy mysteries, but the clear winner (to my taste) is Randall Garrett.
    Enough meandering (on this exact topic)

    “You would teach subject matter during the exam?”
    Absolutely. Exams are one of the best ways to teach for long-term. Students are FAR more likely to retain information that they missed on an exam than they are the things they answered correctly. The final exam is my last meaningful chance to transfer my knowledge and wisdom to my students. I can’t waste it.
    (My usual process was to give the exam, then review what the right answers were and why they were right. Students were allowed to make a verbal challenge to any question/defend their answer as properly responsive to the question as given.
    Suppose I wrote this question: Dave Bowman is attempting to access installation instructions for an AE-35 module. These instructions are stored in files that are stored on a Windows 2000 Server named “HAL9000″. Unfortunately, HAL9000 returns an “access denied” error message rather than the files Dave has requested. Dave verifies that he has typed in the correct UNC for the files. What is keeping him from being able to access the files?”
    A half-point answer would be “he has a permissions problem” or “the permissions are not set correctly”.
    A full-point answer would identify two possible permissions problems… the share permissions, and the file permissions, and would note that either one could block access even if the other one allows it. Ideally, the student would even go into detail of how permissions work… you get no access if you don’t have any access permissions, and you get no access if you have the “no access” permission.
    On the other hand, a student might answer “Dave is logged on to a local account instead of instead of logging on to the domain.” This is not the INTENDED right answer, but it is, in fact, a right answer. I’d need to tweak the question before putting it into the question bank, to note that Dave is able to access other files on the domain.
    (the fact that there is a domain, and that the network is up and running, is in the initial directions that these are given until specifically superseded by the individual question.)

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