Story Problems

10 November 2004

Pop quiz today, boys and girls.

1. You install a new 92% efficient gas furnace. You preset the thermostat to come on only in the morning and in the late afternoons. Your house has limited insulation, many large windows, and two doors without proper weather sealing. How cold will the house be when you arrive home from work? How long will it take to reach room temperature?

2. You buy a house without a bathtub. How many baths do you get to take during your first six months in the house? How much does a bathroom remodel cost? How soon can you start the project?

3a. It is Wednesday. Book group is on Saturday. Brideshead Revisited is 351 pages long, of which you have read seventeen. How many pages remain to be read? Will you finish?

3b. You read approximately 50 pages per hour, regardless of the subject matter. How many hours should you schedule to finish Brideshead Revisited? Will you finish?

3c. You plan to watch two hours of televlision tonight, and tomorrow your sister-in-law flies in for a visit. On Saturday, your brother-in-law flies in. Now will you finish?

4. The World of Warcraft beta goes live. To play, you must download a 2.42gb install file from the internet. You download 81.5mb during the first hour, but have to surrender your ethernet cable so that actual work can get done. During the second hour, you download 64.9mb over your wireless connection. How long will it take to finish the download? What if you switch from wireless to ethernet when you go home at night?

5a. You read (audited?) Master and Commander in 13 days. You read Post Captain in 16 days. You read H.M.S. Suprise in 8 days. You read The Mauritius Command in 12 days. How long will it take you to read all twenty books in the series?

5b. You’re borrowing the O’Brian books from the public library. The library allows you to borrow them for 28 days. (You’re allowed to renew an item if there are no holds on it, but there are always holds on the O’Brian books.) How far in advance must you place a hold so that the next book is ready for you when you finish with the current book?

6. You decide to install two horseshoe pitches in your back yard. A regulation horseshoe pitch is 40 feet from stake to stake. A regulation pitch for women is 27 feet from stake to stake. The only space in which your wife will allow you to place the pitches has an irregular shape, about 28 feet long in one spot and about 34 feet long in the other. How many trees and bushes must you hack in order to create your horseshoe pitches?

7. You weigh 200 pounds. Six months ago you weighed 180 pounds. How many calories did you consume during those six months? How many Hostess Sno-Balls is that? How many hours of bicycling would it take to drop to 180 pounds again? How many Patrick O’Brian novels could you listen to during that time?

I’m in one of my periodic blue moods, an epoch of low self-esteem and self-loathing. Fortunately, Kris is there to lend support. And I’ve got my Simon and Garfunkel to listen to. I’m playing “Old Friends” and “America” over and over again. Simon and Garfunkel carried me through many days and nights of teenage angst. Now I find they’re able to carry me through the days and nights of middle-age angst.

I’ll be my normal cheery self again soon. I promise.

Comments

On 10 November 2004 (09:17 AM),
Pam said:

Enthralled by horseshoe data, I was quite disappointed to see your horseshoe link actually goes to some crappy wargame page (please, never speak of this game to Mac) – seems like a bait and switch to me!

On 10 November 2004 (09:22 AM),
J.D. said:

Oops. I was busy chatting with Nick when I constructed the links. The error is fixed now. And Pam: you should be proud of Mac. He already decline my invitation to join the game… :)

On 10 November 2004 (09:27 AM),
Tiffany said:

Do you ever get the bookclub book read with lots of time to spare?

On 10 November 2004 (10:32 AM),
sennoma said:

Hang in there, JD.

On 10 November 2004 (10:42 AM),
Scott said:

Ok, I’ll tackle number 7.

A 20 lb. gain is roughly 70,000 additional calories beyond what you normally ate. At your age, (presumed) activity level, and weight, you need 2403 calories to maintain your current weight. Doing the math, you ate an additional 384 calories per day in those six months for a total of 2787 calories per day.

A Hostess&trade Sno-Ball is 180 calories. Therefore you ate 389 Snow-Balls.

Again, at your current weight, bicycling 12-13.9 mph burns 768 calories per hour. Therefore, you need to cycle for 91.145 hours.

The four Patrick O’Brian audio books you listed on average are about 11 CDs long each. (I am presuming you listen to the unabridged versions because if you aren’t, I am not sure I want to know you Mr. Roth.) At approximately 70 minutes per CD, you would need to listen to 7.1 novels at 12.83 hours each to reach 91.145 hours.

Hope that helps.

On 10 November 2004 (11:17 AM),
Drew said:

You install a new 92% efficient gas furnace. You preset the thermostat to come on only in the morning and in the late afternoons. Your house has limited insulation, many large windows, and two doors without proper weather sealing.
1. How cold will the house be when you arrive home from work?


Ambient temperature – around 50 degrees


How long will it take to reach room temperature?


23 hours. However, it would have been 24 if you had not added insulation.


2. You buy a house without a bathtub. How many baths do you get to take during your first six months in the house?


Not enough. None of your friends were brave enough to bring it to your attention.


How much does a bathroom remodel cost?


Calculate the amount you can reasonably expect from a second mortgage. Double that number. Add 1.


How soon can you start the project?


6 months + 1 month for each Patrick O’Brian novel read during this time + 1 month for each Book Club meeting + 1 month for each Computer Resource job that you refuse to take, but do anyway – 1 month for each Mr. Bill’s Trivia night at Mickey Finn’s.


3a. It is Wednesday. Book group is on Saturday. Brideshead Revisited is 351 pages long, of which you have read seventeen. How many pages remain to be read?


702. You have already forgotten what you read in the first 17 pages and the Brideshead Revisited is such a convoluted novel that each page will have to be read twice.


Will you finish?


Yes. Except for the last 335 pages. However, noone will notice.


3b. You read approximately 50 pages per hour, regardless of the subject matter. How many hours should you schedule to finish Brideshead Revisited?


Calculate number of hours until Book Club. Subtract 3.5 hours for Mr. Bill’s Trivia at Mickey Finn’s Thursday night. (Includes travel time.)


Will you finish?


See above. (You’re repeating yourself. That’s not a good sign.)


3c. You plan to watch two hours of televlision tonight, and tomorrow your sister-in-law flies in for a visit. On Saturday, your brother-in-law flies in. Now will you finish?


Hope springs eternal.

4. The World of Warcraft beta goes live. To play, you must download a 2.42gb install file from the internet. You download 81.5mb during the first hour, but have to surrender your ethernet cable so that actual work can get done. During the second hour, you download 64.9mb over your wireless connection. How long will it take to finish the download?


Bathroom. Book Club. Relatives. Mr. Bill’s Trivia Night. Wife…Unplug the cable and back away slowly. Get yourself into a support group.


What if you switch from wireless to ethernet when you go home at night?


It will make no difference. Kris will know.


5a. You read (audited?) Master and Commander in 13 days. You read Post Captain in 16 days. You read H.M.S. Suprise in 8 days. You read The Mauritius Command in 12 days. How long will it take you to read all twenty books in the series?


16 hours, playing the books at 6x normal audio.


5b. You’re borrowing the O’Brian books from the public library. The library allows you to borrow them for 28 days. (You’re allowed to renew an item if there are no holds on it, but there are always holds on the O’Brian books.) How far in advance must you place a hold so that the next book is ready for you when you finish with the current book?


Your natural life span (assuming that it is shorter than mine). I have all the O’Brian books on reserve and will hold them hostage until either the bathroom is remodeled or you come to Mr. Bill’s Trivia Night, this Thursday 7-10 at Mickey Finn’s.


6. You decide to install two horseshoe pitches in your back yard. A regulation horseshoe pitch is 40 feet from stake to stake. A regulation pitch for women is 27 feet from stake to stake. The only space in which your wife will allow you to place the pitches has an irregular shape, about 28 feet long in one spot and about 34 feet long in the other. How many trees and bushes must you hack in order to create your horseshoe pitches?


None. You will invent a new game that involves a trapezoidal sandbox, horse shoes, and a gerbil. It will sweep the Internet and then go the way of pet rocks.

7. You weigh 200 pounds. Six months ago you weighed 180 pounds. How many calories did you consume during those six months?


I’m taking the 5th.


How many Hostess Sno-Balls is that?


Google: Buffalo Blizzard of ’77


How many hours of bicycling would it take to drop to 180 pounds again?


Google: Lance Armstrong – France


How many Patrick O’Brian novels could you listen to during that time?


All of them. Twice. Then you could dictate the entire series with lively inflection.

On 10 November 2004 (11:23 AM),
Betsy said:

I hate math.

However, I know the answer to the first one, as I also had a big old house with several uninsulated areas. Notice the past tense in the previous sentence…

Depending on the outside temperature (a statistic you cleverly left out), it will take between 1-4 hours for the house to approach room temperature.

If I were you, I’d program the thermostat for a minimum degree for specific times of the day instead…my old thermostat let me specify a temperature for 4 times of the day – I picked 5 am, 8 am (when we’d all be out of the house), 4 pm and 9 pm, and programmed in temperatures accordingly.

On 10 November 2004 (12:04 PM),
al said:

I must insist that you stop referring to yourself as middle-aged. Boo. Hiss.

On 10 November 2004 (12:14 PM),
Amy Jo said:

I concur. We are defintely not midde-aged. We have at least 10 years to go before we hit middle age.

On 10 November 2004 (02:12 PM),
Tiffany said:

The average life span of a white, male living in the US is 73 years old. The average life span of a while female is 79 years old. So, J.d. is not quite mid-age, but pretty dam close.

On 10 November 2004 (03:16 PM),
Mom (Sue) said:

Regarding what you say about being in a period of low self-esteem and self-loathing, maybe it’s an inevitable “mom” reaction, but I feel I have to tell you that you are one of the finest human beings I know. I’m proud to have given birth to you. I feel this way about all three of you boys. As to mid-life, I watched your dad go through it, and we both survived. :-)

On 11 November 2004 (07:08 AM),
Joel said:

Excellent arithmetic, Drew. And delivered with such clarity that none of it needed further explanation, at least to me.

And JD, let me assert that I also think you are a fine human being, and I never regret my decision to carry you to term.

On 11 November 2004 (07:43 AM),
Dana said:

You would be an even better person than you already are if you stopped smoking…

On 11 November 2004 (08:03 AM),
J.D. said:

Here’s a rant re: smoking.

I am an adult. I am an intelligent adult. I was raised in a non-smoking household. When I was a kid, I didn’t know anybody who smoked. For thirty-five years, I’ve been taught about the dangers of smoking. I understand the risks. Any educated person my age knows the risks.

Many people who smoke do so because they made foolish choices as teenagers, choices that led to an addiction. They’re hooked. They try to quit but can’t. This is a problem.

I am not one of these people.

Might I become addicted? Sure. It’s possible. But at present I smoke my pipe — and I never smoke anything but my pipe — maybe one day a week. I like the taste, I enjoy the process, and I especially revel in the camaraderie when I share a smoke with a friend.

I like to smoke my pipe.

It’s a conscious choice, one that I make knowing the inherent risks.

I do not need anyone haranguing me to stop smoking. These admonitions are arrogant and condescending. They presuppose I’m some sort of idiot.

Kris, my loving wife, hasn’t said anything, though I’m sure she disapproves. I believe she recognizes that to scold me would be futile. (Though she’s not afraid to berate me for smoking in the house.)

I appreciate your concern, but please cease your pleas to get me to stop smoking.

You’re wasting your time and annoying the pig.

On 11 November 2004 (08:16 AM),
Lisa said:

All good questions. I often get caught in similar loops, because there really are answers for most of them.

If it’s any help, Brideshead Revisited is faster once you get out of the prologue. That just about killed it for me.

Also, perhaps you should start requiring the use of someone’s bathtub when you visit for dinner.

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