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#1 Latsabb

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:58 AM

I think that we have all seen the "What is 2 x 5 x 6 + 1 x 0" type questions, where it is proved that the bulk of the population has no idea what the order of operations are. (The answer is not 0, for any of those wondering, lol) However, I have been having more fun with this one:

You have two cars that are driving from a house to a town, and then back. (Both cars go to the same town, and back to the same house)

Car A is driving a constant 50 mph to the town, and back from the town, with no stops.

Car B drives at a constant 40 mph to the town, and then a constant 60 mph back, with no stops.

The town is 100 miles away, making the whole trip 200 miles. (100 there, and 100 back)

Which car makes it to the town and back first? And how long does it take each car to make the journey?

Edit: Note that this is NOT a trick question. I am not wording anything to be sneaky.

Edited by Latsabb, 10 April 2013 - 01:59 AM.

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#2 SynystrAssassin

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:02 AM

About the same, right?

Edited by SynystrAssassin, 10 April 2013 - 02:02 AM.


#3 SilentButDeadly

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:04 AM

Same. 4 hours.

Edited by SilentButDeadly, 10 April 2013 - 02:05 AM.

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#4 Latsabb

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:04 AM

Give the times taken, and a general idea of how you came to that answer, if you would.
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#5 andrewthewookie

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:04 AM

I know, but rather than give it away, let's see what everyone else thinks. Eh, what the hell.

Car B
100/40 = 2.5 hours there
100/60 = 1.6 hours back
= 4.1 hours total trip time

Car A

200/50 = 4 hours total trip time

Edited by andrewthewookie, 10 April 2013 - 02:07 AM.

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#6 SilentButDeadly

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:07 AM

Too complicated ^

Both cars average 50mph over the whole trip. 200mi/50mph=4 hours
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#7 Latsabb

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:08 AM

Bah, Andrew, you buzz kill, lol. But yes, he is correct. A constant speed actually gets you somewhere faster than an average speed that matches someone elses constant speed.

I was reminded of it earlier this week, and have been messing with people at work and school with it.

Edited by Latsabb, 10 April 2013 - 02:12 AM.

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#8 SynystrAssassin

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:08 AM

Car B
100/40 = 2.5 hours there
100/60 = 1.6 hours back
= 4.1 hours total trip time

Car A

200/50 = 4 hours total trip time


^How I did it




#9 andrewthewookie

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:17 AM

Bah, Andrew, you buzz kill, lol.

Gladly. :P

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#10 Latsabb

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:20 AM

The sad part is that there is a 3rd year EE student that actually argued it until I made him write down the math, lol. Most people do, dont get me wrong, but I didnt expect someone with that level of math and physics to protest it.
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#11 andrewthewookie

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 02:21 AM

Too complicated ^

Both cars average 50mph over the whole trip. 200mi/50mph=4 hours

Let's look at an extreme example. Let's say car B traveled at 10 mph on the way there, and 90 mph on the way back. Simply getting halfway would take 10 hours. The average of 10 and 90 is still 50, but that just goes to show you cannot take the average speed and use it to find travel time.

A graph to put things in perspective:

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Edited by andrewthewookie, 10 April 2013 - 02:58 AM.

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#12 stinkfingr

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 09:27 AM

The sad part is that there is a 3rd year EE student that actually argued it until I made him write down the math, lol. Most people do, dont get me wrong, but I didnt expect someone with that level of math and physics to protest it.

lol .. this sort of response from a student may come as a surprise to someone in Norway, but here in 'murica, i see and deal with educated idiots on a daily basis. the good news is that your EE student was able to not only find and see his mistake, but to learn from it. over here there are some real boneheads that are so stubborn, they would refuse to even attempt to find the real answer if they are challenged, and simply walk you off.

#13 Old Dude PB

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

A constant speed actually gets you somewhere faster than an average speed that matches someone elses constant speed.


Of course, Car B's average speed is not 50, because it doesn't travel at 60 and 40 for the same amount of time. That's the tricky piece. 50 is the average of its two speeds, but not its average speed.

#14 Antonious

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:33 PM


Car B
100/40 = 2.5 hours there
100/60 = 1.6 hours back
= 4.1 hours total trip time

Car A

200/50 = 4 hours total trip time


^How I did it


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#15 cockerpunk

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:35 PM

i do this type of calculation on the treadmill to pass the time when working out.

even if you average a good speed, how you do it matters greatly.
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#16 SilentButDeadly

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Posted 10 April 2013 - 01:55 PM

If you contemplated this question for more than 5 seconds, then you've put way more effort into it than I did ;)
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