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Sunday, July 23, 2006

Herb the Scientist

As always, the sky is the limit!
It's better to drive under the speed limit.
I have had a lot of people over the years tell me that they get mad at people driving slow or not the speed limit. "There is no reason not to drive at least the speed limit". I can hear them say this. All of them also say that they drive even faster than the posted speed limit.

Since I am also a scientist as well as a teacher, I offer them a valid reason. You can save on gas and you only gain a few seconds going the speed limit. I've told a lot of folks that I usually drive 60 mph to Lufkin. All of them looked shocked. Hey I'm not in a hurry and with the results you can see I'm not getting there that much later than all of the lead-foots out there.

So over the last week I have drove to Lufkin two times. Being a scientist, I decided to prove my theory.

I picked a fix point. At both ends. Going to Lufkin from Nacogdoches is about 12.3 miles. Coming back it is about the same 12.4 miles.

I drove with the windows down and I remained at the constant rate. I also wasn't going to break the speed limit, so when I was testing 70 mph , I drove 60 mph when the speed limit decreased.

Here is my data:
70 mph - 10 minutes 55 seconds - Going to Nacogdoches
60 mph - 13 minutes 12 seconds - Going to Lufkin
50 mph - 15 minutes 04 seconds - Going to Lufkin

If you go 60 mph instead of 70 you save 2 minutes and 17 seconds.
If you go 50 mph instead of 70 you save 4 minutes and 9 seconds.
If you go 50 mph instead of 60 you save 2 minutes and 16 seconds.

So there you go. You can save a whopping two minutes and change if you go the speed limit instead of 60 mph.

I wish I could do something about the cell phone drivers. All I can say and offer is the advice that my driving training teacher told me that has saved my life many times over.

"Everyone on the road is brain dead, so you have to think for them". Because I'm thinking for everyone, I don't have time to talk on the cell when I drive. The captain suggest that you don't either.

What I do, whenever I see someone talking on the cell phone while driving, is give them a sad look. That'll teach them. Hey if you all did this, I bet we could end cell phone talking and driving. Man your life and my life is in your hands, so pay attention when you're driving or don't drive!

Hey I'm not on the cell when I'm on the Enterprise and there is a lot less things to hit up there!

I hope the next time someone tells me there's no reason to do something, they can prove it.

My screen play is going great. I can't wait to post it. Check back next week.

And smile, life is a great ride. Hang on and keep it real!

1 comment:

Patrick O'Shea said...


Good observations. There is only one fly in the ointment to your driving under the speed limit theory:

Automobiles are designed to perform optimally at certain speed ranges, and the transmissions are geared in such a way that the engine can operate at a low RPM rate at these desired speeds. If you go 60 instead of 70, you are probably saving a measurable amount of gas. BUT, if you were to go slowly enough to require the transmission to downshift (maybe 45?), you would then run the engine at a higher RPM rate and use more gas, not less.

So, you're right, but the logic cannot be extended to ever lower speeds.

As for cell phones, 90% of all cell phone conversations go like this:

"I am at Point A and in X minutes I will be at Point B. I will see you then."

I'm not sure that, as a society, we need such frequent and detailed updates of the whereabouts of our friends and acquaintances.

I really like having a cell phone, especially when I travel, but I really don't use it that much. As technology increases (video conferencing, cell phones, IM, etc.), I find myself increasingly drawn to meeting and speaking with people in person, face to face. Technology will probably never be able to replace the experience of interacting with other human beings in person - particularly for the observant.




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