Commenter Of The Day: Plimpton 322 Edition

If you ever want to feel like you've accomplished little in your life just look back at what the Babylonians were doing with algebra about 4,000 years ago. While most of us lean on calculators to do the advanced number crunching, Babylonians were putting together things like Plimpton 322. It's a table from about 1800 BC with a series of numbers and solutions that may be Pythagorean triples or maybe something even more complex. And it's written in clay tablet form, which leaves little room for error. There have been a lot of discussions about the fiery Connecticut cop crash, but we have Torreys71004 to thank for bringing some math into the conversation.

Alright... with all the speculation about who is at fault and "pig" should have stopped and "drunk" shouldn't have turned, I would like to offer a little scientific insight into the matter. Also, names have been changed to protect the guilty/innocent.

94mph = 138ft/sec
40mph = 59ft/sec

Looking at the video, it appears that the "drunk" started his turn at about 24 sec and the "pig" t-boned said "drunk" at about 27 sec. This means that approximately 3 seconds elapsed. For my calculations, I am going to assume 2.5sec elapsed.

This means that "pig" covered 344ft from the time "drunk" started his turn to the time "drunk was hit (2.5sec).

If "pig" would have be traveling at the posted speed limit (40mph), "pig would have covered 148ft in this same time frame (2.5sec)

With simple subtraction we find that "pig" covered an additional 196ft that would not have been covered if "pig" would have been traveling 40mph.

Now that we have the difference we can equate that to time. By dividing 196ft by 59ft/sec (the speed "pig" should have been traveling) we get 3.3sec.

What all this means is that if "pig would have been traveling 40mph instead of 94mph, "drunk would have had an additional 3.3sec to complete his turn. A total of 5.8sec vs. 2.5sec.

So in conclusion, "drunk" started the turn in plenty of time under normal conditions. However, due to conditions, "drunks" drunkenness, "pigs" piggyness, and darkness, all are contributing factors in a perfect storm of idiocy. But, 3.3 sec is a lot of time to lose when crossing an intersection.


And like a clay tablet, it's often very hard to edit a Jalopnik comment.

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