Running the red light due the Doppler Effect

Q: How fast would you have to go in your car to run a red light claiming that it appeared green to you due to the Doppler Effect?

A: Around 1/6 the speed of light

A couple more interesting Physics questions in there. Wonder whether they’ve been featured in the engineering entrance exams.

via xkcd what if: Short Answer Section.

Many Air Passengers Never Turn Off Electronics

No surprises really, and this should also be reasonable evidence that the modern mobile devices are not that harmful to the plane’s systems:

In a study released on Thursday by two industry groups, the Airline Passenger Experience Association and the Consumer Electronics Association, as many as 30 percent of all passengers said they had accidentally left a device on during takeoff or landing. About 67 percent said they had never done this, always ensuring that their electronics were turned off. Four percent were unsure.

In another segment of the study, passengers were asked if they turn their devices to “off” when instructed to do so by the pilot. Although 59 percent of passengers said they do fully turn their electronics off, 21 percent said they often simply switch to “airplane mode,” which disables the main radios of a gadget. Five percent sometimes adhere to the rule. And others were either unsure or do not carry electronic devices on a plane.

via Many Air Passengers Never Turn Off Electronics, Survey Finds –

David Foster Wallace – Commencement Speech at Kenyon University

This makes it the second interesting Kenyon commencement speech that I’ve come across (edited version on WSJ):

This is a standard requirement of US commencement speeches, the deployment of didactic little parable-ish stories. The story [“thing”] turns out to be one of the better, less bullshitty conventions of the genre, but if you’re worried that I plan to present myself here as the wise, older fish explaining what water is to you younger fish, please don’t be. I am not the wise old fish. The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. Stated as an English sentence, of course, this is just a banal platitude, but the fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance, or so I wish to suggest to you on this dry and lovely morning.

The first was of course by Bill Watterson.

via Daring Fireball