Saturday, September 13, 2008

Making "Math" Mistakes With A Calculator

This would almost be funny if people weren't really getting tickets because of this officer's mistake:

The Herald reported last week that a Traffic Warden was incorrectly ticketing cars in a Devon, England parking lot because of how he was using a calculator. In this parking lot, drivers would pay for a certain amount of time and then post a slip in the windshield with the time they’d entered and how long they’d paid for. One driver, for example, entered at 2:49pm and paid for 75 minutes.

Now 75 minutes is 1 hour, 15 minutes so the driver was covered until 4:04pm. But the Traffic Warden figured out the expiration time by entering in 14.49 into his calculator (for 1449 military time, which corresponds to 2:49pm) and adding on 0.75 (for the 75 minutes). He got 15.24, which he interpreted as meaning that the driver was only covered until 3:24pm. Since it was already 3:41pm, he issued the car a ticket. The car owner saw all this and tried to explain the error — that hours have 60 minutes, not 100, so standard decimal addition doesn’t apply — but the Traffic Warden didn’t see any problem and continued to ticket cars.


Wow. I remember figuring that out--the calculator/clock issue--by myself in 5th grade. Seriously.

11 comments:

Kelvin Oliver said...

Interesting story you have posted. I kind of get military time or time that goes beyond the 12 hr standard as we have it. I did send you an e-mail to the Yahoo screen name that is listed...

Fritz J. said...

Oh but Darren, 5th grade math is really really hard for adults. Haven't you ever watched "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

Scott McCall said...

did his 5th grade school have a budget set by the state?

Clearly not

Darren said...

Not quite sure what you mean, Scott. I have no idea if he went to a publicly-funded/government school or not.

DADvocate said...

Obviously, we need a metric equivalent for time.

Scott McCall said...

im poking fun of how california can't pass a budget....so all the schools are getting hurt

Darren said...

Did you notice this event did not take place in California, or even the US?

Scott McCall said...

jokes, darren....jokes....

....they don't have to be set at the same place

Anonymous said...

You mean to say that units matter?

Dan

Darren said...

Just like in college--or on the pay scale.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if we imposed radian measure on time . . .

Dan