08 April 2015

My Surreal Life

We woke up to a thunderstorm this morning, and Brynning has been sitting at the table counting seconds between flashes and rumbles.  He kept asking what x was divided by 5, (division being still a work in progress).  Apparently current childhood lore holds that one calculates the distance to the storm by counting the seconds between flash and rumble, then dividing the result by five for the number of miles.

Now, when I was a child, I was taught that the number of seconds equals the number of miles, no division required.  Having explained this, I was just about to say "Let's google it and find out which is right" when my husband announced "Let's derive it.  We know the speed of sound, so we should be able to figure it out."  And then proceeded to sit down and do just that.

What makes this even more surreal is, that every scientist who reads this is probably thinking "Of course; that makes perfect sense" and not even realizing how totally bizarre that is.  Because the speed of sound (or light, for that matter) is not something that the average person just knows off the top of his head, let alone how to "derive" the answer to the previous question.

P.S. The Mad Scientist has concluded that dividing the number of seconds by five is essentially correct.