Archive for the ‘units length’ Category


Math Joke 3:How long will it take you to grow a really bad 70s-styles haircut?

February 18, 2019

1 Mathspig 1980s hair

2 Hair follicle

The follicle diagram (above) came from bgoffforensics blog. More on hair growth rates here.


3 Mathspig how old is your hair!!!!

How long to grow that really bad 70s style hair cut?

The length of Fabio’s hair (below) is approx 50cm.

t = 50/1.25 months

t=40 months          

t = 3 Years 4 months!!!!

Is it worth the effort? Ha!

4 Mathspig 1970s celebrity hair

QUESTION 2: 5 MAthspig world's Longest Dreads

The growth rates of 1.25 cm/month or 0.5 inches/month are rounded off. Calculations using these growth rates will produce different answers for very large numbers (as above). Read more about the above story in the Daily Mail, UK here. By the way, Asha has been growing her hair for 25 years. Her hair weighs 3 stone or 19 kg. You can find more hair records including the World’s longest ear hair here.


6 Mathspig Natasha's hair

Natasha lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Read more about Natasha in the Daily Mail here. Once again Mathspig has rounded off the length of hair for easy calculation. The Daily Mail puts Natasha’s ‘mane’ at 5 feet 2 inches or 157 cm. This is the length of hair to be cut off. So Mathspig adjusted the length to 180cm or the approx length of her longest hair.


1. You can duck a bullet

January 15, 2019

You will find all the ballistics stats you need here:


2.You can out run a fireball?

January 14, 2019

In nearly every Action Movie our hero possibly holding hands with his love interest will run and jump ( just in time ) out of the way of explosion. eg. Man on Fire (2004) with Denzel Washington, The Marine (2006) with John Triton, Mad MAX FURY ROAD (2015) with Charlize Theron and Predator 2 (1990) with Danny Glover .

We will use car bomb stats that come from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (We in Australia can only assume this bureau exists because, um , there are many exploding cigars in America.) You will find these at Car Bomb Response.



5. You can jump out of an airplane that is about to crash and catch the baddie who took the last parachute.

January 10, 2019

 The names Bond, James Bond. In Moonraker  with Roger Moore (1979) 007 jumps out of a plane without a parachute to avoid an assassination attempt. He catches up with, Jaws, arch-baddie, in mid-air and takes his parachute. Jaws survives his fall by landing on a big top circus tent.

In Point Break with FBI agent Johnny Utah, Keanu Reeves, leaps from a skydiving plane after Patrick Swayzes’ characer, Bohdi, who has taken the last parachute. Utah catches Bohdi in mid-air, and after a tense confrontation with a gun, both survive using Bodhi’s chute. The remake was in 2015.

There are more movie and real life stories at the  Free Fall Maths link.

Note: We’ll assume Bhodi and Utah have equal horizontal velocities (plane exit velocity plus wind) so the following calculations only involve the vertical or falling velocity. The terminal velocities used for Bhodi and Utah are realistic estimates. 


7. You can safely jump from a burning skyscraper/bridge/aircraft into water.

December 13, 2018

Angels and Demons (2009) Tom Hanks character, Robert Langdon, hero of Dan Brown’s jumps from a helicopter and falls thousands of feet into Rome’s Tiber River and survives, of course.

Ahhhh! Look up. It’s raining Tom Hanks!!!!!The Hulk (2003) The Hulk hops from the Golden Gate bridge onto a jet fighter, whose pilot tries to get rid of him at high altitude. The Hulk falls off and plummets many thousands of feet into the bay. He survives.

There are 2 factors we must consider when jumping or diving from a great height:

1. Surface Impact

2.Water depth 

1. Surface Impact

According to the Free Fall website falling into water is not a good survival strategy. 

‘Someone falling without a parachute from more than 2,000 feet or so would be falling quite a bit faster than 100 miles per hour (161 kph) The folks who have survived falls into water have had streaming parachutes above them, which probably slowed their falls to the 60 mph range (97 kph). Having a streaming parachute helps in another way because it aligns the body in a position where the feet enter the water first.’

The website goes on to explain that water is an INCOMPRESSIBLE FLUID. It’s like landing on concrete. Landing in mud, on snow, on trees, on circus tents etc helps break the fall. Moreover, jumping off a bridge into turbulent sea may be safer than jumping into calm water.

On 24th Oct 1930, Vincent Kelly, 31, while working on the Sydney Harbour Bridge fell 170 ft (52 m) into Sydney Harbour and survived.

A champion diver he did several summersaults and landed feet first. He broke a couple of ribs as he did not enter the water at a perfect RIGHT ANGLE but rather a few degrees off perpendicular..

2. Water Depth

The next issue is, if you are going to dive or jump into water from a great height and, miraculously, survive the impact, how deep should the water  be?

Olympic divers often practice their dives in a bubble pools (like a spa). This reduces the impact for a bad dive but the water must be much deeper. Sports Smart Canada recommends a water depth of double the height of the drop. But is this realistic if, say, you are jumping or diving from the top of a waterfall into aerated water.

You can work out approximate depths needed if you were jumping into calm water from heights such as below:

How deep do you plunge? The answer is surprising because, in fact, you decelerate really fast in water.

See REd Bull Jump Science here

Thanks to Rod Vance  for the Fluid Engineering Calcs (done by hand … not by computer program) for calculating the depth of water when your feet stop moving. That is the minimum depth of water needed for the jump (See graph below)

NOTE: Even with this fancy maths assumptions must be made about the transition epoch-half in/half out of the water.

 Assuming you survive the impact and you breath out through your nose – to stop water going up your nostrils really fast- then you will not go any deeper than approx 4 m or 13 ft from a platform of 20 m (65 ft) or less.

If you’re diving into water from, say, a helicopter as in the Demons & Angels movie you don’t need extremely deep water. Assume Langdon was at 100m (328 ft) or the height of The Statue of Liberty(above) or a 33 story building  when he jumped, then extrapolating the graph (above), maybe, a depth of 5m (16 ft) would do.

If you want to see what looking down from a 58.8 m (193 ft) platform looks like check out thisWorld Record Jump by Laso Schaller.


Winter Olympics: Beaten by 0.001 seconds

February 14, 2018


In 2014 Winter Olympics Annette Gerristen (below) lost the Gold Medal in the 1000 m Women’s speed skate competition by 0.02 seconds.

Annette Gerritsen fromthe Netherlands

Annette Gerritsen fromthe Netherlands

What are the speed skating times for women?

Women’s Speed Skating Calulations:

Here are the speed calcs for Yara Van Kerkhof of the Netherlands in the 2018 Winter Olympics:

If Yara lost the Gold Medal by 0.02 secs (2 hundredths of a second) what would the distance be between the Gold and Silver place getters?

When 1st and 2nd place are separated by 0.02 seconds, they are travelling at almost the same speed. So the second place contestant is:

23.8 cm behind the Gold Medalist

The 2018 Olympic Gold Medalist in the 500m Women’s Speed Skating was Arianna Fontana.

Italy’s Arianna Fontana wins the 500 m Speed Skating 2018 Olympic Gold Medal in 42.569 seconds ahead of Yara van Kerkhof of the Netherlands and Kim Boutin of Canada. 

Men’s Speed Skating:

At longer distances the men’s speed skating speed is similar to the women’s speed above.

If you lose by  0.001 secs…………

Apollo Ono (below) competed in the 1500m men’s speed skating. He has won 8 Olympic Medals.

If a speed skater lost the Gold Medal by 0.001 seconds, the smallest measured time segment at the Olympics, they would be:

1.19 cm

behind the winner. That is less than the length of a small fingernail.


Hello 2018 This is why you need maths!

December 30, 2017

Hello Little Munchins,


Maths can save your life. How? Read on.


Sadly, a car has been used as a weapon again in my city, Melbourne. 


When talking to science types about the Maths of a Car Used as a Weapon they say ‘Yeah! Right! As if you are going to stand around doing the maths when a car is heading towards you!!!!.’……………………


You don’t do the maths in a crisis. You do it before hand. And it will change your view of car safety for all time.


Maths of a Car Used as a Weapon 

If you are 9 m away from a car travelling at 60 kph, you DO NOT have time to move out of the way. 

Some survival tips at the above link.


Maths of a Car Used as a Weapon

If you are  28  ft away from a car travelling at 35 mph you do not have time to move out of the way.

Some survival tips at the above link.

Stay safe in 2018.