Stan and Dave, two linemen with Hinterland Electric, are driving to a service call way out in Wearami, located right off the interstate and almost exactly 50 miles from the Hinterland service center. It’s a beautiful spring morning and the two men have been yakking. Seeing the highway sign stating that they are 25 miles from Wearami, the driver, Stan, suddenly realizes that he’s been puttering along at about 35 mph. “Omigosh,” he exclaims to Dave, “We’re going to be late. Mike is going to ask why we weren’t traveling around 70 mph, the interstate speed limit! He always times us!” The foreman, Mike, was a former math teacher at the now defunct Everfog Community College and carefully kept metrics of his crew’s performance.
Now, to be fair to Stan, the condition of most of the company’s vehicles was so poor that the crews were used to driving cautiously. But this truck was one of the newer ones with new tires and a powerful V8 so that excuse wouldn’t work.
“Give me a second while I grab a pad of paper out of the glovebox and do some calculations,” Dave said, ”I’ll figure out how fast you need to drive for the rest of the trip to have an average speed of at least 70 mph. In the meantime, there’s no traffic so go as fast as you dare.” Dave enjoyed math and, in fact, had been a student of Mike’s at Everfog. “Mike will be proud of me!” he smiled to himself.
But Dave was still scribbling on his pad when the truck rolled up to the outage in Wearami. And sure enough there was Mike, standing next to the downed pole and glaring at the arriving men.
When Dave told Mike what he had tried to do, the foreman just stared hard at him and said “You idiot. Shoulda flunked you when I had the chance!” and stomped away.
What is the answer to Dave’s math problem?
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