A Great Ad

My sons and I love a clever ad. Seth sent this one to me.

This is a product of The Richards Group, the same team that gave the world the Chick-fil-A cow. No surprises here!.


Of Unladen Sparrows and Peanut M&Ms

I know that this blog is read by scientists and engineers, so I’m hopeful of some kind of answer to the question on my mind this afternoon.

And this probably reveals more about my idle mind than anything else.

Let us suppose that an unnamed man is traveling northbound on a still day in a van with the windows rolled down. Let us further suppose that he is traveling at 60 MPH and eating from a bag of Peanut M&Ms. And let us suppose, hypothetically, of course, that this man decides to throw one M&M out the window at a right angle to the direction of travel. And for argument’s sake, let us say that he throws the M&M at a speed of 30 MPH.

Given that the average mass of a peanut M&M is 2.5 grams (I happen to be in possession of the very bag from which the subject M&M was extracted – don’t ask how), what would the path of this M&M look like if traced along the ground?

For a time, as the M&M is in the man’s hand, it will trace a straight line parallel to the road. I understand that once thrown and until the M&M leaves the van, it will trace a curve of some kind. But I assume that all of that changes once it hits the air moving alongside the van.

But does it go immediately backwards (tests have suggested that this is not the case)? Does it continue on the same curve it began while still in the van? Is the curve violently altered by the wind?

I suspect that the exact path would be effected by the shape of the van and the consequent air turbulence immediately alongside the van. I’m hoping that is inconsequential to the final picture and can be ignored.

These are the questions which puzzle my mind.

Weird. I know.

The Costs of ‘Charity’

I am sitting at an outside table at a Starbucks overlooking one of the busiest intersections in our city.

“Working” this intersection are several people who purport to be collecting money designated for care to the homeless. Each red light cycle, they stream through the stopped cars with their flyers and buckets soliciting contributions.

Such means of raising funds has always bothered me. What am I supposed to say when someone puts a bucket in front of me when I leave Walmart and they say, “Would you like to help crippled kids?” “No” just doesn’t seem like the right answer to such a question. “Not now” seems softer, but it masks my true answer, which is, “I’m not giving you anything.”

The leader of this crew retreated to the shade of an umbrella on the porch near me here to handle a couple of cell phone calls. I don’t intentionally eavesdrop, but she did nothing to keep the call quiet. What I learned was that each of the workers gets to keep 35% of what his bucket contains.

Not a bad gig, I suppose. If in an hour I collect $100 for the homeless, $35 goes into my own pocket.

The moral of the story for me is to keep refusing to help crippled kids, as awful as that looks, and to direct my giving to known and reputable agencies.