Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Physics Cannot Save Man From Speeding Fine

Boy, would I had loved to be a fly on the wall of this courtroom. I'd like to hear exactly how this guy used Newton's 3rd law, or all things, to get out of the speeding ticket.

In a lengthy and complex speech in which Johnstone used the laws of physics and Newton's third law to explain his point, he questioned the accuracy of the speed camera arguing that when it had been installed that day the static box in which it was housed had not been checked.

He said the camera instructions stated that to work correctly it needed to be positioned at an angle of 20 degrees but that measurements he had taken showed that the housing had moved and this was not the case.

Too bad the reporter can't be any more explicit on the nature of the argument. It could have been rather utterly fascinating for someone like me, or completely hysterical that I could not stop giggling. Either way, I wouldn't have been bored, I don't think.



Marcus Aurelius said...

That would have been fascinating.

Once a friend of mine sent me a "paper" (well I sure it was once written upon paper) on how one can derive the speed of light from The Holy Qur'ran.

I went through it and it was so much a pinch of bat dried gizzards (yes, I know bats have not gizzards) and a dollop of red squirrel dung. I did a units analysis and found out after all of the Shakespearean witches brew was done the units came out all wrong.

Quite obviously the paper was begging the question (at best).

Marcus Aurelius said...

I read the article.

I guess the defense would have been I sneezed behind me and propelled my bike 1mph more to being over the limit. His better arguments (agreed, not we can really tell what his real argument was) would have been more based on the accuracy & precision of the measuring device. Perhaps better yet, would be to introduce actual data on actual speeds along that stretch of road.

The article makes it appear that he was over by 1mph which is a ridiculous reason to issue a citation.

M. Bell said...

That's interesting. I would have never thought of using physics that way. I guess it goes to show you how math may be the universal language, but physics explains it.