Friday, January 20, 2012

Ever Heard of Horsepower?

I've written before about the stupid questions submitted to Parade magazine's celebrity column, but genius-columnist Marilyn vos Savant gets her share, too. Last Saturday's column featured a letter from a reader who must have trouble functioning within this thing we call reality:

My husband says that a light fixture with six 60-watt bulbs is as bright as a fixture with one 360-watt bulb. To me, this is like saying that if you harness together six horses, each of which can run 40 miles per hour, the team could run 240 miles per hour.
Aaaagh! Where did this person go to school? Do you even have to go to school to understand something like this? Just a tiny bit of basic logic makes her question absurd. She has the power to make an analogy, but no ability to think about what it means.

Juxtaposed photos of a single harness-racing horse with a single rider and a team of six pulling a large wagon with two men on it
I don't know... maybe it has something to with how much weight the horses can pull (i.e., the work they can do)?


Michael Leddy said...

This logic reminds me of the Honeymooners episode in which Ralph tells Norton to turn up the temperature so the rice will cook in "twice the time."

Ms Sparrow said...

I read that in an orchestra, it would take six string basses to double the sound of a single bass. It would seem that the same principal would apply to the light bulbs. By that same logic, it would take six of me to be twice as intelligent as I am--that sounds about right!