A question of speed.

I’ve been trying out Wolfram Alpha to see what all it can do. A few of its many tricks include calculating time differences, date intervals and tip calculations. It wasn’t until I threw it some questions about driving when I fully realized what this amazing tool can do.

For some time now I’ve been curious how long it takes to drive a mile at certain speeds. I know for sure it takes one minute to drive one mile at 60mph, but what about 65mph? Or 70mph? Surely there must be some formula to calculate this but I’m not that proficient in math.

I was delighted to see that Wolfram Alpha can do these speed calculations as well. All I had to do was type in “How long does it take to go one mile at 65mph?” and a few seconds later it reported that it would take 55.38 seconds. Then I continued the calculations, increasing the speed to observe the time it takes to travel one mile at that speed. Needless to say, I did these calculations only to satisfy my curiosity and not out of planning on doing some excessive speeding anytime soon.

70 mph – 51.43 seconds
80 mph – 45 seconds
90 mph – 40 seconds
100 mph – 36 seconds
110 mph – 32.73 seconds
120 mph – 30 seconds
130 mph – 27.69 seconds
140 mph – 25.71 seconds
150 mph – 24 seconds
160 mph – 22.5 seconds
170 mph – 21.18 seconds
180 mph – 20 seconds
190 mph – 18.95 seconds
200 mph – 18 seconds

Interesting. Then I decided to take the speeds up to insane levels.

300 mph – 12 seconds
400 mph – 9 seconds
500 mph – 7.2 seconds
600 mph – 6 seconds

I had to stop right there. I only need 6 seconds to go one mile at 600 mph? Imagine having a car that can go that fast. Imagine also how much the speeding ticket would be if the cops can even catch you first.

Then I wondered how long it would take me to drive 28 miles to work each day at 600 mph. The response: 2.8 minutes. Unreal.

Then I asked Wolfram Alpha, “Where can I find a car that can go 600 mph?” The response: “Wolfram|Alpha doesn’t understand your query”.

So in other words, Wolfram Alpha may be able to do sophisticated calculations from plain English inquiries but it doesn’t know squat about high-speed cars. I’ll keep that in mind.

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