Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Life is Short Indeed

March 7, 2012 2 comments

Life is shorter than I had originally imagined. That’s not because of any differences in the average life expectancy, but because of our perception of time. It looks like Albert Einstein was right… time is relative.

The above figure shows how the average life span for most parts of the world is increasing every year. From this figure, you can assume that if you’re blessed with good health, and this trend continues, our generation will be able to live until we’re at least 80 years old right? But is that 80 years really going to feel like 80 years? Probably not, because as almost any grown-up can tell you, your perception of time accelerates as you age. Let me elaborate…

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The Hidden Symmetry Behind Elevator Etiquette

January 24, 2012 6 comments

As humans, we tend to respect each others’ personal space to the extent that we take actions to optimize it. We see this every day in public bathroom stalls and urinals. For instance, if there are five stalls/urinals, and they’re numbered in order [1,2,3,4,5], the order in which they fill up is usually 1->5->3->x->x or 5->1->3->x->x. We even find humor when a person is out of touch with this natural law of optimized personal space. This image, for example, has been floating around the internet for some time now and is called ‘Bad Urinal Etiquette’:

But what about elevators? Does the Law of Optimal Personal Space (LOOPS) apply here as well? I live on the 17th floor of a high-rise building and work downtown on the 23rd floor of an office building and have observed, over a very large sample space of data, that this law does indeed hold with great symmetry. Let me break down the elevator geometry here:

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