Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yet another reason to take physics

Consider Mr. Will Foreman in Prince George County, VA.

Five times and counting before three different judges, the Prince George’s County business owner has used a computer and a calculation to cast reasonable doubt on the reliability of the soulless traffic enforcers.
It seems this fellow is successfully challenging the speeding tickets he's collected by using the traffic photos to make his case. When the automatic speeding/photo machine reacts, it take two photos. So,

For each ticket, Mr. Foreman digitally superimposed the two photos - taken 0.363 seconds apart from a stationary point, according to an Optotraffic time stamp - creating a single photo with two images of the vehicle.

Using the vehicle’s length as a frame of reference, Mr. Foreman then measured its distance traveled in the elapsed time, allowing him to calculate the vehicle’s speed. In every case, he said, the vehicle was not traveling fast enough to get a ticket.

See! Physics is good for something useful in the real world.