### Why?

I travel a lot these days. I've gotten to be quite a pro at navigating TSA security checkpoints, remaining calm throughout the entire boarding process, being productive on flights, etc. But one annoying thing that seems to happen more often than not is that my gate seems to always be as far as possible from the security checkpoint. This happened again yesterday on the way out of Toronto International. Here's a pictorial guide to my thought process:

"Okay, I cleared security with no problems. Thank you Canada for not subjecting me to a full-body scan. Let's see, my flight is out of F32. Sweet! First gate!"

"Weeee! I'm walking at an incredible rate on this conveyor belt! Free Canadian airport wireless, here I come."

"Wait. What? Srsly?!"

Of course, it could be that this happens only half of the time and that the above sequence only gets recorded by my brain. That combined with confirmation bias. But it seriously feels like no matter where I come out of the security line that my gate is the furthest possible distance away. I should start recording data. We need some data!

Code name: 1% said…
OH my goodness, I have long had a working (and untested) hypothesis in this direction. Not quite a data point, but perhaps some weak corroborating evidence better applied to layover situations than first entry through security: many airports cluster together regional destinations, such that all of the flights to airports in Louisiana are located at the dead end of terminal F, and the flights to eastern Texas are right next to those, etc. And who the heck is going to fly between Lafayette and Baton Rouge with a layover in Memphis? As such, your next gate is at least a little further away. Seriously, though, I've never flown through Detroit without having to go to another terminal through that funny-lighted subterranean walkway. How do they manage to arrange that?
Sheila said…
In policy school (GSPP) several years ago we discussed this. You are not imagining that airlines have preferred to park their planes at the terminal terminal gates. Two reasons: 1. faster parking for the planes. 2. arriving passengers have to walk further, and thus take longer before they wait for their baggage- thus reducing their perceived time at the baggage carousal.

### On the Height of J.J. Barea

Dallas Mavericks point guard J.J. Barea standing between two very tall people (from: Picassa user photoasisphoto).

Congrats to the Dallas Mavericks, who beat the Miami Heat tonight in game six to win the NBA championship.

Okay, with that out of the way, just how tall is the busy-footed Maverick point guard J.J. Barea? He's listed as 6-foot on NBA.com, but no one, not even the sports casters, believes that he can possibly be that tall. He looks like a super-fast Hobbit out there. But could that just be relative scaling, with him standing next to a bunch of extremely tall people? People on Yahoo! Answers think so---I know because I've been Google searching "J.J. Barea Height" for the past 15 minutes.

So I decided to find a photo and settle the issue once and for all.

I then used the basketball as my metric. Wikipedia states that an NBA basketball is 29.5 inches in circumfe…

### Finding Blissful Clarity by Tuning Out

It's been a minute since I've posted here. My last post was back in April, so it has actually been something like 193,000 minutes, but I like how the kids say "it's been a minute," so I'll stick with that.
As I've said before, I use this space to work out the truths in my life. Writing is a valuable way of taking the non-linear jumble of thoughts in my head and linearizing them by putting them down on the page. In short, writing helps me figure things out. However, logical thinking is not the only way of knowing the world. Another way is to recognize, listen to, and trust one's emotions. Yes, emotions are important for figuring things out.
Back in April, when I last posted here, my emotions were largely characterized by fear, sadness, anger, frustration, confusion and despair. I say largely, because this is what I was feeling on large scales; the world outside of my immediate influence. On smaller scales, where my wife, children and friends reside, I…

### The Force is strong with this one...

Last night we were reviewing multiplication tables with Owen. The family fired off doublets of numbers and Owen confidently multiplied away. In the middle of the review Owen stopped and said, "I noticed something. 2 times 2 is 4. If you subtract 1 it's 3. That's equal to taking 2 and adding 1, and then taking 2 and subtracting 1, and multiplying. So 1 times 3 is 2 times 2 minus 1."

I have to admit, that I didn't quite get it at first. I asked him to repeat with another number and he did with six: "6 times 6 is 36. 36 minus 1 is 35. That's the same as 6-1 times 6+1, which is 35."

Ummmmm....wait. Huh? Lemme see...oh. OH! WOW! Owen figured out

x^2 - 1 = (x - 1) (x +1)

So $6 \times 8 = 7 \times 7 - 1 = (7-1) (7+1) = 48$. That's actually pretty handy!

You can see it in the image above. Look at the elements perpendicular to the diagonal. There's 48 bracketing 49, 35 bracketing 36, etc... After a bit more thought we…