Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Laws of Physics Trump Traffic Laws

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the in-this-house-we-obey-the-laws-of-thermodynamics dept.

Math 378

New submitter HeLLFiRe1151 sends this quote from Physics Central: "Here's a practical application for your physics education: using math to successfully beat a traffic ticket in court. Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist based at the University of California San Diego, did just that to avoid paying a fee for (purportedly) running a stop sign. Krioukov not only proved his innocence, but he also posted a paper detailing his argument online (PDF) on the arXiv server."

cancel ×

378 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

I love that conclusion (4, Funny)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#39690513)

As a result of this unfortunate coincidence, the O's perception of reality did not properly re ect reality.

It's too bad that statement cannot be quickly supported in many other cases.

Re:I love that conclusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690547)

It's too bad that statement cannot be quickly supported in many other cases.

Too bad it's all complete bullshit. His acceleration was not constant.

Actually.. (5, Informative)

wanax (46819) | about 2 years ago | (#39690663)

It turns out that humans are really poor at estimating velocity unless they conform to Newtonian accelerations very closely.. While there has been a lot of research on these issues, I'd like to refer to one of my favorite papers, Sverker Runeson's 1975 paper "Constant velocity — Not perceived as such".

http://www.springerlink.com/content/nt61hh074k7123q5/ [springerlink.com]

Re:Actually.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690939)

The great thing? We can be absolutely certain this scientist is not black!

There are a few exceptional blacks that contribute and coexist peacefully with their neighborhoods. The rest of the blacks hate them and call them "uncle tom" because they're "acting white". Black males are about 6% of the population and commit over 50% of murders. They mostly murder other blacks but when they do murder whites Jesse Jackson is oddly quiet.

Most blacks have a "thug" or "gangsta" culture that glorifies violence, drug abuse, abuse of women, racism against whites, incarceration, an ignorant dialect of pidgin English, and the failure to assume paternal responsibility. It is a gutter culture of anti-achievement. The most idiotic of whites embrace it too, like the white kids from nuclear families who grew up in the suburbs and think they're hardass street gangbangers. If you pardon the vernacular they would shit their pants if they wound up in a real ghetto with real gangsters but that is not the point. The point is this gutter culture is not only toxic. It is contagious. It doesn't just infect urban blacks and impressionable white youth. It is the main reason that black-on-black crime happens at a much bigger rate than white-on-black crime during the Jim Crow era.

Most black males will have been incarcerated at least once by the time they are 30 years old. Blacks have a higher rate of obesity than whites or Asians or Hispanics. Their rate of children born out of wedlock (better known as bastards) is twice the rate for whites. They score lower than whites or Asians on IQ tests which makes Liberals come up with flimsy and poorly supported excuses, anything to avoid admitting a real inferiority. Despite blacks having been born and raised in the USA for many generations, they still do not speak proper English with no discernable"accent", something Asian immigrants do within 1-2 generations.

Almost all modern scientific discoveries were made by whites and Asians. Add up all the contributions to society blacks have made. And then subtract from that the costs of political correctness, welfare, affirmative action, lectures and seminars and 'sensitivity training' for diversity, crime including damage done to the victims and court costs and incarceration costs and law enforcement costs, the costs of bussing for black schoolchildren, the decline in property value of homes as black gangs move in, plus the constant media sensationalism about race and the money/energy wasted on it, and the election of Obama.

As a group blacks are a net drain on society. FACT!!

P.S. The real insult is blacks scream for more and more because it's never enough for them instead of being grateful we put up with their net drain status. They are much better off here than they would be in Africa because black-goverened nations always fail horribly and that's just another FACT.

Re:Actually.. (-1, Offtopic)

drkstr1 (2072368) | about 2 years ago | (#39690971)

Someone please set this to -1 so I don't have to scroll past this tripe...

Re:Actually.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691013)

Someone please set this to -1 so I don't have to scroll past this tripe...

Amen brother! Free speech is only for things that are popular. And that's how it should be, dagnabbit!

Re:Actually.. (5, Insightful)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about 2 years ago | (#39691143)

Are you suggesting that the modding system isn't free speech? You're allowed to say it, we're allowed to tell you to eff off, you vile, odious racist.

Re:Actually.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691155)

So moderation on Slashdot is a First Amendment issue? I know I'm feeding a troll but I'm a generous person. Sure, most trolls are seventh-graders getting a kick out of getting someone riled up. Its a phase like prank calling. But I believe there are some trolls that are adults. For these adults trolling may be the only thing in their lives that gives them a sense of influence. Unable to accomplish things we take for granted like social interaction they rely on instigating a response with absurd posts so that they may feel someone, anyone is paying attention to them. So troll, I still care about you. You're special, just like your mom told you.

honestly Officer, (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690517)

Relative to my car, I was travelling at virtually 0 mph!

Partially Blocked View (4, Informative)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | about 2 years ago | (#39690541)

When another car partially blocked the officer's view of Krioukov's car momentarily, the officer could have missed the brief yet crucial timing of his stop. At least, that's Krioukov's version of the case.

Physics explained what the officer saw (or thought he saw) but another car explains what the officer didn't see (Krioukov stopping at the stop sign).

Re:Partially Blocked View (5, Insightful)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#39690591)

We only have his word that he actually stopped. It would be more correct to say that another car explains why there are multiple scenarios explaining what the officer thought he saw. The only way this really relates to traffic (or other) laws is that western law specifically handles multiple scenarios by stating that the burden of proof is on the accuser to show that the scenario they outlined meets a requisite threshold. Physics is not trumping anything, it merely allows one to illustrate in this case some of those alternatives.

Re:Partially Blocked View (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690629)

I swear Judge some where in the multiverse I stopped.

Re:Partially Blocked View (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690743)

by stating that the burden of proof is on the accuser to show that the scenario they outlined meets a requisite threshold

That threshold, in traffic court, is usually just the officer saying so... not actually proving it. So in this case physics effectively trumped SOP.

Re:Partially Blocked View (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690793)

Indeed. I'm sure the officer's face was red after hearing this explanation.

Re:Partially Blocked View (5, Interesting)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#39691303)

Yep. I had a pal I was with that was ticketed for not stopping at a stop sign. When asked how he could have seen my pal's car given that there was a field between them where the weeds were 1 1/2 feet higher than the height of my friends car, the cop's answer was "I don't know, but i did." The ticket was upheld, as that was apparently good enough for the judge.

Re:Partially Blocked View (5, Insightful)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#39690847)

Physics explained what the officer saw (or thought he saw) but another car explains what the officer didn't see (Krioukov stopping at the stop sign).

The officer didn't observe him not stopping at the stop sign. The officer ASSUMED he did not stop based on the state of the car he observed before his was obstructed, and the state of the car he observed after it was no longer obstructed.

The officer should be disciplined for taking that shortcut and citing based on a supposed occurence that were not actually directly observed.

go catch real crooks cops (0)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39690943)

I wish cops would just not pick people on the little tiny things and just let things slide, unless its BLOODY obvious.

But arent traffic cops there in the first place because they stuffed up somewhere else and were given the shit traffic job?

Re:go catch real crooks cops (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691053)

Traffic cop is ultimately one of the most important law enforcement jobs in America. They serve more arrest warrants than anybody else and are the ones most likely to be visible to the population at large. Now, if the officer didn't see the car drive through without stopping, then the ticket shouldn't have been issued.

Re:go catch real crooks cops (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691151)

Ugg... A police force may not be able to stop a "real" crime from occurring or even solve it once it has. But, It could be prevented by making the police in an area more visible. I.E. traffic tickets generate revenue for the police, safer roads for motorists, and deterrence for criminals. There are more benefits if you are willing to disband the mentality that the police are largely out there to waste your time and their own.

Generally speaking, highway patrol and state troopers will always cite you for an infraction. Town and city cops will let things slide depending on your attitude.

Re:go catch real crooks cops (4, Informative)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#39691195)

I wish cops would just not pick people on the little tiny things and just let things slide, unless its BLOODY obvious.

Running a stop sign is not a tiny little thing. If the officer actually observed the complete failure to properly obey the STOP sign, a ticket should have been issued.

Cars failing to stop ARE a safety issue. And if the law was not being vigorously enforced, there are many jerks on the road purposefully ignoring STOP signs or red lights when they feel they can get away with it -- road safety would be much worse.

Lives are saved when people don't run stop signs because they're afraid of getting a ticket.

Re:go catch real crooks cops (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691215)

go catch real crooks cops

There is no money in that unless (the suspicion of) drugs are involved or a big time property tax payer is having a problem that could make that source of funds be curtailed or disappeared. (e.g. rioting at a store that is part of a 'big-box' chain).

Apart from all that is much less revenue generated from assorted traffic violations that are mostly minor or from 'speed traps'.

Re:go catch real crooks cops (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691259)

I wish cops would just not pick people on the little tiny things and just let things slide, unless its BLOODY obvious.

Cops shouldn't let things slide they should just be more certain when they issue a ticket. IE they should not make an assumption about a violation, they should actually witness it (or get testimony from a witness). Ever been driving and wonder if someone on a cross street is going to stop? Unwittingly, many people that roll stop signs slow down cross traffic resulting in delaying when the 'roller' would be able to pull out if they had just stop so everyone knows what they are doing. People who only use their blinker 'when necessary' never see the person they nearly hit because no one knew what the hell they were doing.

Re:Partially Blocked View (4, Insightful)

Essellion (669297) | about 2 years ago | (#39691243)

By his graph, it looks like he's saying that he waited until almost at the stop sign, sneezed and slammed on the brakes, came to a stop of zero duration while obscured behind another car stopped at the stop sign, then gunned it to cross the intersection.

And that the officer totally missed the difference in position between a car that sails through an intersection as opposed to one that both decelerates to a full stop and accelerates fully up to speed over a period of about 3 seconds,

Hmmm. Maybe...

But I'd really like to see this demonstrated. It would make an interesting project. Mythbusters?

I was going to try something similar... (4, Interesting)

damn_registrars (1103043) | about 2 years ago | (#39690545)

Years ago I was pulled over by a cop who claimed I was going 45 in a 30, which I knew to be complete bullshit. I was driving a car that could barely produce 70hp under really great conditions, with 500+ pounds of friends in the car (in addition to my own mass) and had just come to a complete stop and made a right-hand turn less than 100 yards prior. In other words, the cop was claiming that my woefully underpowered car from the 70s was accelerating like a modern Porsche.

He handed me my ticket, and I went to the court hearing at the scheduled time, date, and location. In that county the first meeting is with the DA, you have no option to see a judge that day no matter how much you ask for it. That county was over an hour's drive from work, a place I had never visited prior to the date of the offense. The DA made me an offer; take a plea bargain - which would not be reported to my insurance so long as I was not ticketed in their county again for a year (and carrier a lesser fine) - or come back at a later date to plea my case before a judge.

I decided my time was worth more than that, and took the plea. I could have taken the second hearing to plead my case before a judge, but the amount it cost me to drive there and back, plus time taken off of work, was likely more than the small fine I paid them that day.

That said, congrats to the professor for so handily showing the error in the cop's measurement without making them look like a baboon.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690575)

The cops should have to pull you over when they think you've done something (like speeding) to get your name and other information. Then they should be forced to hand over video evidence if you committing whatever offense they claimed you committed, and if found to be true, a ticket would then be sent to you. If they couldn't prove it, nothing would happen.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (2)

jd (1658) | about 2 years ago | (#39690659)

Asking them to hand over video evidence is a little unfair (the cop would be spending the day burning CDs) but they should be compelled to show that there is evidence and not simply an opinion. Actually, the ideal would be to ban all opinion-based and eyewitness testimony from courtrooms.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690693)

the cop would be spending the day burning CDs

I was under the impression that most cop cars had some sort of camera in them, anyway.

but they should be compelled to show that there is evidence

But that's the problem. There are few things that are greater evidence than video. I can't think of a lot of other types of evidence they could possibly present.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (3, Insightful)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690801)

Cry me a river. Tell them to be big girls, and cough up some objective evidence.

Tired of this constant bullsh*t in traffic court.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#39690863)

Asking them to hand over video evidence is a little unfair (the cop would be spending the day burning CDs) but they should be compelled to show that there is evidence and not simply an opinion.

They can use the printer in their car and hand you a sheet with the Youtube link to your ticketable offense.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#39690877)

No, they'd spend 15s a day pushing the timestamp button, which each time would automatically attach the previous 30s of video to the electronic record for the citation.

Just because something would be time consuming to do with the *current* equipment doesn't mean that it would be time consuming with *proper* equipment.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (2)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#39690929)

Not quite unfair.

For one, the government is supposed to bear the burden of proof anyway.
And second, any expense in either materials or labor could just be included in the fine that is issued later.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690881)

Erm I mean that sounds good and all but it doesn't take very much thinking to figure out why what you said doesn't work. But you know that, you just wanted to sound like you're smart and have figured out something that the stupid authority couldn't think of.

JUDGE by SKYPE (1, Interesting)

cheekyboy (598084) | about 2 years ago | (#39691037)

I want to see a future, where you immediately, go online with the cop to a live judge via skype on the ipad, so that there and then can decide if the cop is wrong, then the cop is to pay a fine.

I tell you, the whole justice system , plus the education system and the medical system needs a complete overhaul redesign and be 100% wireless.

Its way overdue for teachers to be obsolete, except helping the 'challenged' few, s burn those text books, put all courses online and exams online, and marking online, what a teachers for again? Keeping the peace? taking roll calls?

Re:JUDGE by SKYPE (4, Insightful)

DarwinSurvivor (1752106) | about 2 years ago | (#39691267)

Its way overdue for teachers to be obsolete, except helping the 'challenged' few, s burn those text books, put all courses online and exams online, and marking online, what a teachers for again? Keeping the peace? taking roll calls?

Making sure YOU took the test.

Re:JUDGE by SKYPE (3, Interesting)

hjf (703092) | about 2 years ago | (#39691291)

Its way overdue for teachers to be obsolete, except helping the 'challenged' few, s burn those text books, put all courses online and exams online, and marking online, what a teachers for again? Keeping the peace? taking roll calls?

not sure if sarcasm, or real. But I'll bite.

Teachers are there to keep our sanity. Humans need social interaction. Physical interaction. Playing, meeting with other kids outside their neighborhood. Something a screen can't do. Regardless of anecdotic comments of random, anonymous slashdotters.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (4, Interesting)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 years ago | (#39690717)

In other words, the cop was claiming that my woefully underpowered car from the 70s was accelerating like a modern Porsche.

I had a similar situation where I was stopped going 80 on the freeway. The problem was my Saturn couldn't have accelerated to 80 from the ramp. I presented the mathematical formula to the judge and the officer, showing that there was no way my car could do what he was claiming. They didn't care. I got the ticket anyway.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690845)

You should have appealed to the newspaper. A headline of "xxx Court claims to be Above the Laws of Physics" would have been entertaining.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (4, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#39690937)

Which just proves that in many cases tickets are more of a revenue source than they are an enforcement mechanism.

Also the reason why they like to screw with yellow lights to make it harder to stop in time.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (2)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about 2 years ago | (#39691055)

In my country the green light starts to blink a few seconds before yellow turns on and I start to brake when it does if I see that I won't make it to the intersection before the yellow light.

Also, the law is that if you are too close to the intersection (so you would need to slam on the brakes to stop before the line as opposed to stopping gradually), you can go even if the light already switched to yellow.

Tried it. (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | about 2 years ago | (#39690721)

I once used physics to argue that a speeding ticket I received was bogus. I explained that even if I was traveling at the speed the officer claimed (unlikely in the underpowered subcompact I was driving, since I'd just gotten on the freeway), he could not have caught up with me and paced me at that speed in that short distance. I also suggested that a more likely explanation for the ticket was a bumper sticker which identified me as gay, and the fact that I was leaving a (peaceful) civil rights demonstration. (This was in the Midwest, in the 90s.) I was still found guilty, but the full fine and points on my license were not assessed.

Re:Tried it. (2)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690809)

Wonderous. Proving once again that the US legal system is above the laws of physics.

Would you happen to have the name of said Judge who committed this gaff?

Re:Tried it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691325)

Fucking faggot. Good to know the government extracted out of a second class citizen like you.

inb4 you must be religious. I'm not. You're just a fag.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (3, Interesting)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#39690861)

I decided my time was worth more than that, and took the plea. I could have taken the second hearing to plead my case before a judge, but the amount it cost me to drive there and back, plus time taken off of work, was likely more than the small fine I paid them that day.

What should happen is the county should be required to fairly compensate you for your lost time, driving costs for both trips, and inconvenience (Including the inconvenience of having been pulled over), if you are found not guilty.

A portion of that should come from the officer's salary / annual bonus. Maybe then they would be more careful about making sure a crime was actually committed before stopping a vehicle and issuing a ticket.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691175)

Good luck with your liberal fantasy world; Where government is the cause of and solution to all of your problems.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (5, Funny)

bhcompy (1877290) | about 2 years ago | (#39691019)

I successfully tried something similar(explaining my way out of a ticket, not math). Cop pulled me over for a busted taillight, then cited me for driving without a seatbelt because I had undone my seatbelt to get my wallet prior to the officer arriving at my window. Thing is, my car(72 Chevelle) had the most annoying seatbelt warning buzzer in the world and it does not go off automatically after a short duration(like modern cars). I explained what I did to the officer, who didn't believe me, so I asked the officer to put the car in gear and tell me if they can drive with the buzzer from hell buzzing at them in its constant high-pitched whine. Cop relented, gave me my fixit ticket, and let me on my way.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (3, Insightful)

awall222 (1276148) | about 2 years ago | (#39691235)

I did the same thing with my seatbelt once. The officer told me "I have no proof you were wearing a seatbelt; I didn't see you wearing one." Apparently he didn't need proof I wasn't... I wasted a day getting it thrown out in court.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691341)

My dad was pulled over once and there were about seven things he could have been fined for. The officer said he would only write one ticket. So my dad asks whethr he can choose which one. The officer says ok. So my dad says: just give me the cheapest one.

Not all cops are looking for ways to screw you...

Re:I was going to try something similar... (2)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#39691061)

I faced something similar except with no ticket. I was driving on a washboard street near my home. If you did more than 20 mph it would tear the undercarriage from your car yet they claimed I was speeding, which was impossible. Turns out there was a drug bust in a nearby apartment and they wanted an excuse to search my vehicle. I was sit on a curb with my hands on my head while they searched my car. They couldn't find anything so I was let go without even a ticket. Sometimes these traffic stops are an excuse to search your car in hopes of finding something more interesting. If they don't ticket you there's nothing to fight so they get away with a blatant breech of the law. It's sad that they feel they need to stop as many cars as possible in hopes of finding something more serious to charge you with.

Re:I was going to try something similar... (1)

flibbidyfloo (451053) | about 2 years ago | (#39691145)

I had a similar situation where I was pulled over for supposedly doing 50 in a 35 zone. The problem was, it was on a surface street during rush hour, and if anyone there was going over 30 at the time it would have been a miracle (or a flying car). The judge didn't care, and it was the cop's word against mine, so of course I lost.

Quick summary of TFA (1)

bryan1945 (301828) | about 2 years ago | (#39690549)

The cop had an obstructed view of his car by a car in front of his, he braked very hard, stopped briefly, and then started again. He then used fancy graphs with the judge. Cool, but according to him he didn't actually break any laws. F'n TFS.

Re:Quick summary of TFA (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690741)

tl;dr: Bullshitter claims his $10k Toyota Yaris has better breaking and acceleration than a $60k sports car; court fails to realize that if bullshitter's car were capable of accelerating that fast, then he's guilty of a more expensive ticket for gunning it from the stop sign (display of acceleration is usually a larger fine than running a stop sign).

Also, I'm pretty sure most places have a minimum prescribed stopping time. Bullshitter's graphs do not have ANY stop time.

Re:Quick summary of TFA (3, Informative)

jeremy85mai (2520912) | about 2 years ago | (#39690835)

TL;DR TL;DR: Throw numbers at people who don't understand what the numbers mean, and you can convince anyone of anything

Re:Quick summary of TFA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691041)

Except they where not in court for an excessive speed demonstration. That would be changing the subject and since courts are logical they don't fall for that logical fallacy.

Just say obstructed view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690561)

The math is wonderful but if you just ask the officer when he's (or she) on the witness stand: "was your view obstructed in any way" and they say "yes" or "partially" you say "I move to dismiss based on lack of evidence." Math not needed.

Re:Just say obstructed view (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690853)

Probably sufficient cause for dismissal.

However, if the court had countered with some math of its own:
The constant speed transit would appear symmetric on either side of the stop sign.
Unless our math nerd has a heavy right foot and a nice car capable of 1g acceleration (10m/s2), his profile would be decidedly asymmetrical on either side of the stop sign, which would be clearly discernible even if the view of the stop sign were obstructed.
Math nerd got lucky.

Big Bang (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690569)

Are you sure this isn't a plot line the Big Bang Sitcom?

Re:Big Bang (4, Insightful)

BeaverCleaver (673164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690775)

Are you sure this isn't a plot line the Big Bang Sitcom?

No. This story is vaguely interesting.

Re:Big Bang (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690857)

TBB's storyline is not. And the characters are fucking gay.. My 2 cents

April Fools (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690573)

The article was posted on April 1. (Need I say any more?) See the discussion on the PhysicsBuzz blog for details.

http://physicsbuzz.physicscentral.com/2012/04/physicist-uses-math-to-beat-traffic.html

No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sign". (1)

rush,overlord,rush! (1995452) | about 2 years ago | (#39690579)

Because I knew accurately what my momentum was.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 2 years ago | (#39690603)

The vast majority of stop signs are stupid and should be replaced with yield signs.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (4, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | about 2 years ago | (#39690709)

I always get stuck trying to figure out why the triangle has so many sides. It does gives me something to do while I wait for it to turn green.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690731)

So's your mom.

Sorry, but when some says that something is "stupid", I immediately revert to childish taunts to fit in.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (4, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | about 2 years ago | (#39690785)

Agreed. You guys over in the States put Stop signs at almost every intersection. Was surprising to me as an Australian the first time I drove over there ... in AU we tend to put stop signs only on the occasional intersection where the view of potential oncoming traffic is obstructed for some reason (e.g. there's a tall hedge along the side of the road until just before the intersection). But in the absence of any such obstructions, the ubiquitous Give Way (equivalent to US Yield) sign is used instead.

This, in combination with the considerably lower speed limits in suburban/residential areas, makes getting around suburbia in the US a lot slower than I was used to.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690817)

Thank you.

Re:No, you don't know if I was "running a stop sig (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 years ago | (#39691117)

Because I knew accurately what my momentum was.

Liar. Just by observing it, you have altered it. Unless your car is made of some bizarre substance that changes its mass in reference to the velocity change you initiated by looking at the speedometer and trying to figure out where you are at the same time.

Kudos to the Prof. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690589)

I blogged about this earlier today. http://www.ginosopinion.com/opinionblog/?p=834
When I was in electronics school I heard a story about a person with a radar certification that the court would recognize as an expert because of it. He went to court and started talking about radar cross sectional area and angle of refraction of the waves and he got out of the speeding ticket.
The teacher who knew him asked if he was actually speeding and he said of course I was speeding.
You have to like his paper title "The Proof of Innocence". LOL
Gino.

Re:Kudos to the Prof. (1)

chasisaac (893152) | about 2 years ago | (#39691111)

This is why you never ever ask for a jury trial on speeding ticket. The jury will toss everything out and find you guilty of speeding. USe the judge and the law to get out of the ticket.

Don't mess with physicists! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690627)

My father was a physicist, and expert witness for automobile accidents (the fees he earned paid for our ski cabin in Breckenridge, Colorado). He also NEVER had to pay a traffic fine for speeding, or other such. Why? Because he was able to prove that the technology used was fatally flawed, and that the speeds measured, in the situations specified, were scientifically impossible! He was able to beat both radar and lidar (laser) speed detectors used to measure his speed. Myself (an engineer), whenever I have contested a ticket for speeding, have been exonerated because the accusing officer did not appear in court. Gotta wonder... :-)

Re:Don't mess with physicists! (4, Funny)

lightknight (213164) | about 2 years ago | (#39690831)

Remind me to do that the next time we are in court.

"lightknight, you've been accused of speeding. How do you plead?"

"Your honour, let's talk firmware. I will show you, as a Computer Scientist, in hexadecimal, where the error in the code of that radar device exists."

"Case dismissed. Now, can you help us with our printer? It keeps printing blank pages."

This is an April Fool joke (5, Informative)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#39690631)

http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.0162 [arxiv.org]

The Proof of Innocence
Dmitri Krioukov
(Submitted on 1 Apr 2012)
  A way to fight your traffic tickets. The paper was awarded a special prize of $400 that the author did not have to pay to the state of California.

If you think this really happened, find a citation for the case that doesn't end up back at this same article.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690677)

Dmitri Krioukov here. It happened. Here's my citation.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690687)

It's a physics problem. There are several errors and he challenges the readers to point them out.

April fools twice in 1 year on /. .... great.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690771)

Soulskill is killing the soul of Slashdot with his choice of submissions.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691189)

News for nerds? Nope, this has zero relevance to me, and I'm a nerd.

Stuff that matters? Hardly.

Cute story that happens to be 'sciency'? Yep.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 2 years ago | (#39690919)

If you think this really happened, find a citation for the case that doesn't end up back at this same article.

The article is a citation; and it's not particularly newsworthy that someone successfully beat charges of running a stop sign, it's not surprising that there would be one article referring to it.

You have really shown no evidence that it was actually an April Fools joke. Until you go pull the public records, and find nothing, however, there is no reason to doubt the author's account on the matter.

And since when do people in the US submit April fools jokes at April 1, 4:00 AM GMT ?

In North America, San Diego, that's still a March 31 submission.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691123)

Without even having read the argument, as a California resident, I can say it must be an April fool's joke.

The traffic courts here are not interested in hearing these kinds of arguments. If you cannot prove your innocence in a non-complicated way that takes less than 10 seconds to explain, they are set up to find you guilty regardless of what you say or write.

The state is bankrupt and the traffic courts are just extortion mills.

Re:This is an April Fool joke (4, Insightful)

spd_rcr (537511) | about 2 years ago | (#39691047)

I tried to argue a reckless driving ticket using math and physics when I was younger. I was in the right and proved it conclusively based on the officers statement, but the back-woods judge just changed the charge to a misdemeanor and fined me anyhow for "anything you might have done in my county". When I asked about appealing his decision, the judge pointed out that it would cost $300 and him being the only judge, he'd probably say the same thing next time. If the court's looking to collect some money, the court's going to collect that money one way or another.

Gravity and breasts (5, Funny)

romit_icarus (613431) | about 2 years ago | (#39690665)

Nothing new, I say. I've often seen traffic laws being trumped by nothing less than a generous show of cleavage, which always seemed to defy at least one of the physics laws, namely gravity.

Re:Gravity and breasts (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690799)

I've tried that, but I guess my man-boobs aren't generous enough.

Re:Gravity and breasts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691327)

I've tried that, but I guess my man-boobs aren't generous enough.

Try shaving them first...

Not physics but good law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39690763)

Looking at this and reading between the lines the issue and the reason he got let off has nothing to do with the main thrust of his physics analysis.

1/ He was charged only with not stopping at a stop sign.

2/ The officer did not contradict his statement that at the time he allegedly ran the stop sign the officers view was obstructed.

Therefore the officer cited someone for an offence he could not have observed directly, Case dismissed.

If the officer had also added a charge of careless driving for pulling through a stop sign wile not being able to see approaching traffic, as would seem he should have done from the evidence presented by the defendant.

Then his own evidence of the officers obstructed view would have convicted him on this second count, while exonerating him on the first.

I suspect that if the obstructing vehicle existed as recorded in evidence, then the officer was really trying to cite that other vehicle and the defendant was just in the way of his pursuit and so was just a convenient patsy.

If of course the other vehicle was not even there or did not obstruct then perhaps he got off due to a lapse of memory by the officer, combined with a lack of in-car video recording.

Two counter examples (3, Interesting)

tipo159 (1151047) | about 2 years ago | (#39690777)

a) a physicist professor (postdoc, well-known in his field worldwide) at my university was ticketed for speeding based on a radar gun reading. In court, he presented an analysis that showed that a radar gun reading would be inaccurate under the conditions where used. The judge determined that the analysis was irrelevant and fined the prof.

b) I was involved in an automobile accident. I was cited for running into the other car. A physicist friend of mine and I put together an analysis based on physics that showed that the other car had to have run into my car. It was pretty cool because it so closely matched what happened (physics works!). However, my insurance company, the prosecutor and my attorney all dismissed the analysis as irrelevant.

Re:Two counter examples (0)

6ULDV8 (226100) | about 2 years ago | (#39690807)

Probably less irrelevant than inconvenient.

Re:Two counter examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691043)

How the hell could that possibly be irrelevant when it dealt directly with the case at hand!?

Good stuff... (1)

cshark (673578) | about 2 years ago | (#39690921)

That you don't need to be right, as long as you can explain whatever it is you're explaining in a technical way. I know very few judges that are going to be capable of following this kind of math, especially with some of the wild assumptions he comes up with in the paper. He's intentionally talking over their heads. He could be measuring the diameter and deceleration of a cream puff going to the moon for all they know. Well played.

Utter Sophistry (3, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 2 years ago | (#39690931)

This argument is a shameless piece of sophistry.

It's central argument is "I did stop; a car just passed in front of me and you didn't see.". This is then expanded into 4 pages of unnecessary and probably disingenuous over-analysis.

The entire argument breaks down in FIG 5. Leaving aside this nonsense of measuring angular speed(The human brain interpolates just fine), the author compares two curves in which the equated angular speeds of the car do not translate into the same linear speed. Indeed, at the occlusion point at t~1.5 s, the car corressponding to the blue curve would be travelling at 15m/s, verses the car at constant 8m/s that it is being compared to.

And this is even before we begin talking about how the author is really comparing a car at constant speed to one which reverses back into the stop sign and then drives forward.

I think this kind of thing is described as "sophomoric", and in that that word describes a second year student who is full of their own knowledge with no concept of their own ignorance, I would have to label it as such. The cop was right, pay your ticket Mr. Krioukov, and don't darken the door of the maths department for a very long time.

Re:Utter Sophistry (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691203)

The author does not describe a car that reverses back into the stop sign. Look at the graphs. The angular velocity is always positive or zero.

His first sentence in the intro (1, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | about 2 years ago | (#39690959)

"It is widely known that an observer measuring the speed of an object passing by, measures not its actual linear velocity by the angular one."

I would have found him guilty based on that sentence alone and fined him for gratuitous use of a comma and a blatant misspelling.

Re:His first sentence in the intro (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691239)

You mean the fact that he missed one comma after "observer" right? :)

Re:His first sentence in the intro (1)

treeves (963993) | about 2 years ago | (#39691313)

Misspelling? "By" instead of "but"? Wrong word, not misspelling.

Reminds me of something in my teens (5, Interesting)

Grayhand (2610049) | about 2 years ago | (#39690987)

I was always into photography and this was the 70s. My father got ticketed for parking on a cross walk in our small town around midnight. It was the dead of winter and snow covered all the streets. He wanted to fight it so I photographed the place in the middle of the day showing how thoroughly the snow covered the streets making it impossible to see the cross walks. The judge took one look at the photos and motioned for the cop to approach the bench where he chewed him out for wasting his time on such a ridiculous case. It is possible to fight tickets with evidence but so rarely do people have evidence to fight them with.

Re:Reminds me of something in my teens (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691245)

This is the problem with guilty until proven innocent.

what are CA intersection laws? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691025)

This argument seems moot if, as in most states, only one car is allowed in the intersection at a time when a stop sign is involved. Also, what of the 'California roll' that doesn't require a full stop?

I tried this once.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691029)

Using the officer observed motion of the car compressing the front suspension (dipping) and then springing back to prove forward momentum had stopped for a very short time.

The asst. prosecutor didn't understand physics, so we argued about what springing back meant. Then the judge hit me with every fee she could. Apparently she didn't appreciate having to actually hear something other than the usual litany of lame excuses.

Quantum Physics trumps everything (4, Funny)

CanEHdian (1098955) | about 2 years ago | (#39691075)

"But officer, since I didn't observe the stop sign, it was both there and not there at the same time. It was there after YOU observed it, but by that time I was already gone!"

Me Too! (4, Interesting)

Tourney3p0 (772619) | about 2 years ago | (#39691091)

Something similar happened to me my freshman year of college. I had an 8am EF exam the following day, so I was up late studying for it. Around 1am or so, my calculator batteries died. I was just about ready to go to bed after studying one or two more problems, so I was quite unhappy about having to go out to get new batteries.

Speed limit on the main street between myself and the nearest 24-hr convenience store half a mile away was 45 (I know, I should have walked. But all I wanted was to get it over with so I could sleep). I got pulled over for "drag racing" even though the streets were entirely empty other than myself and a cop waiting on a side road. To be fair, I was getting up to speed limit as quickly as possible so I could get it over with. But I was also "paced" at 60, which means he did not clock me but instead estimated my speed based on speeding up to catch up to me after turning off his side street. He included the streets where all this happened, so this gave me all the distances between incidences that I needed.

I used simple integrals to show the velocity/position relationship, along with the factory specifications of my car. End result is that the judge said he had no idea at all what I was talking about, and the ticket was dismissed because "it sounded right".

That seem a rather complicated way (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 years ago | (#39691191)

of arguing "I did stop, but the officer's view was obstructed by another vehicle and hence he couldn't have seen whether I did or did not" and having the officer agree that his view was obstructed.

Way too few sources! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39691301)

That paper has way too few (0) sources to be taken seriously! Sue that bastard! ;)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>