GeekDad Puzzle of the Week Solution: Sleepless Camping

Geek Culture

Image: Flickr/Jasonwoodhead23 cc license

Believe it or not, we survived and are recovering from last week’s pop-top camping trip to Santa Fe. I miss the huevos rancheros, but not the camper’s cycling vortex heater. For those of you who missed this week’s puzzle it was this:

The pop-top has a propane heater, set on a thermostat. Only the heater blows like a Boeing 747 test wind tunnel. It’s absolutely impossible to sleep with it on. Then again, it was absolutely impossible to sleep when the temperature got below 40 in the pop-top.

There are 30 degrees of “play” in the pop-top thermostat, meaning that if it’s set at 60, the heater in fact brings the temperature to 70 before letting it decay over the course of 20 minutes until reaching 40, at which point it turns back on and blows for 20 minutes until it reaches 70 again. At 8:00pm, we set the thermostat for 55 degrees and at 6:30am we got out of bed. How much sleep did we get? (And how should we have set the thermostat to get more?)

Many of you pointed out that I should have given the starting temperature. D’oh! And so I accepted correct calculations from any starting point. For example, assuming a 50 degree starting point, we got 4.4 hours; assuming a 65 degree starting point, we got 4 hours, 22 minutes. And to get more sleep, we should have set the thermostat over 60, disallowing the heat from ever getting below the frigid point of 40. (That said, Will checked the weather and pointed out that it was never below 43 in Santa Fe that weekend — I pose that with the added altitude of Hyde Park, it must have been at most 9 degrees, negative 15 with wind chill…)

But the winner of this week’s puzzle, randomly chosen from the correct entries, is Scott, who started at 40 degrees and gave us 4 hours and 16 minutes of sleep. Thanks Scott. I don’t blame you. I blame the heater.

For the rest of us, use the code GEEKDAD44AF to get $10 off a $50 order at ThinkGeek.

Thanks for playing the puzzle! And tune in on Monday when Judd, fresh from Costa Rica, drops another installment.

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