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Thread: walking the block

  1. #1
    Oct 2008

    walking the block

    two men are on opposite corners of a square block with 500feet sides. If they start to walk at the same time with one man walking east at 8ft per second and the other walking west at 3 ft per second at what time (in seconds) are they the closest?

    So the closest they can possibly be is 500 feet and I need to know when that happens.

    I set up the problem originally by just saying 8t-3t = 500

    but this was wrong and when I started looking at the diagram I saw that the original distance could be determined with the Pythagorean theorem such that: 500^2 + 500^2 = 500,000 so that the distance between them equals approx. 707 feet.

    So I am thinking that there may be some way to incorporate the triangle into the proper equation for this problem... but as the men change positions I lose track of how to find the new base of the triangle, I only know that I want the height to be 500 feet.

    Does this seem right? Any hints as to how to make this work?

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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor
    skeeter's Avatar
    Jun 2008
    North Texas
    the two walkers will be closest when they are directly north/south from each other ... the distance they both travel should sum to 500.

    8t + 3t = 500

    t = 500/11 sec
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