The ride was a super blah again today. A long 40 km of flat, some rolling hills and a short climb. A couple of rest stops along the way and some side / tail winds in the afternoon. Nothing much to talk about really. Except that as we were having b’fast, a nice chap, Gabriel, chatted with us for a while in the morning and on his way out paid for our b’fast! Nice!
On days like these, I suppose I zone out and the little guy in my head starts noticing things. Turns out the little guy is an uber geek. Huh, like that’s a surprise. So here’s a couple of things that ran thro my head as I rode along…
1. Conspiracy theory On Baja road builders:
I have found out, with no doubt that the road engineers of Baja are optimization experts. And not generic, they specialize in continuous optimization. Let me support the theory.
Look at the map. Observe the roads. See the pattern? No? Well, the roads are pretty much straight lines with minor bends in them. See? After each bend, the road generally tends to be shorter than the previous stretch. See? See what that looks like? It’s the obvious search path of an opt routine. I can be more specific, these guys are partial to log barrier technique.
What they essentially did was to spot the destination (approximately) and stepped forward in a straight line. After a while, they re-spotted the destination, made appropriate change in “direction” and stepped for a while. Slightly shorter since they are closer to the destination. As they hit really close to the town, they make many more turns and short roads. Luckily for us, they are working in the real world and we reach the actual spot, instead of a spot within acceptable accuracy.
Now if these guys had been partial to simplex method instead, I’d have had a really wonderful ride on the coast :-p (the solution will be your homework)
2. On power transmission
See it was an absolutely boring day today and I had to find ways to amuse myself. So The little guy measured the distance between HV transmission towers. After sampling may be 50 or so random pairs, I figured it’s an average of 400m. Min seems to be about 350 and max, about 450)
I was also thinking about the electricity market here. Is is nationalised? How do they manage the power systems, I wonder. Maybe they borrow the tools from USA, which is pretty messed up. May be an opportunity for an auction based electricity market eh :-p
I guess I might stay away from “real world” work these days, but the little guy keeps working these things out. The damn data slut.
Route: Santa Rita to La Paz -76 Km
Distance: 81 Km
Ascent: 545 m
Descent: 485 m
Expenses: $ 13.30
Comment: Days when I get to think…