Search found 28 matches

by SuperSteve
Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:33 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"
Replies: 157
Views: 50258

Re: What-If 0145: "Fire From Moonlight"

I'm still confused a bit here as to why you wouldn't be able to take, say, 5 ideal convex lenses refracting different points of the moon's reflection and overlap their outputs to get a theoretical max of 500 degrees. It seems to violate the basic thermodynamics argument presented (the cumulative to...
by SuperSteve
Sun Mar 29, 2015 2:25 am UTC
Forum: Serious Business
Topic: Should we change the national anthem?
Replies: 115
Views: 31973

Re: Should we change the national anthem?

Do Americans not have to sing their national anthem in school? That surprises me. I must say, I did always find it odd that you have an anthem that's so hard to sing. Up to about age 10, we said the Pledge of Allegiance (prose, "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America a...
by SuperSteve
Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:15 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0133: "Flagpole"
Replies: 70
Views: 21430

Re: What-If 0133: "Flagpole"

Did he calculate the strength of a flagpole? I'm not so sure that the drawing showing the person falling with the arms left behind on the flagpole is right. I think it's possible you might just tear the flagpole off the building. Either way, you're going to die, but the reasoning may be faulty.
by SuperSteve
Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:05 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0120: "Alternate Universe What Ifs"
Replies: 94
Views: 38511

Re: What-If 0120: "Alternate Universe What Ifs"

Yeah, but while we could assume some uniformity in the speed of the harvesters, it's very unlikely that humans' running speeds would be so uniform. Unless the harvester is just intentionally tracking at twice (whatever speed the runner tops out at,) I don't think you'd get such a consistent trend. ...
by SuperSteve
Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:58 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"
Replies: 51
Views: 19465

Re: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"

Melting seems Energy Expensive. What about MOVING? California is in what Bostonians might call "A Wicked Drought". Would it be more energy efficient to send the Snow or Ice to California? As a bonus, the snow would surely melt on the way there! It's the whole "most efficient way of t...
by SuperSteve
Sat Feb 21, 2015 9:50 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"
Replies: 51
Views: 19465

Re: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"

Melting seems Energy Expensive. What about MOVING? California is in what Bostonians might call "A Wicked Drought". Would it be more energy efficient to send the Snow or Ice to California? As a bonus, the snow would surely melt on the way there! It's the whole "most efficient way of t...
by SuperSteve
Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:23 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"
Replies: 51
Views: 19465

Re: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"

What if all the cars were equipped the same? You don't need to give each car the ability to melt very much snow. Instead, each car just needs to melt the snow that landed during the few seconds after the previous car drove over the same section of road. The energy requirement that was calculated for...
by SuperSteve
Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:17 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"
Replies: 51
Views: 19465

Re: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"

He's unfortunately got the power output of a carrier nuclear reactor wrong. The A4W plant on a carrier produces 550 megawatts of power, and each carrier has two. So to provide the energy for the snow-melter contraption, he would only need one carrier, and only slightly over one of those reactors (s...
by SuperSteve
Sat Feb 21, 2015 5:13 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"
Replies: 51
Views: 19465

Re: What-If 0130: "Snow Removal"

Hi Matt! Haven't seen you on here in a while! I'm glad I decided not to make the topic, so you could do it. Could you collect and compact snow as you go so it's easier to deal with? Or compress it until the pressure melts it? No. It weighs too much to collect it. The car would not be able to move. ...
by SuperSteve
Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:48 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0126: "Stairs"
Replies: 67
Views: 23068

Re: What-If 0126: "Stairs"

"If you made an elevator that would go to space (like the one you mentioned in the billion-story building) and built a staircase up..." you wouldn't need to carry the butter up with you on the stairs. You could send it up on the elevator. And you wouldn't need to rely on butter. Since you ...
by SuperSteve
Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:44 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"
Replies: 60
Views: 31486

Re: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"

So, it used to be "Tuesdays: New What If?s!", which then sorta morphed into What If? Wednesday... Are we up to "What If? Whenever" now? Maybe the book tour turned into a road tour? I know, I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth, complain about free ice cream, etc., but it wo...
by SuperSteve
Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:42 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"
Replies: 60
Views: 31486

Re: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"

Do the hydrogen and oxygen atoms suddenly get more mass when they bond to form water? 'Cuz if not then bringing them separated and then bonding them there wouldn't make a bit of difference. I think the proposal was to use atoms that are already on the moon, so you wouldn't be "bringing them&qu...
by SuperSteve
Sun Jan 11, 2015 4:37 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"
Replies: 60
Views: 31486

Re: What-If 0124: "Lunar Swimming"

Water is liquid only in a fairly narrow temperature range, which is rarely found on the moon. According to coolcosmos.ipac.caltech.edu "The temperature on the Moon varies from -387 Fahrenheit (-233 Celsius), at night, to 253 Fahrenheit (123 Celsius) during the day." During the day, the wat...
by SuperSteve
Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:12 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"
Replies: 151
Views: 78662

Re: What-If 0108: "Expensive Shoebox"

In discussion on this website of What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit", user Locathah wrote: "I'm almost certain that by weight, the most valuable thing that's ever been sold on the open market is a human egg cell" and claimed a price of $10,000. Estimates for the size of an egg...
by SuperSteve
Sun Aug 17, 2014 9:02 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 17459

Re: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

I'm almost certain that by weight, the most valuable thing that's ever been sold on the open market is a human egg cell. Price: Up to $10,000 Hmmm... The world population is 7,234,000. About 3,617,000 of them are women. About 1 million oocytes per ovary. About $10,000 per oocyte. Giving a totoal oo...
by SuperSteve
Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:36 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0100: "WWII Films"
Replies: 43
Views: 29235

Re: What-If 0100: "WWII Films"

Per Wikipedia: "Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) was a war waged by coalition forces from 34 nations led by the United States against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait." That's just six weeks. If we count television broadcasts as movies...
by SuperSteve
Sun May 18, 2014 5:30 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"
Replies: 65
Views: 17459

Re: What-If 0096: "$2 Undecillion Lawsuit"

I think he is off by a factor of 1,000 in the calculation of the value of all the humans on the planet. There are about 7 billion of us, and at $8.7 million a pop, we'd be worth a total of $60 quadrillion, not $60 trillion. I wonder if this changes the answer for whether we are worth more than the ...
by SuperSteve
Wed Apr 30, 2014 5:08 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0094: "Billion-Story Building"
Replies: 106
Views: 24138

Re: What-if #0094: Billion-Story Building

for a starter, anything above geosync orbit would have negative gravity, and since that includes most of it, it would be torn off it's foundations. and i don't even want to think of the forces involved if it wasn't built at the equator. (well, a pole would maybe be the most benign place in this reg...
by SuperSteve
Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:51 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0091: "Faucet Power"
Replies: 36
Views: 10156

Re: What-If 0091: Faucet Power

There is no "city of Manhattan". Manhattan, KS There is no "city of Manhattan" consistent with the numbers in the article. It said "a bathtub faucet provides enough drinking water to sustain about 10,000 people indefinitely. In other words, the city of Manhattan could survi...
by SuperSteve
Wed Apr 09, 2014 5:11 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0091: "Faucet Power"
Replies: 36
Views: 10156

Re: What-If 0091: Faucet Power

There is no "city of Manhattan" with a large enough population to use the water from 150 bathtubs with 10,000 residents per bathtub. That works out to a population of 1.5 million. The only Manhattan that large is a borough in the City of New York. It used to be its own city, but that was o...
by SuperSteve
Sun Apr 06, 2014 4:25 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0090: "Great Tree, Great Axe"
Replies: 55
Views: 10980

Re: What-If 0090: "Great Tree, Great Axe"

I think fire axes are much more of a US thing - I don't recall ever seeing one in the UK, although they may exist. So while I suspect 5:1 to 50:1 is true in the US, I reckon much higher in some other parts of the world. For example, I'm in a city right now of, say, 100,000 people, and the only axes...
by SuperSteve
Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:32 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0025: "Three Wise Men"
Replies: 90
Views: 26267

Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

Why did Randall use December 25th as the birth date of Jesus? That's just when his birth is celebrated. It's common knowledge that his birth was somewhere in the spring or summer. Kind of off topic, but I was always glad watching BTTF that the last date Doc Brown typed into the DeLorean before Mart...
by SuperSteve
Thu Apr 03, 2014 5:24 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0025: "Three Wise Men"
Replies: 90
Views: 26267

Re: What-If 0025: Three Wise Men

I suppose the star/whatever they followed would have to have suddenly appeared over Bethlehem, maintained geosynchronous orbit, and then disappeared after the wise men arrived. OR, the star only appeared for the one night (that of Jesus' birth) and was geosynchronous (or thereabouts) for that one n...
by SuperSteve
Tue Apr 01, 2014 6:36 am UTC
Forum: Individual XKCD Comic Threads
Topic: 1349: "Shouldn't Be Hard"
Replies: 22
Views: 9178

Re: 1349: "Shouldn't Be Hard"

He wouldn't be able to use a blowtorch against a laptop computer continuously for six hours. Even if the silicon microchips withstood it, the plastic case would turn into toxic smoke.

:!: WARNING: Do not use blowtorches to destroy laptop computers. Serious injury or death may result.
by SuperSteve
Thu Mar 27, 2014 5:22 am UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0089: "Tungsten Countertop"
Replies: 77
Views: 20836

Re: What-If 0089: "Tungsten Countertop"

Before it melts, vaporizes, etc., it will glow. We know this is what it does when it gets hot, because it has been used for filaments in incandescent light bulbs. This raises a bizarre point. To conserve electricity, the U.S. government has prohibited incandescent lighting over a certain wattage. Do...
by SuperSteve
Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:41 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0071: "Stirring Tea"
Replies: 71
Views: 36619

Re: What-If 0071: "Stirring Tea"

(Note: Pushing almost-boiling water to boiling takes a large burst of extra energy on top of what's required to heat it to the boiling point—this is called the enthalpy of vaporization.) I don't think this is right. As I understand it, the enthalpy of vaporization is the heat that would be required...
by SuperSteve
Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:30 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-If 0086: "Far-Traveling Objects"
Replies: 45
Views: 11297

Re: What-If 0086: "Far-Traveling Objects"

The photons from the first man-made fire are the man-made objects that have traveled farthest from the earth. Even if you count photons as "objects" and not waves, the first man-made ones weren't from fire. Humans, like everything else, radiate photons. The infrared photons that were radi...
by SuperSteve
Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:22 pm UTC
Forum: What If?
Topic: What-if 0079: "Lake Tea"
Replies: 59
Views: 15586

Re: What-if# 0079: Lake Tea

The tea in Boston Harbor would be much more dilute than he calculated. The water is constantly mixing with the ocean, which would dilute the tea beyond the concentration that it would have if the harbor was hermetically sealed. Also, Boston Harbor is much too salty to use for tea. For tea, you need ...

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