Science-based what-if questions

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:37 am UTC

You make a valid point, but now the construction question's even harder!
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Zohar » Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:46 pm UTC

andykhang wrote:So how would you build this house with gold?

I would not.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby mfb » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:15 pm UTC

You can certainly build something house-like out of gold, but not with the wall thickness conventional houses have. It would be more like a massive block of gold with some interior volume taken out.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:26 pm UTC

So yeah, I know repraising the question: How would you build a structure made entirely out of gold? (It must be livable, mind you, though the plumbing and electrical wiring don't need to be gold)

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:41 pm UTC

Zohar wrote:
andykhang wrote:So how would you build this house with gold?

I would not.

It's like the old elephant thing.

"I wish I had enough money to buy an elephant"
- "Why do you want an elephant?"1
"I don't. I just want the money."

Thusly, a house made of gold may or may not be useful, but it is at least going to be mostly convertable from its basic building materials into either a house or (perhaps even via the built form, if contractually required in order to gain absolute position) any other given currency or good as one might subsequently desire.

Yes, probably including a large number of elephants. (Any estimates of how many? And how many elephants would one get for an elephant house made of gold, assuming you reserved enough value (possibly gold weighing as much as one elephant, for poetic symmetry?) towards the building of a standard elephant house? Useful links?)

And how many giraffes-high are any of these proposed houses, anyway? That's the most important metric, obviously.



1 NB. In another variation of the conversation, this would be considered a silly question. Please refer to Mr B Simpson of Springfield.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby HES » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:51 pm UTC

Soupspoon wrote:And how many giraffes-high are any of these proposed houses, anyway?
I prefer my houses measured in blue whales.

andykhang wrote:(It must be livable, mind you, though the plumbing and electrical wiring don't need to be gold)
I'm not sure either of those would be an issue. Insulating your gold wiring from your gold walls, on the other hand...
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:30 am UTC

That's why I said the above. You can't install gold lightbulb with gold wiring encasing in gold tube without electrocuting the enitre house (and you in it)

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby p1t1o » Wed Apr 12, 2017 12:56 pm UTC

andykhang wrote:That's why I said the above. You can't install gold lightbulb with gold wiring encasing in gold tube without electrocuting the enitre house (and you in it)


On the other hand, the sound quality of your HiFi would be off the chart!

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:19 pm UTC

Define house.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Wed Apr 12, 2017 1:27 pm UTC

A place to live in...that's it.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Flumble » Wed Apr 12, 2017 3:23 pm UTC

What is love living?
Would a golden cardboard box suffice?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:57 am UTC

...I'm trying to build a house made entirely out of gold. I'm the Richard Dickinson, for fk sake, make a house that show it.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Eebster the Great » Thu Apr 13, 2017 5:30 am UTC

andykhang wrote:...I'm trying to build a house made entirely out of gold. I'm the Richard Dickinson, for fk sake, make a house that show it.

wat

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Apr 13, 2017 7:01 am UTC

Perhaps a variation on "Richie Rich"?
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Zamfir » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:29 am UTC

Very pure gold is relatively weak, as most pure metals are. But typical jewelry gold of 22kt (90% pure) is easily as strong as standard construction steel, and steel is already overly strong for the construction of regular houses.

At first approximation, we can assume that all metal structures can be replicated in gold. Thermal isolation is tricky, though I have seen aluminium foams that are in the same conductivity range as brickwork. I assume that a golden plate-foam-plate sandwich will work well enough to cover a building, and will also act as fairly weight-efficient floors and roof.

I am sure you can make gold-oxide based glass, somewhat coloured perhaps. Though I am not sure how much gold you can push into the matrix. There exists glass with 80% lead by weight, perhaps that's doable for gold as well. Gold glass might be a useful electric isolator as well.

Add in gold wires, gold cloth, golden slide bearings. It would be harder to build a 99% pure golden house, but I'd say you can make a house where every part contains enough gold to be simply called "gold" by jeweler standards.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby markfiend » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:41 am UTC

Zamfir wrote:you can make gold-oxide based glass, somewhat coloured perhaps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cranberry_glass
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Zamfir » Thu Apr 13, 2017 10:58 am UTC

Yeah, but that's just trace amounts. The interesting stuff are radiation -shielding windows, those are mostly heavy metal by weight. Lead or barium, typically. I just don't know if that would work with gold.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:02 pm UTC

Since he didn't set a standard than you can dream up practically anything you want. It would be interesting to see an electric motor made from pure gold or the thousand and one things that you don't see, like gaskets and lubricants. How do you do cathodic protection of your water heater?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby p1t1o » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:23 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote: How do you do cathodic protection of your water heater?


You wouldnt need it!

Zamfir wrote:But typical jewelry gold of 22kt (90% pure) is easily as strong as standard construction steel


No way, is that really true?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:09 pm UTC

Eebster the Great wrote:
andykhang wrote:...I'm trying to build a house made entirely out of gold. I'm the Richard Dickinson, for fk sake, make a house that show it.

wat


It's just a name that I thought up. Perhap more appropriate would be the Douches of Richard.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Zamfir » Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:59 pm UTC

No way, is that really true?

Yes, and that's for ordinary silver-and-copper alloys. Apparently, there is even an alloy with 99% gold and 1% titanium that can be cold worked and annealed to reach 660MPa yield strength and 800 MPa ultimate strength. That's beyond ordinary construction steel.

@morris, you can build iron-free motors. For some specialized applications, they are even the optimal solution. You could presumably make an iron-free motor even without permanent magnets, though efficiency might be low.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Thu Apr 13, 2017 3:53 pm UTC

p1t1o wrote:
morriswalters wrote: How do you do cathodic protection of your water heater?


You wouldnt need it!
Okay.

I guess what I'm poking at is the silliness. The space station is proof that if you throw enough money at something you can make anything work. my friend Catherine chewed on lamp cords, and never got shocked. In this house that cat would have been toasty.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:37 pm UTC

So, what would you guy build?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:54 pm UTC

A walk-in safe. So designed that anybody who tried to crack it to gain access to all my worldly wealth within the safe would find it empty, not realising that it was all contained within the safe... ;)

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:06 pm UTC

I would tried to build an European castle on the top of a hill...Or maybe some modern stronghold. That would officaly be the most expensive castle in the world

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Flumble » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:14 pm UTC

Inspired by soupspoon, I'd build a stock exchange with it. So if the stock market crashes, the stock market crashes.

Pray tell, in what manner is this still on a discussion level worthy of the Science board? If you want random natterings, ask it in fleeting thoughts thoughts for ships.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Copper Bezel » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:51 pm UTC

There's a section for that? I have lots of shipping thoughts! = O
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

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Sacred blade of flame

Postby andykhang » Tue Jun 20, 2017 11:46 am UTC

Susposed I have a blade, made out of flame (or plasma, in this case) that is very, very thin, about the edge of a regular blade. If it's hot enough, could you instantly slice something apart without leaving a visible burn mark?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Flumble » Tue Jun 20, 2017 12:46 pm UTC

Why do you think the temperature matters?
If the speed of the blade is high enough you can cut nearly anything in half. Well, at a high enough speed the impact becomes more of an explosion (see what-if 1) that does leave a burn mark. (Then again, can you speak of a burn mark if there's nothing left at all?) But at a slightly lower speed that keeps the blade in one piece after impact, probably doesn't warm up the surface at all.

...but you're talking of some magical "flame" or "plasma" or "light-saber" rather than an actual material that you can shape into a blade. Things that, in reality, need a container and therefore are as effective as the container (a flame or plasma is just a blob of "hot" and will expand in all directions as the environment permits). The closest we have in real life is a laser and lasers cut by scorching the surface (either evaporating/melting material away or deforming it) which leaves burn marks, no matter how fast or cold you cut.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 20, 2017 1:33 pm UTC

A laser will do just what you envisage. It doesn't cleave, slice, or other wise cut, because it's sharp. It cuts because it breaks down material with heat. It burns it or melts it or vaporizes it. They make a very nice industrial machine called a plasma cutter in fact. What they don't do is leave zero traces of the amount of energy used. There is a cutting tool that is effectively what you imagine. A machine designed to carve Styrofoam. Heat a wire to above the melting point of Styrofoam and have at it.

ninja'd more or less.

Flumble wrote:Why do you think the temperature matters?
Just as a general comment, this confusion around temperature seems to be fairly common.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby andykhang » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:46 pm UTC

Good point, but what I'm talking about is a light saber of infitesimal thickness. Basically what I'm saying is: Can heat alone, of a certain degree, trapped in a very small and veery thin volume, could cut something? (Like said, someone actually bold enough to make a light saber into a light katana)

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Xanthir » Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:43 pm UTC

Yes, again, that's called a laser.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby doogly » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:14 pm UTC

Gould definitely should have gone with sacred blade of flame instead though.
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby elasto » Tue Jun 20, 2017 4:57 pm UTC

andykhang wrote:Can heat alone, of a certain degree, trapped in a very small and veery thin volume, could cut something? (Like said, someone actually bold enough to make a light saber into a light katana)

'Heat' doesn't exist in the abstract. It represents the energy of movement of <something> - where <something> is usually atoms but could be nuclei or something more exotic.

So one cannot avoid considering the interaction between that <something> and the thing being cut.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jun 20, 2017 7:33 pm UTC

If you want to watch steel cut by magic I suggest the movies, otherwise see a plasma cutter in action. Compressed air and an arc. Voila, Mechanical Jedi using their light sabers to cut through doors. Wear filtering glasses or risk blindness though. Much like arc welders, which can give you sunburns as well as damaging your retina's. Obi Wan should have worn welding googles

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Sableagle » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:26 pm UTC

Sci-fi start: I'm using the Portal gun here.

Upstream of York, I build a concrete bunker. It's got a wide-bore U-bend, open at one end the the river and overflowing from the other side into The Portal. It's also too deep for mosquito larvae to dive through, because I'm nice like that. The entrance is set up as a wide scoop just above "normal" river level, so it leaves the water alone until the river level rises then (how do we define "abnormally high" water? 10% of the time? 5%?) it allows the surplus to run off through the U-bend and through the portal ...

... into another chamber from which another deep, wide U-bend lets it flow out into the river several kilometres upstream of Esfahan, diverting the Ouse into the Zayandeh Rud. What would that do to agriculture and climate in both countries?
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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 11, 2017 2:52 pm UTC

So you want two back to back p traps connected by a portal and by implication the portal takes care of the energy involved due to the difference elevation assuming there is any. would that be correct?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:46 pm UTC

I read it as "when York threatens to flood, tap the extra water and feed it to somewhere drought-ridden".

As it's a one-way process (SFAICT, especially with the helpful consideration for mosquitorial bioisolation), the effects on York itself are easy. Mitigated/eliminated risks of flooding, depending on how efficient the spillway is at mopping up the excesses. Aside from then adding to the current humanised denaturalisation of the downstream floodplanes that no longer (mostly) get naturally flooded beyond the leves and artificially raised and constrained banks, there might be a small effect as the Ouse no longer feeds quite so much alongside the Trent to become the Humber and the Humber thus no longer flows quite so much into the North Sea (we're talking two of the top-ten UK rivers, here, but the Ouse is the lesser partner, so even though more than a mere drop in an ocean (and, thence, the sea), I think the lack of aperiodic excess water won't be noticable on the world stage.

Changes in things like sediment scouring and deposition are probably exceeded by river management techniques (mis)applied as standard by British Waterways and associated organisations...


So, then, now we're left with the other side of the overflow. I don't know quite so much about the geography at that end. At random times, though, and largely unsynchronised with what riverflow might naturally get to that point from the ?Turkic? mountains, there's a whole bounty of water (may be cooler, but then again may not be, never having been snowmelt/glacial run-off) suddenly given to an apparently parched locale. It might do some good (tops up the watercourse enough to prevent (quite so much) periodic drybedding, maybe helps to desilt the thing - like they open floodgates (and let crowd watch!) to manage rivers currently over-managed by damming), or the "just let it happen when it happens" nature of the setup might be as troublesome as the mitigated Yorkshire flooding.

Whilst the mosquito might not reach 'upstream', I wonder if British aquatic life might end up in Iran. Or (dried riverbeds excepted) are trout not that rare in Iran? How about Barbel, Perch, Tench or Bullheads?

Climatically, I can't see the sporadic flow doing much for the region. Undoing the ecological damage created by the basic upstream abstraction that dried out the Zayandeh is already too much to hope for. I don't see the appropriated waters of the Ouse flowing through the hot Iranian landscape and flooding out ancient settlements. Maybe modern ones, placed on land only recently vacated by the artificially expired stream, but that's frankly not my problem!

But, if managed not only by geography but also by time (intervening damming to ease the outward fluctuations, and/or make it count most optimally, as needed), I could see it being a novel approach to smoothing out random-but-anthropogenic climate change by deliberate-anthropogenic climate change. Or just making it worse in even more unpredictable ways.

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:18 pm UTC

What is the flow rate at normal summer pool and what is it at flood?

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Re: Science-based what-if questions

Postby Soupspoon » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:40 pm UTC

You might be able to get such data at http://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/data/station/meanflow/27009 and thereabouts, with slightly more time in hand than I currently have.


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