0150: "Grownups"

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0150: "Grownups"

Postby Shoofle » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:00 am UTC

Seriously, how could this be a bad thing? I mean, you can swim in it, but you can also kind of breathe.

As for the problem of it being prohibitively (sp?) expensive, it seems like they should be able to be fabricated automagically, by some sort of ma-sheen.
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Postby xkcd » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:35 am UTC

Even so, try to find them cheap enough to fill an apartment for under a few thousand dollars.

You're talking a hundred thousands of balls for an apartment, tens of thousands for a room, so unless you can get them for under 100 for a dollar, you're gonna have a hard time with it. I looked at actual prices for large lots on eBay, for one, and came up with I think $40,000 to fill my college dorm waist-deep. It was sad.

Actually, figuring out how many are involved is what got me studying the sphere packing problem in more detail. (I'm too lazy to find a wikipedia link, but google it). I remember it's something around 65% of the volume is used for lightly-randomly-packed spheres, but that "randomly packed" was ill-defined and they could pack as high as 74%, I think.
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Postby rockintom99 » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:37 am UTC

Holy crap, that wins so hard. I would *die* for an apartment like that. Too bad on the price.

Maybe invest in a ball-making machine and a lot of plastic?
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Postby Verysillyman » Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:05 pm UTC

You should start asking for them for birthdays and christmas. Whenever someone asks what you want, tell them plastic balls. Eventually you'll have your dream, with an added bonus that people don't have to think to buy you presents.
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Postby Westacular » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:12 pm UTC

The ball pit was always the best part of going to Ikea as a kid.
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Postby paulitheism » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:25 pm UTC

Good lord, even ping-pong balls cost, minimum, a dime each in bulk. This is sad. There needs to be a world where a room full of brightly colored plastic balls is affordable. Find me a politician who promises that and my vote is won.
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Postby Westacular » Wed Aug 30, 2006 3:58 pm UTC

The "all children left behind - in pools of plastic balls! Adults, too!" platform?
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Postby interrupt » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:25 pm UTC

Dorm room:
16' x 12'
(http://www.alma.edu/community/offices/p ... uske#first)

Waste high with balls:
3'

Total volume:
16*12*3 = 576 cubic feet or 995,328 cubic inches

Volume that will be filled by spheres, assuming random packing:
995328 * 0.64 = 637,010 cubic inches
(http://mathworld.wolfram.com/SpherePacking.html)

Size of colorful, plastic ball:
3.125" in diameter
(http://www.ballpitplus.com/site/716229/ ... /ITX49600E)

Volume of colorful, plastic ball:
1.5625 ^ 3 * pi * (4/3) = 15.979 cubic inches

Number of balls require to fill dorm room to your waist:
637010 / 15.979 = 39,865 balls

Cost of balls:
$20 / 100 balls
http://www.ballpitplus.com/site/716229/ ... /ITX49600E
$0.20 per ball

Total cost for balls:
39,865 * 0.2 = $7,973

So about $8,000 to fill a dorm room to your waste, and that's only buying balls at a rate for 100 balls at a time, I'm sure you could get a cheaper rate if buying 40,000 balls.

Hmmm.

Some one tell me if my basic math is incorrect.

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wow

Postby spatulated » Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:34 pm UTC

This comic was so good i just had to register on your forums to tell you it made me warm and fuzzy inside in the most warm and fuzzy way.
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Re: wow

Postby xkcd » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:16 pm UTC

spatulated wrote:This comic was so good i just had to register on your forums to tell you it made me warm and fuzzy inside in the most warm and fuzzy way.

Aww, thanks! I'm so glad people took from this one what I was going for! It's a comic that makes me happy.

interrupt wrote:Total cost for balls:
39,865 * 0.2 = $7,973

So about $8,000 to fill a dorm room to your waste, and that's only buying balls at a rate for 100 balls at a time, I'm sure you could get a cheaper rate if buying 40,000 balls.

Yeah -- you got almost exactly the same numbers I did. I looked around for somewhere cheaper to buy the balls in bulk, but have been as yet unable to find them. This is way sad.
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Postby Charodei » Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:09 pm UTC

Arranging them in the loosest rigid packing would only take 3457 balls and cost a mere $700. So it could be done quite economically.
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Postby Penguin » Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:12 pm UTC

This is absolutely my most favoritest comic ever.

One step beyond making me warm and fuzzy - it made me squee. ^_^
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Postby xkcd » Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:15 pm UTC

Charodei wrote:Arranging them in the loosest rigid packing would only take 3457 balls and cost a mere $700. So it could be done quite economically.

Please elaborate? I don't understand what you mean by "loosest rigid packing."

And that doesn't really sound right at all -- that's only using like 5% of the volume. You'd be describing some tenuous web of balls. Any sort of balls dumped together in gravity like that will fill on the order of 60+% of the space.
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Postby Shoofle » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:19 pm UTC

Well, spheres don't pack like that, for one thing (I can't think of anything else). There is a lot of space between them that you need to account for. I don't entirely understand how the packing math works, but I've been interested in it for a while.
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Postby Backlash » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:06 pm UTC

That would be pretty sweet...for awhile. Imagine the gunk that would build up down there, where it's impossible to clean.

Um, don't take this as an insight into my level of hygiene or cleanliness. :)


I've always dreamed of having a trampoline room, where the entire floor is a giant trampoline so you can't fall off. The springs would have to be recessed into the wall, too, so you don't get your foot caught in there. One wall would be vecro so you can do that giant human fly thing. Another wall would have a basketball hoop up high, for crazy dunking.
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Postby xkcd » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:21 pm UTC

Backlash wrote:That would be pretty sweet...for awhile. Imagine the gunk that would build up down there, where it's impossible to clean.

Yeah, that's actually the hygiene stuff I'm referring to in the title-text.
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Postby Backlash » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:29 pm UTC

Ah, yes. I forgot to check the title-text today :(
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Postby interrupt » Wed Aug 30, 2006 11:53 pm UTC

xkcd wrote:
Backlash wrote:That would be pretty sweet...for awhile. Imagine the gunk that would build up down there, where it's impossible to clean.

Yeah, that's actually the hygiene stuff I'm referring to in the title-text.


We actually have a ball pit at work, and it seems fairly clean. Although I would hope the balls get cleaned here and there.

Josh
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Postby DaveFP » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:37 am UTC

What about a trampoline room full of plastic balls?

Ooh! They could fill the ISS with plastic balls (well, a percentage of the volume). Then you could swim through them in zero G!
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Postby Shoofle » Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:34 am UTC

It might be kind of cool to have ball-pit-balls with helium in them, and maybe at a lower density too. Then they would be just a little bit lighter, and would probably feel weird to handle and swim in and stuff. Also, I think we are overlooking the possibilities of machine-cut and machine-folded plastic icosahedrons! They would be pointy, but still fun!
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Postby paulitheism » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:08 am UTC

I've solved the problem.

Ball playpen timeshares.

Get a bunch of xkcd fans in a given town to all go in together to rent a small room somewhere and then chip in on the balls. Because, really, how much ball-bounceying can you do in any given day? It's like a co-op, only, more colorful. Much, much more colorful.
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Postby ulnevets » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:32 am UTC

can we stop talking about balls? or at least call them small plastic spheres
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Postby xkcd » Thu Aug 31, 2006 5:47 am UTC

paulitheism wrote:Get a bunch of xkcd fans in a given town to all go in together to rent a small room somewhere and then chip in on the balls. Because, really, how much ball-bounceying can you do in any given day? It's like a co-op, only, more colorful. Much, much more colorful.


But then you miss out on all the fun of having a ball-pit apartment. Like lying in wait near the door, napping or listening to CDs, then feeling a disturbance as someone steps in and wades down the hall, waiting, and then grabbing their ankles.

Man, I would've made a great Angel Shark.
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Postby Axolotl » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:03 am UTC

I like this comic, a lot.
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Postby RealGrouchy » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:04 am UTC

Does anyone else think that the doorknob in the third frame looks like an anime-style tear, as in "oh, I love this...*single tear*"?

- RG>
Jack Saladin wrote:etc., lock'd
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:At least he has the decency to REMOVE THE GAP BETWEEN HIS QUOTES....
Sungura wrote:I don't really miss him. At all. He was pretty grouchy.
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Postby Shoofle » Thu Aug 31, 2006 11:35 am UTC

ulnevets wrote:can we stop talking about balls? or at least call them small plastic spheres

You should have been around for the most recent FIRST robotics competition. <I can't believe I'm saying this>Our robot was the best around at sucking up balls and spitting them out at high speed. No one could match us!</I can't believe I'm saying this>
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Postby Pyrthas » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:29 am UTC

ulnevets wrote:can we stop talking about balls? or at least call them small plastic spheres
I hope that the irony of this question being posted in response to a comic titled 'Grownups' is not lost too soon.
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Postby ulnevets » Fri Sep 01, 2006 1:44 am UTC

poophead
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Postby Penguin » Fri Sep 01, 2006 8:38 am UTC

Shoofle wrote:You should have been around for the most recent FIRST robotics competition. <I can't believe I'm saying this>Our robot was the best around at sucking up balls and spitting them out at high speed. No one could match us!</I can't believe I'm saying this>


There was also the one two or three years ago now, when "if you have the bigger balls, you score more" was a perfectly valid description of the game... :P
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Ball Calculator

Postby Relsqui » Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:32 am UTC

Hiya! This was the first new comic to appear after I was pointed to xkcd, and I'll join the crowd of warm-fuzzy-and-squeeing persons about it. I couldn't agree with the message more; if that's not what being a grownup is about, I don't want to be one.

Anyway, while I hardly expected to be the first one to figure out the math for it (and was not disappointed), I couldn't help putting together a little calculator you can use to twerk variables. You can find it at the link below; thanks go to davean for bullying me into making the UI less obnoxious. :P

http://www.chiliahedron.com/ballroom

Or, if DNS is being finicky,

http://b.armory.com/~relsqui/ballroom

I wasn't sure what policy is on linking to vs. saving comics; I opted to save a copy locally and make it a link back to the original.

Enjoy!
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Re: Ball Calculator

Postby davean » Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:35 am UTC

Relsqui wrote:thanks go to davean for bullying me into making the UI less obnoxious. :P


Being crotchity and right are the things I'm good for!

Relsqui wrote:I wasn't sure what policy is on linking to vs. saving comics; I opted to save a copy locally and make it a link back to the original.


Policy? The license is fairly liberal, its a fairly standard non-commercial use. As for preference, dirrectly linking to the xkcd.com hosted ones is great, we'll pay the bandwidth bill and we get to know that people are seeing it!

Links back are allways appreciated.
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Re: Ball Calculator

Postby Relsqui » Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:41 am UTC

davean wrote:Policy? The license is fairly liberal, its a fairly standard non-commercial use. As for preference, dirrectly linking to the xkcd.com hosted ones is great, we'll pay the bandwidth bill and we get to know that people are seeing it!

Links back are allways appreciated.


Fair enough; changed the source and left the link. Grepping webserver logs is good times. I won't be held responsible if my site suddenly become a billion times more popular, though. ; )
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Re: Ball Calculator

Postby davean » Sat Sep 02, 2006 3:44 am UTC

Relsqui wrote:
davean wrote:Policy? The license is fairly liberal, its a fairly standard non-commercial use. As for preference, dirrectly linking to the xkcd.com hosted ones is great, we'll pay the bandwidth bill and we get to know that people are seeing it!

Links back are allways appreciated.


Fair enough; changed the source and left the link. Grepping webserver logs is good times. I won't be held responsible if my site suddenly become a billion times more popular, though. ; )


Bring it.
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Postby Dooreatoe » Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:37 pm UTC

This comic represents my dream. My dream that will never, ever be achieved. Ever.

(This is also my first post, wonderfully glad to meet you all!)
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Postby xkcd » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:00 pm UTC

I love the icon!
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Postby Dooreatoe » Sun Sep 03, 2006 3:20 pm UTC

Thanks! Once I read that one, I immediately thought, "I must destroy the artistry of this comic by changing it to an 80x80 .gif".
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Postby davean » Sun Sep 03, 2006 11:01 pm UTC

Dooreatoe wrote:Thanks! Once I read that one, I immediately thought, "I must destroy the artistry of this comic by changing it to an 80x80 .gif".


Because, 100x100 wouldn't have ruined the art as much, clearly.
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Postby miss kyri » Mon Sep 04, 2006 5:50 am UTC

Joining the *squeee* crowd. Like I think I mentioned, got a link here from QC... and this is a fuzzy wonder of a comic, (god how much fun would this be. I dunno if i want a whole apt, but a room... definately). But yet the rest of the comicness is even cooler

lots of people have dinosaur icons ^_^ I don't read it reguarly but people link me to good ones now and again.

and ex-linguist/nlp programmer turning biochemist....

this is like heaven.
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Postby Jesse » Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:33 pm UTC

Funny thing is, I discovered Questionable Content through this website. How backwards am I?
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Postby Shoofle » Mon Sep 04, 2006 12:34 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Funny thing is, I discovered Questionable Content through this website. How backwards am I?

COMPLETELY BACKWARDS, and that is why we love you.
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