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Renovating the wheel
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The other day I heard someone say "I only have to walk past a cream
cake shop to gain weight" and it was borne in upon me that this could
actually be so provided that said confectionaries were denser than the
kind of matter which we encounter in everyday life. Cream cakes do of
a minor gravitational pull on passers by, but I imagine the
biggest culprits in the high street in this respect are jewellers. The
density of a cream cake which could actually cause weight increase by
proximity would have to be far above the density of even the platinum
metals by several orders of magnitude. But how many?
I'm going to assume that someone has a mass of 200 kilos and that
the increase in weight is one gramme, so I'm talking about of 0.0005%,
and I'll make that at a distance of one metre. Now, the Earth is 6738
km in radius in some places, so someone would be 6 738 000 times
closer, whose square root is about 2500. Since the increase in weight
is far smaller, that means one 500 millionth the mass of the planet in
neutronium would be required in a cream cake to generate this effect.
This is a mere 12 billion tonnes.
Various questions now arise in my mind.
- In order for the cake not to sink to the centre of the Earth, it will need
to be levitated in some way. I suggest it be filled with iron filings and
suspended in a powerful magnetic field, and that the rest of the
planet's infrastructure be devoted to generating enough energy to
support this arrangement.
- The rest of the cake is going to have to be really light so as not to
have it collapse onto the chunks of neutronium inside it, so it'll need to
be made of a sort of aerogel/meringue thing. Not sure if it can actually
include cream though. Maybe whipped cream containing hydrogen.
- The individual chunks of neutronium are going to have to be
contained somehow, unless we are to be happy with the idea of the
whole thing exploding after less than a nanosecond and probably
destroying the planet. However, this needn't be a bad thing because
since the energy required to levitate such a cake is considerable, it
probably can't be maintained for very long.
- The cream cake will have to be situated underneath the passers by
whose weight is to be sufficiently increased in order that gravitational
pull is in the right direction. Otherwise the weight might be unaltered
or decreased by the positioning of the cake.
So how can this be achieved? I suggest religion. In ancient and
mediaeval times, the construction of pyramids, ziggurats and
cathedrals involved a huge concentration of economic activity on the
sole purpose of creating a beautiful monument to a possibly non-
existent deity, or maybe the Pharaoh. So, found a new evangelical
religion whose focus is to create a single cream cake with sufficient
gravitational pull to increase the weight of someone walking over the
subterranean patisserie noticeably. This religion will convert the entire
population of the world to this end, and huge resources will be
expended on creating and storing the energy required to create and
maintain the cake. Then, a single vastly heavy person will be bred and
raised to pass the cake, and in a final apocalyptic ceremony, that
person will be wheeled over the cake on a set of highly accurate scales
and their weight will be briefly acknowledged by the whole of humanity
to have increased by a gramme (I realise the appropriate unit is the
millinewton) before the whole assemblage gives out and destroys the
||I've never really grasped why neutrons hang out with protons in the first place. It's not as if they're attracted to each other by charge.
||//someone would be 6 738 000 times closer, whose
square root is about 2500//
||You need the square, not the square root. Or,
calculating more directly,
||m1 = r² F/(G m2)
= 1m² * 0.0098N/(6.67E-11N(m/kg)² * 200kg),
about 730 tonnes.
||[pertinax], protons have electric charges that
repel each other. There happens to exist a
different force (than the electric/magnetic force)
called "the strong nuclear force" --it is stronger
than the electric/magnetic force.
||Neutrons and protons can experience that strong
force --but protons basically DON'T experience it
in-between each other only. So, if an atomic
nucleus contains neutrons as well as protons, the
strong force begins to act such that the electric
repulsion of the protons, toward each other, is
overcome, so they end up staying together in the
||OK thanks, [spidermother], I'd just woken up and not
had my coffee when I typed this.
||Would it not, perhaps, be easier to ask someone to
walk past the cake shop at the moment the moon is
on the opposite side of the earth? They ought then
to be measurably heavier than they are when the
moon is directly overhead.
||The ocean weighs more at high tide, m'lud, not less, reason
being there's more of it in one spot. Certainly the moon
seems to draw out the crazies as it passes overhead, but
the notion that it would temporarily increase the local
population seems suspect at the very least.
||Consider the earth and the moon. Put one person
on the surface of the earth, directly underneath
||Now put another person on the surface of the
earth, directly opposite the moon.
||The person under the moon experiences a small
pull by the moon (headwards) in opposition to the
much larger pull of the earth (footwards).
||For the person on the far side of the earth, the
pull of the moon (now a little less, as they are a
few thousand miles further from it) _adds_ to the
pull of the earth.
||This, basically, is why there are tides.
||Tides are caused by window-gazers at antipodal
||Basically, and in the sense of "not really", yes.
||Make the cake out of moon! I mean make the moon into a cake!
||I don't think you're taking this seriously, [pocmloc].
||The question isn't what he's taking seriously - it's just what
||You could halve your cake and eat it two...