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inflatable earth

the solution to the world's real estate problem
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Pump a large quantity of high-pressue air into the centre of the earth, and with a bit (lot) of luck it would inflate and make the surface larger.

Then there would be no need to cut down rain forests as there would plenty of extra space for farming, car parks etc.

Of course the walk to the local shop might become a bit longer. And maybe we'd have to slow down the speed of the earth's rotation otherwise it might get a little windy.

slancaster, May 10 2001


       I don't think windyness will be a problem because a lot of the air that causes that wind will now be locked away inside the earth. In fact, it may even become less windy. My calculations appear to support this: W = W-1/2.
lubbit, May 10 2001

       Given the nature of the idea, I suppose technical pedantry is out of place here, but just as a matter of understanding: Most winds on earth blow in the *same* direction as the planet's rotation. The winds are caused by heating and cooling cycles, not because the the atmosphere remains still while the ground speeds by.
beauxeault, May 10 2001

       Hmmm... lessee - area of a sphere is 4*pi*r^2, Earth is about 8,000 miles across (I think) so 201,061,760 million square miles uninflated. Inflate it by ten miles in the radius and it goes up about a million square miles, 4/5 of which is underwater. Lot of work for an extra 200,000 square miles of land, but I like the idea based on the fact that you could put politicians to use blowing into the tube to inflate it.
Duffi, May 10 2001

       Bad math/geology there, I think, Duffi. In order for the 4/5 that are currently covered by water to still be after inflation, one would have to add a lot of water. Instead, I think all of the million sq mi of gain would be land, popping out over the oceans. Right?
globaltourniquet, May 10 2001

       Not necessarily. If the oceans grew shallower, more area could be covered. If we lived on a beach-ball, fully inflating it would be a recipe for disaster -- _all_ land would end up covered by a thin layer of ocean.   

       [dekoi, you may have mixed that up with the volume, 4/3 * pi * r^3]
jutta, May 10 2001

       hey duffi, isn't the area of a sphere four-thirds PIxR squared?
dekoi, May 10 2001

       Might have a hard time sealing all the leaks. Ancient Greeks opined that earthquakes arre caused by air trapped underground and rumbling about as it tries to escape. Global flatulence becomes a big problem with an Inflatable Earth.
Dog Ed, May 10 2001

       The inflatable earth is currently being baked underneath Yellowstone. Global flatulance IS something of a problem (and an economic boon) there.
centauri, May 10 2001

       Where do we get all the air from? Not from the atmosphere, that's for sure - we need that! (Besides which, it wouldn't be enough - the atmosphere is a pretty thin skin compared to the size of the Earth). Find enough air, and then we'll start talking...
aj, May 10 2001

       Sounds interestingly like the anithesis of my handle...
globaltourniquet, May 10 2001

       No, dekoi - 4*pi*r^2 is correct for area. Since the area of a circle is simply pi*r^2, four circles cover a sphere of same radius, oddly enough. You would expect it to be something with a trailing decimal coefficient rather than an integer value, wouldn't you?   

       Those annoying tectonic plates (which just cause earthquakes, anyway) will have to be replaced with a pleasant layer of springy rubber to hold the air in.
Duffi, May 13 2001

       Would this mean that you'd have to ban drilling for fossil fuels? Because one puncture is all that it takes...
oobersteph, May 13 2001

       Okay, one way the volume of a sphere can be ascertained is as follows: Take the graph of the function for a unit semicircle, f(x) = (R²-x²)^œ, and imagine a small, vertical chunk taken out of it and rotated around the x axis. The volume of the resulting cylinder is pi*r²*h = pi*y²*dx, where dx is the change in x, the width of the chop. And then it gets complicated.
volume of sphere ~ Reimann sum of chops = E(pi*y²*dx)
" " " = limit E... as dx approaches 0 = §(-R,R)(pi*y²*dx)
= §(-R,R)(pi*((R²-x²)^œ)²*dx) = §(-R,R)(pi*(R²-x²)*dx)
= pi*(§(-R,R)(R²*dx)-§(-R,R)(x²*dx))
= pi*R²(§(-R,R)(dx))-pi((x³)/3)|(-R,R)
= pi*R²*2R-pi((R³/3)+(R³/3))
= (2-2/3)*pi*R³
= 4/3*pi*R³
apologies. I just recently learned how to do this, and the novelty hasn't worn off yet. Apologies also for trying to type out a calculus problem with the standard character set in the first place.
oobersteph: That might not necessarily be a bad thing, it'd certainly be interesting to see how it effects the Bush admin. Of course, maybe they'd develop some new technology so they could puncture and repair the earth really quick. Anyone else read Graham Edwards?
Also, why fill it with air? I say we just integrate the moon. It was probably part of the earth to begin with, anyway.
nick_n_uit, May 13 2001, last modified May 14 2001

       Pi r square.
No, pi are not square.
Cornbread are square.
Pie are round.
StarChaser, May 13 2001

       Wrong on 2 counts, nick - First, it's four-thirds pi r CUBED for the volume of the sphere, and secondly we weren't discussing volume, we were discussing surface area.
Duffi, May 13 2001

       Duffi: oops. Fixed it. Thanks for pointing that out before I embarassed myself.
nick_n_uit, May 14 2001

       Since rain won't be falling so far now, does this change my answer to the question, "It's starting to rain, should we run or walk to a shelter?"
reensure, May 14 2001

       Maybe the raindrops will be spaced farther apart. Or no - maybe there some minimum density of cloud cover needed for it to rain at all? Some of cloud cover is caused by gamma rays and high-energy cosmic particles, frighteningly enough. It's the same effect cloud chambers use, they must form something like mini-contrails in the cloud ceiling.   

       Centauri - are you saying that the geology of Yellowstone National Park is somehow doing this ground-inflating-with-gas thing?
Duffi, May 14 2001

       I believe 70% of the Earth is underwater, not 80%.
egnor, May 14 2001

       Why not just pump out a couple of oceans - that will leave plenty of room.
CasaLoco, May 14 2001

       There's no shortage of land area - North America is mostly empty, so is Antarctica, Africa and most of Asia. What is in short supply is attractive real-estate, which is not the same thing. House prices in those desirable waterfront developments are sure to plumet once the river drains away down the cracks formed when an inelastic crust is inflated.
gravelpit, Jun 23 2001

       What if the earth pops?
liquidroad, Sep 18 2003

       i feel obliged to comment.   

       even if it were possible to pump air into the earth's core [which it isn't unless you have developed some kind of geomagic], the resultant swelling of the core may not necessarily give an increase to the Earth's surface area.   

       If it were possible, an inflated core would be relatively cooler (same heat energy/larger volume). The resulting cooling of the earth would not be desirable.   

       If it were possible that the Earth's crust expanded, it would do so at tectonic boundaries. These would erupt with lava thus plugging the gaps. This increased geologic activity would have devastating effects for world weather as per the Deccan Traps eruption.   

       All in all. Rubbish.
jonthegeologist, Sep 19 2003

Hrothgar, Feb 29 2004


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