13 febrúar 2007

Godzilla hinn ómögulegi

Þetta er kannske margþvælt, en ég hafði gaman af því. Um Godzilla skrímslið og þær fjölmörgu ástæður fyrir því afhverju það gæti ekki lifað í okkar veruleika.
Could an Animal That Size Exist?

No. It's not even remotely possible.

Take one standard die. We’ll assume that it’s a cube 1 inch by 1 inch by 1 inch in dimensions. It therefore has a surface area of 6 square inches, and a volume of 1 cubic inch. (The surface area of each side is calculated as length x width. Each side therefore has a surface area of 1 inch x 1 inch or 1 inch^2. There are 6 sides, so the total surface area is 6 x 1 inch^2. The volume is length x width x height, so the volume is 1 inch x 1 inch x 1 inch or 1 inch^3.)

To double the dimensions of a single die, we’d need 8 dice. We’d need 2 dice to double the length of a single die; 2 dice to double the width; and 2 dice to double the height. So, to make a cube twice the size of a single die, we’d need 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 dice. The surface area of this new die would be 2^2 x 6 square inches = 24 square inches, and its volume (of course), would be 2 x 2 x 2 = 8 cubic inches. You’ve probably noticed that the surface area/volume ratio of the original die is 6:1, while the surface area/volume ratio of the new die is only 3:1. If we keep making bigger dice, the amount of surface area relative to volume drops dramatically as the dice get bigger.

So, as things get bigger, their weight (which is a function of their volume) increases dramatically faster than does their surface area. This has a number of important consequences. Not least of these is that if you double something’s size and keep its proportions the same, its weight doesn’t double or even quadruple – it increases by a factor of eight!

So, an animal the size of Godzilla would weigh something like 60,000 tons! That’s actually a rather conservative estimate. In any event, you’re talking about an animal that literally weighs as much as a battleship. What would happen to a battleship if you could take it out of the water that supports it and stand it on its stern? Within a few seconds’ time, you’d have a very large pile of scrap metal – that’s what would happen!

I don’t care if Godzilla’s skeleton is made of solid titanium – the instant he steps out of the water, it’s going to collapse under his enormous weight. So, downtown Tokyo is quite safe, though they might have a rather large mess to clean up in the harbour.

Þetta útskýrir allavega cube-lögmálið á skiljanlegan hátt, en ég man að Grant Morrison-karikatúrinn í einhverri Supreme sögunni minntist á það til að útskýra afhverju hitt og þetta úr sögu Supreme gæti hreint ekki staðist.

Þreytti gaurinn.


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