What-If 0033: "Ships"

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What-If 0033: "Ships"

Postby tibfulv » Tue Feb 19, 2013 9:40 am UTC


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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:15 am UTC

Randall seems to be a little distracted lately - yesterday's comic had to be fixed, and now there's the broken image, useless "D" at the end of the article and "a few feet by the year 2100" links back to the comic.

Hmm.. but if it is around 5 AM where he lives right now, I guess we can cut him some slack - go to sleep and fix it later!

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby poit » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:30 am UTC

No way does the ocean level rise by 3.3cm a year. It doesn't even rise by 3.3mm a year from the sources I've been able to quickly google.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby tibfulv » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:57 am UTC

Must admit that the image title makes me want to ask the question of whether, if one took all the sponges in the sea and loaded them onto ships, the sea-level would rise or sink?

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby cian » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:15 am UTC

poit wrote:No way does the ocean level rise by 3.3cm a year. It doesn't even rise by 3.3mm a year from the sources I've been able to quickly google.


Wiki suggests that this is 3.3mm per year. So a typo?
Current sea level

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby rmsgrey » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:21 am UTC

tibfulv wrote:Must admit that the image title makes me want to ask the question of whether, if one took all the sponges in the sea and loaded them onto ships, the sea-level would rise or sink?


Rise.

Floating objects displace water according to their mass; fully-immersed objects according to their volume (objects that are both floating and fully-immersed displace the same amount of water whichever way you measure). Since the sponges aren't floating on the surface, loading them into boats that are would make them displace more water.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Vroomfundel » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:21 am UTC

tibfulv wrote:Must admit that the image title makes me want to ask the question of whether, if one took all the sponges in the sea and loaded them onto ships, the sea-level would rise or sink?


It won't change - again, a consequence of the Archimedes principle. Similar rule helps make ship elevators easier - a volume of water will always weigh the same, no matter if there's a ship floating there(on top of the water!). The heavier the ship - the more water it's going to displace. If it's 50% buoyant (i.e. weighing 50% of it's volume in water) it will be halfway out of the water, and it's submerged half is going to displace half the ship's volume of water. If it's 90% (like an iceberg) - 9/10 will be submerged, displacing 9/10 of the iceberg's volume, which weights exactly as much as the iceberg.
Thus, a ship elevator will always be carrying the same weight, disregarding the size of the ship.

Edit: double ninja'd - I stand corrected, the sponges are indeed fully immersed!

See level rise by 3cm is indeed unrealistic - this means 3 metres by 2100, which is going to be a huge disaster as most of the world population lives around the coasts. Venice will no longer be unique, and will be less impressive as houses there will have one floor less :-)

I commented on an earlier what-if that they are apparently taking a toll on him as they always get posted in these awkward times and often have glitches. Well done for keeping them going though, the glitches can be forgiven and the what-ifs have become 2nd most important aspect of xkcd for me.

The first, however, is the forums - so I don't know if I can forgive removing the link to here. It's got considerably quieter since then. I do appreciate the higher quality of the discourse when only seasoned echochamberians remained but the some of the noobs were also cool, it's not that we've ever had 'cancer that's killing the fora'
My guess would be that the forums are kind of independent form xkcd, and also not generating revenue, so Randall has decided to not feature them on every page any more. If that's the case then I'd happily look at some ads here (preferably to the xkcd store), maybe even click on them and buy stuff, to have the forums featured prominently on xkcd.
Sorry for the off-topic and let me know if there's a meta discussion about this
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:00 pm UTC

Klear wrote:Randall seems to be a little distracted lately - yesterday's comic had to be fixed, and now there's the broken image, useless "D" at the end of the article and "a few feet by the year 2100" links back to the comic.

Hmm.. but if it is around 5 AM where he lives right now, I guess we can cut him some slack - go to sleep and fix it later!


Oddly, when I saw the what if for the first time, that link linked to what-if.xkcd.com, later, after the missing image got fixed, it pointed to what-if.xkcd.com/33/, and now it's back to what-if.xkcd.com.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Jackpot777 » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:04 pm UTC

And what about the old joke about how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges?


Sponges grow in the ocean... that kills me. I wonder how much deeper they'd be if that didn't happen.
-- Steven Wright.

He's been on the comedy circuit since 1979. I wouldn't call it an OLD joke...

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby tibfulv » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:37 pm UTC

So, continuing my theme of pointing to formerly missing images, I pulled up the source of http://what-if.xkcd.com/33/ to see what had changed. And I found an alt-text:
do you know how much deeper the ocean would be if we dropped in everyone who repeats that sponge joke?

Looking further, I found that all the images had similar jokes attached, as "alt"-attributes, not "title", so does not show on hover, but curiously does not show with a missing pic either (though that may be because it was a recent change. Hubble does not have them*). This been known long?

*) But FedEx Bandwidth does. Hm.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:13 pm UTC

So... are these jokes easter eggs you have to look for to read, or is that an oversight and they should be visible same as the ones that are displayed in the cessna what-if?

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby tibfulv » Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:25 pm UTC

Who knows. I noted that in the Cessna one, the planets all have a title-text that is the same as the alt, and so are probably meant to be displayed. But all the pictures have alt-texts, and thus function as easter eggs. Perhaps there is a flaw in the blag software Munroe uses, and they are all meant to be displayed. Except it all looks hand-crafted ....


Edit: This has been going on for a while. I am back to the Leap Seconds one, and the pattern is beginning with a serious, dry explanation of the image, deteriorating into jokes as the page progresses.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:00 pm UTC

Hmmm... I'll need to check it out when I got home. I was going to ask you to tell me what to look for, but then I realized I'm just being lazy and finding them in the source is hardly a challenge for me, so I won't =P

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby tibfulv » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:13 pm UTC

Indeed. HTML isn't the most difficult source to go through, particularly not src as neat and readable as this. It's not PostScript, or something Word-generated. Or RTF, but now I'm just showing off ....

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby bmonk » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:42 pm UTC

I wondered where would you put the sponges (and possibly water) if you removed them from the seas.
Second thought was that the creation of large, high-latitude reservoirs especially in the US and USSR back in the 1950s and later increased the rotation of the Earth by a measurable amount (reference). We could store the sponges and water near the poles, cho0sing to speed up the rotation.
Synthesis: could we store the sponges and water sufficiently near the axis of the Earth to negate the need for leap seconds? How long would this suffice?
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby keithl » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:32 pm UTC

This ocean level "what-if" leads to an even more fascinating what-if.

The moon and the earth rotate around a barycenter 4600 kilometers above the center of the earth, or 1700km below the surface. The Chicxulub impactor arrived at about a 25 degree angle from horizontal, if it had somehow passed through the earth it would have gone only 600 km deep, very close to missing entirely. We don't know the arrangement of the earth-moon system during the impact, but chances are about even that if the earth and moon were in a different position around the barycenter, the object might have missed earth entirely.

The moon has made tens of billions of orbits around the earth over the last few billion years. Its orbit period is lengthening (it used to be a few hours) because tidal drag (mostly from the oceans) is coupling angular momentum from the rotating earth, pushing the moon outwards in its orbit. Less ocean, less coupling ... less coupling, quicker orbit ... quicker orbit, more orbits at the time the Chicxulub object came by. A 6 micron depth change out of 3700 meters average ocean depth is 1.6 parts per billion, and tidal coupling prevented a few tens of billion of orbits, so the effect of 6 microns of water would be on the rough order of a hundred orbits. A small fraction of that might have caused the Chicxulub object to miss, or impact somewhere else. Perhaps deep ocean, where it would have steam-cleaned land life off the earth.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Oktalist » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:45 pm UTC

I had no idea bacteria were so big!
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Millumi » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:40 am UTC

How much would the sea level fall if you counted sunken ships too?
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby project2051 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:59 am UTC

What if all the dolphins just suddenly left the ocean?

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby richP » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:46 am UTC

project2051 wrote:What if all the dolphins just suddenly left the ocean?


Then you'd better grab a towel, head to a bar, drink some beer and eat some peanuts, of course!

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Quicksilver » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:52 am UTC

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby mishka » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:49 am UTC

What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Pfhorrest » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:59 am UTC

mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

"I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question."
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby cian » Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:46 am UTC

mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?


It wouldn't be pretty. See Waterworld <<shudder>>

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Kethryes » Wed Feb 20, 2013 3:11 pm UTC

tibfulv wrote:So, continuing my theme of pointing to formerly missing images, I pulled up the source of http://what-if.xkcd.com/33/ to see what had changed. And I found an alt-text:
do you know how much deeper the ocean would be if we dropped in everyone who repeats that sponge joke?

Looking further, I found that all the images had similar jokes attached, as "alt"-attributes, not "title", so does not show on hover, but curiously does not show with a missing pic either (though that may be because it was a recent change. Hubble does not have them*). This been known long?

*) But FedEx Bandwidth does. Hm.


Wow thanks, I had never thought about checking the alt text, lots of easter eggs hidden there!
Damn, now I have to re-read all the what-ifs!
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby JJH » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:31 pm UTC

Wouldn’t the inversion of this question be more “what if-y”? What happens to the ships if you take away the sea? All of it.

Ships would find themselves suspended kilometres above the sea floor, the air above them rushing down to fill the vacuum left by disappearing oceans. The seafloor leaping up when the weight of the water is removed, deep sea fish suddenly exploding,… :D

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby tibfulv » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:35 pm UTC

Kethryes wrote:Wow thanks, I had never thought about checking the alt text, lots of easter eggs hidden there!
Damn, now I have to re-read all the what-ifs!


Not at all. Good thing we found out before there were hundreds of them, though.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Max™ » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:21 pm UTC

mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

Spoiler:
Image

Image


Pardon the furry stuff at the bottoms, great exploration of different axial tilts/ocean levels... and then he goes all weird into "thus: intelligent animals" land.
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Feb 21, 2013 4:33 am UTC

Max™ wrote:
mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

Spoiler:
Image

The difficulty of reading the topology of that map thus colored was bothering me, so here' a recolored version that I think is much easier to read:

Spoiler:
INVMAP.png
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby huangho » Thu Feb 21, 2013 5:15 am UTC

tibfulv wrote:Indeed. HTML isn't the most difficult source to go through, particularly not src as neat and readable as this. It's not PostScript, or something Word-generated. Or RTF, but now I'm just showing off ....


Or you can use a text-mode browser such as lynx, or set the browser not to load images.

EDIT: Even better, type this in the address bar:

Code: Select all

javascript:(function(){ h = document.getElementsByTagName("img"); for (i=0; i<h.length; i++) h.item(i).title = h.item(i).alt; })()


Then you can read the alt text as if it were the title text (because now it is).

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Max™ » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:05 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Max™ wrote:
mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

Spoiler:
Image

The difficulty of reading the topology of that map thus colored was bothering me, so here' a recolored version that I think is much easier to read:

Spoiler:
INVMAP.png

Nice fix, but you agree it's a neat idea to examine I assume.
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby ijuin » Thu Feb 21, 2013 8:57 am UTC

Oktalist wrote:I had no idea bacteria were so big!

Big? E Coli bacteria are about three to four microns long. By comparison, human red blood cells are seven to eight microns wide.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Thu Feb 21, 2013 9:14 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Max™ wrote:
mishka wrote:What would happen if you removed all of the continents from the ocean?

Spoiler:
Image

The difficulty of reading the topology of that map thus colored was bothering me, so here' a recolored version that I think is much easier to read:

Spoiler:
INVMAP.png


Great, thanks! And yeah, interesting idea.


Pfhorrest wrote:EDIT: Even better, type this in the address bar:

Code:
javascript:(function(){ h = document.getElementsByTagName("img"); for (i=0; i<h.length; i++) h.item(i).title = h.item(i).alt; })()


Then you can read the alt text as if it were the title text (because now it is).


Hmm... chrome seems to block the "javascript:" part, but you can enter it manually (or better, copy it as "avascript:" and just add "j"

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Klear » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:25 pm UTC

I finally got to reading all the hidden text in the old what-ifs.

I like the descriptions of somebody standing on a platform with machineguns underneath and the pilot of interplanetary cessna being dragged to the plane: "you will not go to space today" and "I do not want to go to space today"

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:26 am UTC

Talk of the size to which bacteria grow makes me nostalgic for Fringe.
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Fire Brns » Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:31 am UTC

ijuin wrote:
Oktalist wrote:I had no idea bacteria were so big!

Big? E Coli bacteria are about three to four microns long. By comparison, human red blood cells are seven to eight microns wide.

I always thought microscopic was much smaller. Now I'm scared at just how big microscopic is.
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby arnoldus » Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:14 am UTC

2 questions:

- the quote "Sometime in the last few years, we reached a point where there are, by weight, more ships in the ocean than fish.":
Why by weight and not by mass? Or are they interchangeable in this context?

- What does happen when a ship sinks? Its water displacement goes from mass to volume, right?
All the air leaves, so its mass falls, and water rushes in, diminishing its volume, so its water displacement goes down? That means that the water level falls?

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Pfhorrest » Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:28 pm UTC

arnoldus wrote:- the quote "Sometime in the last few years, we reached a point where there are, by weight, more ships in the ocean than fish.":
Why by weight and not by mass? Or are they interchangeable in this context?

Since we're talking about things in a common gravity field, yeah, they're exchangeable enough here. (Or at least a value for one entails a value for the other; for any real work you'll still need to convert units appropriately).

- What does happen when a ship sinks? Its water displacement goes from mass to volume, right?
All the air leaves, so its mass falls, and water rushes in, diminishing its volume, so its water displacement goes down? That means that the water level falls?

An object in a fluid displaces its mass in fluid up to the limit of its volume in fluid, at which point it sinks. With things like ships, or a glass in your sink, you've got the odd factor that its apparent volume is larger than its true volume because the fluid has no way of flowing into its interior until it's sufficiently submerged. So, if we consider the glass of water in your sink: you put a tall glass bottom-down on the surface of a sink full of water, and hold it down in the water and keep it upright with the end of a long utensil of some sort. As you push down further (effectively adding mass to it), the water level in the sink rises. Then right as the top of the glass submerges some water will flow into the glass, and the water level in the sink will drop.

Also, I saw this on imgur the other day and it reminded me of the inversion tangent earlier in this thread:

Image
Let's play spot the bathymetric errors! This should be fun!
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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby ijuin » Thu Mar 07, 2013 9:09 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Let's play spot the bathymetric errors! This should be fun!

Well, first of all, since prevailing winds blow from west to east, there should be desert EAST of that mountain range on the east side of the Hawaiian Lakes. Also, where's the Mid-Atlantic Canyon (Ridge in our world)?


Fire Brns wrote:I always thought microscopic was much smaller. Now I'm scared at just how big microscopic is.

Anton Von Leewenhoek's own microscope only magnified things about 40 times, and he was still able to discover one-celled creatures with it. Your average bacterium is only about twenty to thirty times smaller than the limit of 20/20 vision. The waves of light that we see with (400-700 nanometers) are only about two hundred times smaller than the limit of 20/20 vision, which is why magnification above two thousand times is useless with a visible-light microscope.

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Re: What-If 0033: Ships

Postby Red Hal » Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:40 pm UTC

While we're on the subject, the Marianas Arc mountain range does not appear to be snow-capped, despite being taller than the Kilimanjaro depression is deep.
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