What-If 0004: "A Mole of Moles"

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Max™ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:04 pm UTC

amorya wrote:
Vroomfundel wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:One thing not covered in the article(?): what would happen on Earth, once we got our meaty new MMM? What impacts would it have in tides, sunlight, etc? Would it be better or worse for human kind than a ring of moles, as suggested above?



And most importantly - is the stench going to reach us?


That smell could be anything; a faulty stench coil, some cheese on the lens, who knows?

A smell-o-scope? That's preposterous!
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Alsadius » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:18 pm UTC

sehkzychic wrote:As a biologist, my first search after finishing the article was to look for bigger moles. "Really, Evolution? 75 grams? You can do better." As it turns out, the Russian desman (Desmana moschata) is the largest species of mole still alive. (I suspect that there were some larger moles, or talpids, as they are called [family Talpidae] around during the Paleogene, but I didn't find any documentation for this.*) D. moschata is positively huge compared to the Eastern mole, weighing in at about 520 grams. This may seem small and/or irrelevant, but this is an order of magnitude more massive (for values of 7 = 10). If my biologist brain is doing the right math right, we have 3.13x10^23 kg of talpids congregating in space now. That means 10 times the gravitational pull. But because the mole minor planet is twice as big in radius (assuming cube-root of 10 = 2), the surface gravity should be one quarter as strong. The two changes combine to effect a net increase of 2.5 times greater surface gravity. (Physicists, correct me if I'm wrong please.**) It's up to you if this makes a difference, but I think the 10-fold increase in mass would have interesting effects on the moles, the minor planet itself, and probably on Earth.

*
Spoiler:
Naturally, any scientific search about moles results in random hits throughout science where the text includes moles-the-unit. Makes me wonder how those who research moles search the literature, lol.

**
Spoiler:
Well, correct me if I'm doing the whole thing wrong...if my approximations are too squishy for you, deal with it. :wink:


You're basically right. A planet the same density but 7x more massive will have 7x the volume, (7^1/3)x the radius, and 7/((7^1/3)^2) = (7^1/3)x the surface gravity. That's about a factor of 1.91. It'd probably be over 2 due to compression, though.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby UnstableMongoose » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:30 pm UTC

In the words of the cleverest freshman I know, they form a "planetismole."

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Mikeski » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:54 am UTC

"plumes of hot meat"

...I expect pr0n spam with this as the subject in 2 months, tops.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Eternal Density » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:58 am UTC

When I tried to access the forum after reading this what-if, my internet decided to be uncooperative and brought forth a DNS lookup failure. Or was it caused by reddit moles?
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Max™ » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:03 am UTC

Note, do no, I repeat do not look for sub-reddits involving "plumes of hot mole meat"... :shock:
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby VectorZero » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:14 am UTC

What if the mole of moley moles had been infiltrated by a moley vole mole, sending back moley mole secrets to its moley voley mole lair?
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby PM 2Ring » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:52 am UTC

This planetismole of hot mole meat needs to be accompanied by 6.022 x 1023 avocados...
Spoiler:
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Dave » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:08 pm UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:
Invisiblemoose wrote:I think star-nosed moles are adorable. :(

You are a moose, so your opinion on this matter is irrelevant. :mrgreen:


Who are you talking to? :|

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby PolakoVoador » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:25 pm UTC

Dave wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:
Invisiblemoose wrote:I think star-nosed moles are adorable. :(

You are a moose, so your opinion on this matter is irrelevant. :mrgreen:


Who are you talking to? :|


Didn't you hear that disembodied voice that totally sounds like a moose? :shock:

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby MarvinM » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

I wonder if moles are slippery enough to act as a fluid on a large scale. I'm thinking molar tides and molar tsunamis. Right now Kevin Costner is digitally replacing water with moles to cash in on the outrage of digging for mole oil and meat diamonds.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 5:11 pm UTC

Rock is "fluid enough" to have tides, albeit smaller ones than you get in oceans.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Cyberax » Thu Jul 26, 2012 10:39 pm UTC

The picture on What-If page is totally wrong.

First, you don't NEED bacteria to extract energy by anaerobic processes, bacteria act only as a catalyst. It will happen just fine by itself at high enough temperatures. So the core of the "mole planet" would certainly be quite chemically active, back-of-the napkin calculation shows that more than enough energy to boil the whole planet would be released and that'll likely sterilize it (though some bacterial spores might survive and recolonize the mole planet once it cools down).

Another interesting calculation - how much energy from gravitational compression would be liberated? Let's assume that the mole planet consists of pure water (close enough approximation for our purposes). At T0 the water is uncompressed and then the compression starts driven by water's own gravity.

The bulk modulus of water is 2.2*10^9 Pa or in other words, you need around 20MPa of pressure to reduce water's volume by 1%. The radius of the planet is 2200km surface gravity of the mole planet is around 0.6m/s^2. So the average pressure on the infinitesimal volume of water would be about 660MPa (if I've not messed up the integration). That's enough to force the water contract by about 30% (probably less, because bulk modulus increases with the pressure).

Gravitational binding energy is U=3*G*M^2/(5*r) so the 10% contraction would result in liberation of: 4*10^27Joules of energy. Or 83kJ per kilogram of the mole planet - enough to heat water by about 20 degrees. So that's close to Randall's estimate, but it's very back-of-the-napkin. A factor of 2 in the amount of contraction would result in more than 200kJ per kilogram - more than enough to kill most of the bacteria.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:17 pm UTC

Cyberax wrote:The bulk modulus of water is 2.2*10^9 Pa or in other words, you need around 20MPa of pressure to reduce water's volume by 1%. The radius of the planet is 2200km surface gravity of the mole planet is around 0.6m/s^2. So the average pressure on the infinitesimal volume of water would be about 660MPa (if I've not messed up the integration). That's enough to force the water contract by about 30% (probably less, because bulk modulus increases with the pressure).
But the pressure isn't that high everywhere, so it won't contract that much throughout, even if we do treat the bulk modulus as constant over the relevant range of pressures.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Yakk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:32 pm UTC

The pressure would drop linearly with height, which gives you an n-dimensional pseudo-cone volume to integrate (n=4?) The original approximation is that for a 4 dimensional Cylinder (with sphere endpoints).

Sphere volume grows with the cube, so integral( k x^3 )[0,b] / integral( k b^3 )[0,b] = 1/4, or the amount of compression would be 1/4 that approximated by assuming uniform compression at the highest amount. Wait, maybe n=3, because we care about shells not spheres -- which gives us 1/3 the amount of compression. Well, the two are close enough for physics work.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:40 pm UTC

Yakk wrote:Well, the two are close enough for physics work.
Basically a factor of 1/pi, then? Say, 20%?
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Max™ » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:43 pm UTC

I love you guys, this is one of the only non-RPG boards I've been at where I do not feel in any way outside the geeky average.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Yakk » Thu Jul 26, 2012 11:58 pm UTC

Ah -- in any case, while density factor = 1/(1-compression factor), if compression factor is smallish that is pretty linear in behavior.

So if we have the average compression factor via the average pressure, calculating the average increase in density won't be so far off as to be useless.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jul 27, 2012 12:12 am UTC

Incidentally, for the "moles are basically all water" approximation, there's an old thread about that.

From rereading that I see that a water planet only slightly larger than the mole of moles (i.e. equivalent to one made from slightly larger moles) would start to form a solid center at around 2500km radius.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby VanI » Fri Jul 27, 2012 2:42 am UTC

PolakoVoador wrote:
Dave wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:
Invisiblemoose wrote:I think star-nosed moles are adorable. :(

You are a moose, so your opinion on this matter is irrelevant. :mrgreen:


Who are you talking to? :|


Didn't you hear that disembodied voice that totally sounds like a moose? :shock:


To a blind person, all voices are disembodied, and a disturbingly large number of them do, in fact, sound like a moose.

PS, I'm not actually blind.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby brakos82 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:35 am UTC

VanI wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:
Dave wrote:
PolakoVoador wrote:
Invisiblemoose wrote:I think star-nosed moles are adorable. :(

You are a moose, so your opinion on this matter is irrelevant. :mrgreen:


Who are you talking to? :|


Didn't you hear that disembodied voice that totally sounds like a moose? :shock:


To a blind person, all voices are disembodied, and a disturbingly large number of them do, in fact, sound like a moose.

PS, I'm not actually blind.


Well I'm not actually a moose.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby VanI » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:41 am UTC

brakos82 wrote:
VanI wrote:To a blind person, all voices are disembodied, and a disturbingly large number of them do, in fact, sound like a moose.

PS, I'm not actually blind.


Well I'm not actually a moose.


You certainly sound like one!
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby brakos82 » Fri Jul 27, 2012 4:58 am UTC

VanI wrote:
brakos82 wrote:
VanI wrote:To a blind person, all voices are disembodied, and a disturbingly large number of them do, in fact, sound like a moose.

PS, I'm not actually blind.


Well I'm not actually a moose.


You certainly sound like one!


...or am I?
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby mutercim » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:01 am UTC

"It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"Meat. It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. It's completely meat."

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby najodleglejszy » Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:52 am UTC

am I the only one who stopped questioning Randall for long enough to fall in love with "googling star-nosed mole" strip?

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby ubel » Sun Jul 29, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

najodleglejszy wrote:am I the only one who stopped questioning Randall for long enough to fall in love with "googling star-nosed mole" strip?

Haha, yes :) After that, I felt like I was just along for the ride.

In all seriousness though: FINALLY, a solution to our oil shortage.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby petz » Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:19 am UTC

ElWanderer wrote:
peewee_RotA wrote:"One pound is one kilogram"
Am I missing something?

He's not saying they're equal, just that they're the same level of magnitude, for the purposes of a rough back-of-a-napkin approximation.


You only have to divide by 2 is not really an approximation for me.

1 kilogram = 2 pounds, everyone learns that in school.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:02 pm UTC

And 2 is less than half an order of magnitute, so if you round down it's 1.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Mike Rosoft » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:59 pm UTC

Linguistic trivia:
This could also work in Czech; "mol molů" would mean "a mole of moths". (Naturally, this will reduce the total mass by a couple of orders of magnitude.)

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Delcan » Tue Jul 31, 2012 8:49 pm UTC

I can't believe I had to register a username and make my first post as a lurker here simply because between all the science and punnery, nobody - nobody - asked whether or not this meat planetoid would generate a moleten core.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby GulliNL » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:41 am UTC

Mike Rosoft wrote:Linguistic trivia:
This could also work in Czech; "mol molů" would mean "a mole of moths". (Naturally, this will reduce the total mass by a couple of orders of magnitude.)

Mike Rosoft

This also works in Dutch;

Mol = Burrowing rodent, the SI unit, an infiltrator.

Also in music a dutch 'mol' is a note half a step down, like the flat in 'b flat', and that is sometimes referred to as 'Bemolle' \o/
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby VectorZero » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:43 am UTC

Delcan wrote:I can't believe I had to register a username and make my first post as a lurker here simply because between all the science and punnery, nobody - nobody - asked whether or not this meat planetoid would generate a moleten core.
Well played, sir.

Mmm, planet sized mole meat candies with a gooey core. Irresistable to any dark space eldritch horror.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby mgbeach » Fri Aug 10, 2012 2:48 pm UTC

On approximations..

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http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2679#comic

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby webgrunt » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:14 pm UTC

Some of these "What-ifs" of Randall's are candidates for the most interesting things I've ever seen. And I'm pushing 50.

If I was a billionaire, I'd buy a cable channel and hire Randall to oversee all the programming on it. Every show would be created and/or overseen by him. He would have complete control.

I bet it would make money, but even if it didn't, it would still be the best channel ever.

REAL science combined with really GOOD entertainment.

Sorry if this seems a bit butt-kissy but I just found the "what-if" section and it's just frigging terrific!!

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby webgrunt » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:17 pm UTC

mutercim wrote:"It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"Meat. It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. It's completely meat."


Excellent reference. Thank you for reminding me of that story!

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby bmonk » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:03 pm UTC

webgrunt wrote:
mutercim wrote:"It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"Meat. It's made out of meat."
"Meat?"
"There's no doubt about it. We picked up several different parts of the planet, took them aboard our recon vessels, and probed them all the way through. It's completely meat."


Excellent reference. Thank you for reminding me of that story!

I had never heard of it before. Thank you!

I guess I'm one of the lucky 10k today! :D
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby jacchops » Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:12 pm UTC

"… if anyone asks, I did not tell you it was ok to do math like this."

Graphical tricks worked for Nicole Oresme*; they can work for you, too.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby sehkzychic » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:32 am UTC

gmalivuk wrote:And 2 is less than half an order of magnitute, so if you round down it's 1.


True, but when you're talking about a planet made of a mole of things, a factor of 2 is totally relevant. The idea of "an order of magnitude" is probably an artifact of tetrapods having 5 digits as a basal condition. Assuming our math is universal, base-6 or base-12 seems more useful. At the very least, 10 is arbitrarily defined. Doubling is intrinsically more valid as a comparison than dectupling.

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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby Xenomortis » Fri Jun 20, 2014 10:47 am UTC

Yeah, but he's working on the principle "if the number of digits my estimate has is similar to the number of digits the real answer has, it's pretty good" and we work in base 10.
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Re: What-If 0004: A Mole of Moles

Postby gmalivuk » Fri Jun 20, 2014 12:18 pm UTC

For any integer base greater than 4, the number of pounds per kilogram can be rounded to 1 for order-of-magnitude approximations.
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