Page 1 of 3

1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 4:54 pm UTC
by Wee Red Bird
Image
Title Text: In the future, every single pipeline will lead to the bowl of a giant blender, and we'll all just show up with a bucket each day to take our share of the resulting smoothie.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:09 pm UTC
by Celeste
I'm wondering if the size of the public water pipe corresponds to consumption or the actual capacity of the system. And if it's consumption, how much goes to fighting fires vs. more ordinary uses?

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:13 pm UTC
by heatsink
I'm trying to switch from soda to saliva, but I can't find any stores that carry it.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:38 pm UTC
by ayryq
The flow rate assumption seems like an awfully big one.

Could someone clarify: Is the upper chart "actual size" or the lower one?

Edit: My best guess is "the upper one" and the human has been given for scale in the lower chart.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:39 pm UTC
by jc
Celeste wrote:I'm wondering if the size of the public water pipe corresponds to consumption or the actual capacity of the system. And if it's consumption, how much goes to fighting fires vs. more ordinary uses?


Most of it goes to crops in dry areas.

But my main thought was that, if the "public water" is included in the smoothie, it looks like it'd be barely distinguishable from plain water. Yeah, it might be a bit dirtier than (most of) the urban water supply systems deliver to our homes, but probably a lot cleaner that almost all of our rivers. Even the "natural" and "unspoiled" ones. Remember W.C. Field's famous comment “I never drink water, fish shit in it.” I noticed that the comic's public water pipe in fact contains a fish, which I wonder is a reference to Fields' comment.

The "glass" pipe does remind me of the probioticamerica.com ad that's been showing up on FB lately, showing assorted foods being dropped into a blender and splattering all over, ending with a light bulb that sends tiny glass fragments flying. I wonder if it'd actually be practical to deliver glass via pipeline. It'd take a bit of energy to keep the pipe warm enough to prevent a chunk of solid glass appearing somewhere along the line. But we do pipe petroleum out of permafrost areas, so maybe it'd work.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:39 pm UTC
by speising
I would assume, the one that bears the label "actual size".

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:40 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
ayryq wrote:The flow rate assumption seems like an awfully big one.

Could someone clarify: Is the upper chart "actual size" or the lower one?


Unless your computer screen is very large, or you are very small, the person in the lower chart is not anything like "actual size"...

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:41 pm UTC
by ayryq
rmsgrey wrote:Unless your computer screen is very large, or you are very small, the person in the lower chart is not anything like "actual size"...


For an XKCD-person (is there a name for such a being?) it's actually quite large.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:42 pm UTC
by speising
What i'm wondering is, how sugar ended up in a chart on fluids.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:47 pm UTC
by ayryq
speising wrote:What i'm wondering is, how sugar ended up in a chart on fluids.

It's for the coffee.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 5:52 pm UTC
by CharlieBing
With al those liquids pumping through those pipelines, I was half expecting one for pee...

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:05 pm UTC
by Cygnwulf
CharlieBing wrote:With al those liquids pumping through those pipelines, I was half expecting one for pee...

Maybe I'm wierd, but I think it would be interesting to see how the public water size compares to the public sewer size.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:39 pm UTC
by airdrik
Cygnwulf wrote:
CharlieBing wrote:With al those liquids pumping through those pipelines, I was half expecting one for pee...

Maybe I'm wierd, but I think it would be interesting to see how the public water size compares to the public sewer size.

I was similarly disappointed that there wasn't a 3rd level for larger-scale things that are comparable to public water (or at least in between petroleum and public water), including e.g. public sewers, trash (recycling), total produced/consumed goods, Amazon delivery, USPS, humans (rate of change in the total mass of all humans in the U.S.), etc. (granted several of those would probably show up on the 2nd or even 1st levels).

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:51 pm UTC
by fatunga
CharlieBing wrote:With al those liquids pumping through those pipelines, I was half expecting one for pee...


Once I got over the initial "ew...saliva!?" reaction, I started wondering: why saliva, but not pee or sweat; and what about mucus and pus?

EDIT: not to mention blood and tears...

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:53 pm UTC
by J%r
Too bad that beer pipeline doesn't run under my house.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:02 pm UTC
by rhomboidal
I'm guesstimating that the printer ink by volume costs more than all the others combined.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:21 pm UTC
by J%r
rhomboidal wrote:I'm guesstimating that the printer ink by volume costs more than all the others combined.

Any idea how much human milk would cost if you could buy it? I don't think it's that cheap to milk.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:37 pm UTC
by cryptoengineer
J%r wrote:
rhomboidal wrote:I'm guesstimating that the printer ink by volume costs more than all the others combined.

Any idea how much human milk would cost if you could buy it? I don't think it's that cheap to milk.


You just don't know where to shop :-)

Reputable banks charge around $4/ounce, which is pretty damn expensive. There are cheaper sources, but the quality and safety can
be iffy.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:41 pm UTC
by speedysam0
Cement in the comic could be correct or it could be wrong, depending on if he used the correct definition for cement. Cement is powder that binds when hydrated with water, Portland Cement Concrete or Concrete is the the building material that is cement mixed with fine aggregate(sand), Coarse aggregate(gravel), and water to make concrete. Don't ask me why they are called cement trucks when they carry concrete, it confuses me too.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:06 pm UTC
by dp2
jc wrote:Remember W.C. Field's famous comment “I never drink water, fish shit in it.” I noticed that the comic's public water pipe in fact contains a fish, which I wonder is a reference to Fields' comment.

To reference the quote as I've heard it, there would have to be two fish, one of each sex.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:10 pm UTC
by freezeblade
dp2 wrote:
jc wrote:Remember W.C. Field's famous comment “I never drink water, fish shit in it.” I noticed that the comic's public water pipe in fact contains a fish, which I wonder is a reference to Fields' comment.

To reference the quote as I've heard it, there would have to be two fish, one of each sex.

I think that was done by George Carlin, but I could be wrong, and am too lazy to google it.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:38 pm UTC
by Mikeski
Surprising result: we use more cement than beer? (More cement than all drinkable alcohols combined, apparently?)

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:32 pm UTC
by Soupspoon
Mikeski wrote:Surprising result: we use more cement than beer? (More cement than all drinkable alcohols combined, apparently?)

For the shoes and overcoats of the people who can't pay their bar tabs?

(The biggest question I have is how they get/maintain the flow of the silly putty.)

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:08 pm UTC
by da Doctah
[quote="Celeste"if it's consumption, how much goes to fighting fires vs. more ordinary uses?[/quote]

I.e., maintaining golf courses.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:17 pm UTC
by entropomorphic
Fun idea! I tried calculating eggs: a 21 cm diameter pipeline. I looks to be about as big as for wine, ice cream, or corn syrup; sounds about right.

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2*sqrt((us+egg+consumption+%2F+density+of+egg)+%2F+(4+meters+per+second+*+pi))

Did I do that right?

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:55 pm UTC
by puppysized
I read "Meat (mostly solid)" as "Meat (mostly squid)". Why have I not heard of these squid farms before?!

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:18 pm UTC
by Reecer6
This must be what they call the "American melting pot."

entropomorphic wrote:Fun idea! I tried calculating eggs: a 21 cm diameter pipeline. I looks to be about as big as for wine, ice cream, or corn syrup; sounds about right.

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2*sqrt((us+egg+consumption+%2F+density+of+egg)+%2F+(4+meters+per+second+*+pi))

Did I do that right?


Looks right to me. And now I can find that we use a pipe less than one meter in diameter for our bread production (Somewhere around bottled water size)! Disappointing.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:36 pm UTC
by rmsgrey
Reecer6 wrote:This must be what they call the "American melting pot."

entropomorphic wrote:Fun idea! I tried calculating eggs: a 21 cm diameter pipeline. I looks to be about as big as for wine, ice cream, or corn syrup; sounds about right.

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=2*sqrt((us+egg+consumption+%2F+density+of+egg)+%2F+(4+meters+per+second+*+pi))

Did I do that right?


Looks right to me. And now I can find that we use a pipe less than one meter in diameter for our bread production (Somewhere around bottled water size)! Disappointing.


That's a sizable baguette...

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:13 am UTC
by ijuin
How fast are the fluids flowing through these pipelines? At the speed of sound like the Niagara straw in the "what if" entry?

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:20 am UTC
by Znirk
Like the image says, about 4 m/s.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:26 am UTC
by Mikeski
Soupspoon wrote:(The biggest question I have is how they get/maintain the flow of the silly putty.)

A pump, powered by Slinkys walking down an "up" escalator. Obviously.

da Doctah wrote:
Celeste wrote:if it's consumption, how much goes to fighting fires vs. more ordinary uses?

I.e., maintaining golf courses.

The US Department of the Interior (which deals with everything that's outside) publishes some data about that. In millions of gallons per day:

Thermoelectric power generation: 161,000 (45%)
Irrigation: 115,000 (32%)
Public supply: 42,000 (12%)

Self-supplied industrial: 15,900
Aquaculture: 9,420
Mining: 5,320
Self-supplied domestic: 3,600
Livestock: 2,000

Other linked documents say firefighting is a part of "public supply". Golf courses are included in "irrigation".

Breakdowns of firefighting vs. toilet-flushing vs. small industry usage vs. other things would vary by state and city, but I didn't see that info in a 10-minute search. I'd guess firefighting and golf-course irrigation are tiny percentages of the overall numbers.

It's hard to math out the firefighting, but I doubt it's more than a rounding error on the total, or I'd get an extra line item for it on my utility bill, like I do for "electricity for street lights".

Wikipedia says we have 922 million acres of farmland, and other sites say we have 18,000 golf courses at an average of 150 acres each, so about 2.7 million acres of golfcourse. 0.3% of the irrigation area is golf courses, and most of that (rough, sand traps, water hazards) needs little or no irrigation. So for the sake of round numbers, I'll guess golf course turf needs 10x as much water as a food crop, but only 1/3 of the area needs irrigation, so golf courses are about 1% of the irrigation total, or 1/3% of all the water we use.

California is about 12% of our population and 4% of our surface area (5% of the lower 48 states), but they use 15% of our public-supply water and 20% of our irrigation water. (Clickbaity-Slatey data on CA usage here... 10% of all CA water is used to grow almonds. 15% to grow alfalfa (which is livestock food). 30% of that alfalfa is ... shipped overseas? So low-flow toilets mean Japanese cows get to eat more!)

puppysized wrote:I read "Meat (mostly solid)" as "Meat (mostly squid)". Why have I not heard of these squid farms before?!

That would explain how the meat flows down a pipe so easily, though!

I misread the tiny light-colored "m/s" as a percent sign at first, and was wondering why I had never heard of pipeline flows described in percentages of something before...

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:17 am UTC
by BobSquirrelKing
Celeste wrote:I'm wondering if the size of the public water pipe corresponds to consumption or the actual capacity of the system. And if it's consumption, how much goes to fighting fires vs. more ordinary uses?

That's easy to figure out. You just have to calculate the radius of curvature, and use that to determine what the relative size of the water pipe would be to the other pipes. Then you just have to compare the data, and you can figure out how much water a pipe of that size is implying. Compare that to the data on how much water is used in the US, and you have your answer.

Simple :mrgreen:

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:48 am UTC
by Seraph
rmsgrey wrote:
ayryq wrote:The flow rate assumption seems like an awfully big one.

Could someone clarify: Is the upper chart "actual size" or the lower one?


Unless your computer screen is very large, or you are very small, the person in the lower chart is not anything like "actual size"...

Some quick work with a ruler suggests that my screen the top box is about 5.75" tall, and that the person in the 2nd box is about 12.5x taller then the mini-first box.
That makes the person in the 2nd box 6 feet tall, which doesn't seem like an unreasonable height to me.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 6:03 am UTC
by RogueCynic
Why isn't there a pipeline for dry ice?

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:01 am UTC
by Eebster the Great
How can there be so much more peanut butter than olive oil?

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:03 am UTC
by Wee Red Bird
Mikeski wrote:Surprising result: we use more cement than beer? (More cement than all drinkable alcohols combined, apparently?)

Drink the wrong one and you'll be stoned.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 8:32 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
Mikeski wrote:Surprising result: we use more cement than beer? (More cement than all drinkable alcohols combined, apparently?)

Makes sense to me. Cement presumably has a much lower alcohol content, so you have to drink a lot more of it for the same effect.

Also, can we use the saliva pipe to fill up a swimming pool? Or possibly push the saliva to some considerable fraction of the speed of light and destroy the world with it?

Oh, and, I like my "all household liquids combined" smoothie with chunky glass, please.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:16 am UTC
by Wee Red Bird
CharlieBing wrote:With al those liquids pumping through those pipelines, I was half expecting one for pee...

It does say 'consumed'. You'll be swallowing your own saliva, and a bit from anyone you snog, so it counts as consumed.

I don't know what the national statistics are for consumption of pee, but guessing its relatively low.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:37 am UTC
by Soupspoon
Mikeski wrote:I'd guess firefighting and golf-course irrigation are tiny percentages of the overall numbers.
Get me the figures for fires on golf-courses... naow!

RogueCynic wrote:Why isn't there a pipeline for dry ice?
There is, but it's hidden by a mysterious mist.

Re: 1649: "Pipelines"

Posted: Tue Mar 01, 2016 9:37 am UTC
by eviloatmeal
Wee Red Bird wrote:It does say 'consumed'.

'Produced or consumed' is what it says.