## 1103: "Nine"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

bmonk
Posts: 662
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:14 pm UTC
Location: Schitzoed in the OTT between the 2100s and the late 900s. Hoping for singularity.

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

jqavins wrote:... Which is why
speising wrote:they also say "Never attempt to microwave a turkey that is larger than twelve to fourteen pounds or that is too large for your microwave," both of which would probably be violated by a 24lb monster.

is right.

In a conventional oven, the heat flowing into a stuffed turkey all enters at the surface and reaches the middle by conduction. In a microwave oven, the heat is generated inside the food, but only a short way inside, since the microwaves are absorbed by the food before penetrating very far. For relatively thin things like TV dinners, the penetration is deep enough to go through for all intents and purposes. But for a large bulky item like a turkey, heat has to reach the middle by conduction just like in a conventional oven. So the first calculation, scaling time by weight alone, is bogus.

The second one is closer; if a(n assumed reliable) source says 9-10 minutes per pound at half power then I can buy that up to a point. The time includes the time required for heat to be conducted all the way through, so halving the time by doubling the power is still wrong; you'd overcook the outside before that time is up. And if the weight is really large, it's plausible that you'd have the same problem even at half power. (Which is the same reason that a really big bird in a regular oven is usually done at a low temperature.)

So, if some other (assumed reliable) source says don't go over 12lb, I'd believe it. Maybe you could do it by reducing the power still further, but then it would take so long to cook that you might as well use the conventional oven. Which is as it should be when the time requirement is mainly driven by the thermal conduction rate.

You can trust that this is absolutely authoritative, because I'm some guy on the internet.

Back in the '60s we got an early "Electronic Oven" made by GE--although they would never admit to it, but we had the monster in our kitchen as proof--with a full size oven with both conventional and microwave elements--it cut the cooking time for turkeys, even big ones, down by about 1/3--and they were consequently always moist.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

etherial
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

bmonk wrote:Besides, 2:00 is an odd time--you have to find the 0 after hitting 2. going 1:59 has the numbers all in a row.

When building my house, I scanned the GE catalog. I bought their second-highest-end microwave, because although the high-end microwave had a halogen cooktop light, it had the UI where you had to manually enter the time (e.g. 2-0-0), and if you wanted one-touch cooking (e.g. 2 = 2 minutes), it was buried in a menu. I boggle at people who willingly buy microwaves where you have to manually enter the time. Therefore, the three most commonly used buttons on my microwave are +30 seconds, 2, and 5.

Our common house has a microwave with a dial, but I find it to be much slower than one-touch.

etherial
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:44 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Coyne wrote:
Lenoxus wrote:In any case, it's clear that the ideal microwave would have something like a QR reader which would scan the box the food came in, and a screen that would deliver instructions for you.

I like the QR idea, too. That's really slick: Take the food out of the box and put it in, close the door, scan the box, press Start. No guessing how to adjust the time for your microwave; it should be possible to come up with a system that describes how the food needs to be cooked and the microwave could simply compute the time and power settings accordingly.

And to adjust for complex permittivity.

x86
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2012 9:38 am UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

flicky1991 wrote:Yep, I'm British. I've only seen microwaves with buttons on American TV shows.

No, they're not only in America I think. I'm from Germany and my grandparents have a 22 year old microwave from Bosch, which also has number buttons. You would enter 1 - 5 - 9 - [Start] to have it cook for 1:59. As in the comic.

But it seems most newer models come with a "digital dial" (knob with incremental encoder), for example mine (3 years old, cheap) or my parents' one, which is a 12 year old Bosch.

Coyne
Posts: 1109
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:07 am UTC
Location: Orlando, Florida
Contact:

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

etherial wrote:
Coyne wrote:
Lenoxus wrote:In any case, it's clear that the ideal microwave would have something like a QR reader which would scan the box the food came in, and a screen that would deliver instructions for you.

I like the QR idea, too. That's really slick: Take the food out of the box and put it in, close the door, scan the box, press Start. No guessing how to adjust the time for your microwave; it should be possible to come up with a system that describes how the food needs to be cooked and the microwave could simply compute the time and power settings accordingly.

And to adjust for complex permittivity.

This needs a microwave expert; I'm just speculating, but...

I didn't think of permittivity specifically, but I did think of size/shape. It should be possible to satisfactorily approximate those, for cooking purposes, in the form of a surface-to-volume ratio. (This has to do with the overall thickness, such that ham = high ratio; pizza = low.)

Basically, a high ratio would mean longer cooking times and/or more pauses to allow heat to soak through. For example, a whole ham and a chicken wing should have roughly the same permittivity, but the ham would have a much higher surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that home microwaves are not going to penetrate all the way into the ham.

So the QR would need to account for a whole series of things: STV ratio, permittivity, water content percentage, and overall mass, at least. More? I don't know. Probably the best way would be a web-based service, with the QR providing a link for the food item and the service providing adjusted cooking figures back to the microwave, based on its model.

Yes, that means a web connected microwave, but if they can justify it for a toaster...
In all fairness...

Thorbard9
Posts: 44
Joined: Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:42 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Coyne wrote:This needs a microwave expert; I'm just speculating, but...

I didn't think of permittivity specifically, but I did think of size/shape. It should be possible to satisfactorily approximate those, for cooking purposes, in the form of a surface-to-volume ratio. (This has to do with the overall thickness, such that ham = high ratio; pizza = low.)

Basically, a high ratio would mean longer cooking times and/or more pauses to allow heat to soak through. For example, a whole ham and a chicken wing should have roughly the same permittivity, but the ham would have a much higher surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that home microwaves are not going to penetrate all the way into the ham.

So the QR would need to account for a whole series of things: STV ratio, permittivity, water content percentage, and overall mass, at least. More? I don't know. Probably the best way would be a web-based service, with the QR providing a link for the food item and the service providing adjusted cooking figures back to the microwave, based on its model.

Yes, that means a web connected microwave, but if they can justify it for a toaster...

Or the QR code could just give; STV ratio, permitivity, water content and approx mass and the microwave calculates based on that.

It might also need to know if the item being heated is a liquid or solid and if it needs to break (for heat soak) or just prompt the user to stir. A frozen/thawed setting might be required for each item, but you could avoid being web connected at least.

Max™
Posts: 1792
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am UTC
Location: mu

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Coyne wrote:
etherial wrote:
Coyne wrote:
Lenoxus wrote:In any case, it's clear that the ideal microwave would have something like a QR reader which would scan the box the food came in, and a screen that would deliver instructions for you.

I like the QR idea, too. That's really slick: Take the food out of the box and put it in, close the door, scan the box, press Start. No guessing how to adjust the time for your microwave; it should be possible to come up with a system that describes how the food needs to be cooked and the microwave could simply compute the time and power settings accordingly.

And to adjust for complex permittivity.

This needs a microwave expert; I'm just speculating, but...

I didn't think of permittivity specifically, but I did think of size/shape. It should be possible to satisfactorily approximate those, for cooking purposes, in the form of a surface-to-volume ratio. (This has to do with the overall thickness, such that ham = high ratio; pizza = low.)

Basically, a high ratio would mean longer cooking times and/or more pauses to allow heat to soak through. For example, a whole ham and a chicken wing should have roughly the same permittivity, but the ham would have a much higher surface-to-volume ratio, indicating that home microwaves are not going to penetrate all the way into the ham.

So the QR would need to account for a whole series of things: STV ratio, permittivity, water content percentage, and overall mass, at least. More? I don't know. Probably the best way would be a web-based service, with the QR providing a link for the food item and the service providing adjusted cooking figures back to the microwave, based on its model.

Yes, that means a web connected microwave, but if they can justify it for a toaster...

Clearly we need artificially intelligent toasters...

mu

Pfhorrest
Posts: 5474
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

So long as they are brave little ones, I will be happy.
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

Max™
Posts: 1792
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am UTC
Location: mu

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Pfhorrest wrote:So long as they are brave little ones, I will be happy.

Not too brave, we don't want them starting a robot revolution...

...or do we? *eyes Pfhorrest suspiciously*
mu

thyunes
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:45 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

I wrote a blog post explaining how calculate adjusted cook times that minimize the gap between most-used and least-used digits. It even includes an Excel spreadsheet that enables anyone to do the same with their own starting set of cook times. Here it is: http://orbythebeach.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/adjusting-microwave-cook-times-with-or-inspired-by-an-xkcd-comic/

Yosarian2
Posts: 29
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:28 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

davidhbrown wrote:I like entering "99" when I want about a minute and a half. Probably doesn't work on all microwaves, but it's a bit faster to type.

Yeah, I always do this

vector010
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 9:17 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

I must have the lazy man's microwave. Most numbers above 5 are completely ignored unless I'm using the kitchen timer feature on it.

My microwave has "Quick start" for all buttons 1-5. Press the button and it instantly starts microwaving for that many minutes. The most used button though is "Popcorn" since I hardly ever use the microwave for anything else. Hitting the popcorn button twice is supposed to be the setting for a 3.0oz bag of popcorn, and it pretty much makes a perfect bag of microwave popcorn.

Even for values under one minute I just hit the 1 and open the door after the desired number of seconds have passed. LOL

bmonk
Posts: 662
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:14 pm UTC
Location: Schitzoed in the OTT between the 2100s and the late 900s. Hoping for singularity.

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Yosarian2 wrote:
davidhbrown wrote:I like entering "99" when I want about a minute and a half. Probably doesn't work on all microwaves, but it's a bit faster to type.

Yeah, I always do this

I'd use 88--closer to 1:30, and it uses the "8" button, which is probably even more lonely than the 9.
Having become a Wizard on n.p. 2183, the Yellow Piggy retroactively appointed his honorable self a Temporal Wizardly Piggy on n.p.1488, not to be effective until n.p. 2183, thereby avoiding a partial temporal paradox. Since he couldn't afford two philosophical PhDs to rule on the title.

Effy
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 5:29 am UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Weird I've always used 90 instead of 1:30 since this is the exact same thing. Although I guess that does mean I never us the '8'.

Eebster the Great
Posts: 3484
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Effy wrote:Weird I've always used 90 instead of 1:30 since this is the exact same thing. Although I guess that does mean I never us the '8'.

How about something that takes two and a half minutes? Would you type 1:90 or 2:30?

orthogon
Posts: 3099
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 am UTC
Location: The Airy 1830 ellipsoid

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Our (Daewoo) microwaves at work allow only the following cooking times: 20s, 40s, 1min, 3min, 5min, 15min, 30min. Can anyone identify the next number in the sequence? Would it make more sense if I knew more about Korean culture? The ratios are 2, 1.5, 3, 1.67, 3 and 2. Put another way, that's 1, 0.6, 1.6, 0.73 and 1.6 octaves. (Having said that, It had never occurred to me to heat something for 3 minutes before, but it's actually a pretty useful cooking time).
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

Klear
Posts: 1965
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 8:43 am UTC
Location: Prague

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

Ours has a dial =P

Flumble
Yes Man
Posts: 2261
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:35 pm UTC

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

orthogon wrote:Our (Daewoo) microwaves at work allow only the following cooking times: 20s, 40s, 1min, 3min, 5min, 15min, 30min. Can anyone identify the next number in the sequence? Would it make more sense if I knew more about Korean culture? The ratios are 2, 1.5, 3, 1.67, 3 and 2. Put another way, that's 1, 0.6, 1.6, 0.73 and 1.6 octaves. (Having said that, It had never occurred to me to heat something for 3 minutes before, but it's actually a pretty useful cooking time).

It's not unreasonable to divide the minute in thirds and then use factors of 3 and 5 and factors of 2 for the largest durations. Then again, where's the 10 minute setting? It would've been useful.
I assume the next setting is 1 hour. And if there's a setting after that, that must be 2 hours —only washing machines understand 1½ hours.

Eebster the Great
Posts: 3484
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2008 12:58 am UTC
Location: Cleveland, Ohio

### Re: 1103: "Nine"

The washers and driers at my apartment building refuse to run for longer than 45 minutes, meaning more often than not you end up with soggy, partially cleaned clothes.