I’m coming back, and want to stay.

Well, it’s been a couple years now since I’ve posted anything so if there’s any time to start fresh it’s now. Here’s my plan:

I’m making this post so that anyone who is following this blog and doesn’t want their feed to get more crowded can unfollow if they want. Attention would be nice, but I don’t want to impose on anyone.

The idea for this blog now is to provide answers to interesting questions using mathematics and the beautiful typesetting power of \TeX. Barring anything new, I plan on providing solutions to interesting problems in physics and mathematics. If that doesn’t keep you around then I’m sorry to see you go, but understand.

Now let’s get started.

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How many gallons of human blood are there?

For this we need to know how many people there are and the average amount of blood in each one. Unfortunately, I will be assuming that all humans are adult sized with an adult amount of blood, which I’m fairly sure is not the case, so the estimated value will be higher than the actual value by a fairly substantial amount.
Now then. As of January 3rd, 2014, the date which this was written, the Worldometers world population clock [1] put the total world population at about 7.204 billion people.
As for blood, hypertextbook [2] cites several scientific studies which have found that the amount of blood in the average adult is right around 5 liters (or about 5 quarts). This means that the average person has about 1.25 gallons of blood.
By multiplying the two results we find that the total amount of human blood is right around 9 billion gallons.
Using data from a 2010 Pew poll of world religions [3] we find that there are 2.8 billion gallons of Christian blood, 2.1 billion gallons of Muslim blood, 1.4 gallons of Hindu blood and only 18 million gallons of Jewish blood. (These numbers don’t add up to the total because of other religions and the 1.5 gallons of unaffiliated blood)

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How rich do I have to be in order to fill an Olympic swimming pool with pennies?

We need to know a few things for this answer, the volume of an Olympic swimming pool and the volume of the penny (US coin).

First of all, the FINA lists the dimensions of an Olympic swimming pool as such:

50 meters long by 25 meters wide by at least 2.0 meters deep [1]

Since the depth could conceivably be unlimited, we will use a depth of 2.0 meters, meaning that the total volume of an Olympic swimming pool is 2,500 cubic meters.

The US Mint gives the following specifications for a penny:

A diameter of 19.05 millimeters and a thickness of 1.52 millimeters [2]

This means that the US penny has a volume of 4.3323E-7 cubic meters

Using these results, we find that 5.771 billion pennies are needed to fill the pool, which all together are worth 57.7 million US dollars.

One more thing:

Forbes lists the worlds billionaires here, the richest people on Earth. Currently, Carlos Slim Helu and his family are listed at #1 with a net worth of about 73 billion US dollars. [3]

If they so desired, they could fill over 1200 Olympic swimming pools with pennies. So yeah.

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I doubt anyone still checks this, but I’m back.
I’ve decided to change the format of this blog, instead of pseudo-random facts and information about various subjects I will be posting various quantities of interest. The next few posts will show what I mean exactly.
Anyway, Happy New Year!

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Plutonium and an Announcement

Plutonium is element 94 and as such it has 94 protons in its nucleus. There are twenty known isotopes of plutonium with half-lifes ranging from 14 years (Pu-241) to 80 million years (Pu-244); there are no stable isotopes of plutonium, so it is only found naturally in trace amounts and most plutonium in use was created by human activity. The most obvious use of plutonium is in nuclear weapons, and the production of Pu-239 has made it the most abundant of the plutonium isotopes. The atomic bomb “Fat Man”, which was dropped on Nagasaki in 1945 used 6.2kg of plutonium, and 1-4kg of plutonium is considered to be all that is needed to build a well-designed nuclear device. Nuclear fuel is also a viable use of plutonium, the space probes Cassini, Voyager and New Horizons all use a plutonium, probably Pu-238, fuel source. Finally, if you ever have the opportunity to eat plutonium, don’t. Particulate plutonium can enter the lungs, where it decays and could cause radiation poisoning or cancer. Besides, plutonium tastes like metal.

Now, I’m off school for the next couple of months, so expect more Apocrypha. I don’t plan on setting up a formal schedule right now, but perhaps in the future I will. Anyway, have a great summer (or winter for you southern hemisphere people)


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What is weird?

So, I promised a post, and seeing as I will be spending 4-6 hours in a wheeled metal box traveling north at about twelve times the speed at which I can run on Sunday, and have other plans for Saturday, I figure now is as good a time as any. I’ve gotten into watching Ze Frank on YouTube. This is about the former, specifically a video entitled “Breaking Normal” where he talks about how otherwise normal things can be made so seem really weird when you describe them as accurately as possible without using the name of that thing. For instance, I am, right now, sitting on a white cushioned platform suspended approximately one and a half feet off the ground by four wooden posts. There is a wooden board attached to the platform such that I can recline at an angle of about 15 degrees from a vertical position, and there is another, uncushioned, wooden platform, wider and longer than the cushioned platform, suspended about two and a half feet off the ground by four more, slightly larger, wooden posts. The inside of the large uncushioned platform has a metal linkage so that, when the two ends of the platform are pulled apart, a gap can be opened in the middle of the platform so a slab of wood can be inserted or removed to change the length of the platform. So, when you really think about it, a table and chair can be weird…

Have a great spring.

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March 29, 2013 · 6:58 PM

The Quarter System, and My Return

So, part of the reason why I’ve ceased posting updates is college. Anyone who’s been in college will understand that it can be tough at times, especially with my case. I stopped posting updates around the same time finals were (the university I attend is on a quarter system so fall quarter was ending), and because I was consistently either missing or skipping posts that should have been up. Anyway, in my current situation, I have to take 19 credits next quarter, spring quarter, to get on track with my desired major.

Anyone who is watching will find a new post or two over spring break, which for me is in a couple of weeks and lasts a week, and I will be posting bi-weekly (Sundays and Wednesdays?) over my summer break.

Again, stay warm, stay safe, and stay awesome.


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An End to The Apocrypha

I’ve decided it’s not worth the effort to continue making new posts here. This blog isn’t getting the traffic I would have hoped for and I’ve been falling off schedule more and more lately. So, for now, I’m going away. I might come back, if my interest or yours is renewed. Until such time as that arrives, however, I will not be posting any new fun facts to The Apocrypha.

Goodbye, stay safe, happy browsing, and most of all DFTBA.

-Wesley (kogan56)

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Ghoti can either be silent or pronounced like “fish” or “goatee”, ghoti is an amalgam of parts of other English words, where gh from enough, o from women (plural) and ti from nation are combined to spell the word fish. Ghoti is one example of weirdness in English pronunciation which has been used to promote spelling reform in the English language. Silent ghoti uses gh from though, o from people, t from ballet, and i from business.

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Leap Years, Days and Seconds

2012 was a leap year, 2013 wasn’t, 2016 will be, 2014 won’t be, 2000 was and 1900 was not. Years are about 365 days long, but not exactly (measuring years is kind of hard to do and there are different ways of doing it, but a sidereal year is about 365.256363004 days long, and a tropical year is about 365.24219 days long, the difference is in the way the two are measured), and this difference between clean lengths of time like 365 days and the awkward 365.24219 days is enough to throw seasons off so that summer occurs in December. The Gregorian calendar uses a trick to adjust for this, adding a day to February. Normally, a year in the Gregorian calendar has 365 days, except for every fourth year (4, 8, 12, 16, …2004, 2008, 2012, 2016) which have 366 days. However, every 100th year (100, 200, 300, …2100, 2200, 2300) will not have a leap day, and thus have 365 days. Finally, every 400th year (400, 800, 1200, 1600, 2000, 2400) will have a leap day, and be 366 days long. This brings the average Gregorian calendar year to 365.2425 days long, not terribly different from the 365.24219 day long tropical year. Finally, leap seconds. The length of a day varies slightly, caused by gravitational forces on the Earth by the moon, sun, and other planets and usually only changes by a second, over the course of time. To keep the average length of a day as close to 86400 seconds as possible. Like leap years, leap seconds keep the rigid 86400 second day from drifting so 12-noon was sunset.

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