Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fun with (caffeinated) numbers...

I saw this post on Slashdot earlier:

This is a student project so the correct unit of energy is a "Library of Congress Stacked with Red Bull Instead of Books."

Now, you may convert that into Joules, if you care to.

I couldn't pass up that challenge...

The Library of Congress has 1,199km of shelf space.
A Red Bull can is 52mm in diameter.
A 250ml Red Bull can contains 481kJ of energy.

Doing the sums, I made the following estimate.

Assuming a single row of cans: 23,057,692 cans, and 1.109x10^13 Joules.

If we have a nominal shelf depth of, say, 250mm - let's call it 5 rows of cans - we get 115,288,461 cans, and 5.545x10^13 Joules.

For comparison, a kiloton of TNT releases 4.184 terajoules, so a Library of Congress of Red Bull contains the equivalent of about 13.25 kilotons of TNT - about 1 Hiroshima Bomb, give or take.

Fascinating stuff.

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