Game of Thrones has long made fans understand that no character is safe. George R. R. Martin seemingly kills any character which he sees, doing away with what’s expected and instead putting the characters through a meat grinder as we make our way to the eventual conclusion of the tale. There’s always lots of speculation about who’ll make it to end of each book and even who’ll still be alive by the time we see the end of book 7. It’s all just been theories on internet message boards with nothing to back it up beyond obscure clues and references within the various books themselves. (more…)
I’ll leave it to a math nerd to figure this out, there’s a good reason I’m a writer and, umm, not whatever a good math person would be. Every year Forbes magazine lists the top 15 richest fictional characters. The list this year includes C. Montgomery Burns, Bruce Wayne and Jed Clampett, but these guys are now where near the richest. The top rich dog is Carlisle Cullen, you know, from Twilight, with 34.1 billion. Admit it, you knew who he was, don’t be ashamed of your love for the teenage, angst-y, vampire novels. I guess living forever has it’s advantages when it comes to your investments.
But what about that dragon’s gold. Well, the math nerd whose part of compiling these rich fictional character lists took a crack at determining the worth of Smaug‘s loot. You might remember Smaug from such exciting adventures as The Hobbit, and umm, yeah just that one. Turns out Forbes‘, Michael Noer said it was easy to figure out Smaug’s worth, he explains,
The book describes Smaug as ‘vast,’ ‘centuries-old’ and of a ‘red-golden color.’ According to the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons’ site The Hypertext d20 SRD a true-dragon of that age and color measures around 64 feet from snout to tail. However, a great deal of that length is likely tail. By way of reference, Komodo Dragons are 70% tail by length, so we can estimate Smaug’s body to be approximately 19.2 feet long.
Dragons are long and narrow, so we can safely assume that Smaug can curl comfortably up on a treasure mound with same diameter as his body length—19.2 feet.
How high is the mound? Well, at one point in The Hobbit, Bilbo climbs up and over the mound, and we know that Hobbits are approximately three feet tall. Assuming the mound is twice the height of Bilbo, we can say that the mound has a height of approximately 6 feet—like a six foot tall man climbing over a 12-foot mound of coins; substantial but not insurmountable.
To keep the math relatively simple and to avoid complications like integrating the partial volume of a sphere, we can approximate Smaug’s bed of gold and silver to be a cone, with a radius of 9.6 feet (1/2 the diameter) and a height of 7 feet (assuming the weight of the dragon will smush down the point of the cone by about a foot).
Now we can calculate the volume of Smaug’s treasure mound:
V= 1/3 π r2 h = 1/3 * π * 9.62 * 7 = 675.6 cubic feet
But, obviously, the mound isn’t solid gold and silver. We know it has ‘great two-handled cups’ in it—one of which Bilbo steals—and probably human remains, not to mention the air space between the coins. Let’s assume that the mound is 30% air and bones. That makes the volume of the hoard that is pure gold and silver coins 472.9 cubic feet.
Ouch. My brains hurts. To read through the rest of his calculations click on over to Forbes, you know, so you can double check his math. Noer was able to discern Smaug’s loot to be worth 8.6 billion. I wouldn’t mind stumbling through a dungeon door to find that treasure trove. Cha-ching!
(Post by nerdbastards contributor Nick Bungay- Twitter @NickBungay)
Was your mind blown seeing the likes of Zoidberg and Professor Farnsworth in bed together on Futurama last week (spoiler)? Well no worries, it was just Fry and Leela in their bodies the whole time (like Freak Friday, just not as horrible). For those that didn’t catch the episode, the whole crew was effected and a little machine was to blame for the switcharoo. The machine, however couldn’t switch the same mind and body twice, so they had to figure out a way to rotate minds with other characters until everyone had their own mind back. Naturally it was science that came to the rescue to solve the mystery and place everyone back into their rightful bodies. Yet isn’t this impossible to be actually done? Thank to Futurama writer Ken Keeler, this theorem was not only created, it was proven!
Ken Keeler, PhD in mathematics, ended up writing and proving an entirely new theorem (and what have you done lately, huh?) based withing the group theory. A full explanation of the theorem can be found here
After taking a small look at the theorem and actually writing in down, I still for the life of me, can’t figure it the hell out (30 minutes wasted). Did this really need to be done for the sake of the episodes plot? Well, no. They could have just put gibberish and left it alone. That’s not how these writers of Futurama roll. It does, however deserve some kind of reward for what lengths some people go to for something they love doing. Hey, maybe they’ll give him an executive position with the FOX network for this fantastic nerd act of nerd Valor. They can at least give the man a little extra in his paycheck for the extra work.
Think about this…Fred Savage probably hit that. If that doesn’t make you want to cry, then I’ll take two of whatever you’re on. The star of many teenage wet dreams, Danica McKellar is stripping down in the new issue of Maxim for math. Really? Hang on let me check my sources….shit, that is right. Okay. After giving Kevin Arnold blue balls from ’88 to ’93 Winnie realized she was a math genius, and started writing how to math books (that is litterally THE most boring thing I’ve ever written. Luckily there are girly bits after the jump.) (more…)