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916481.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 9:16 am Reply with quote

Cracking stuff!

916518.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 10:55 am Reply with quote

That idea reminds me of Riverworld :)

916521.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:02 am Reply with quote

Hi, Intrestvarium; welcome to QI.

Janet H
916594.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:42 pm Reply with quote

Intrestivarium wrote:

If all the planet's coasts were straightened out into a line, they would form a beach that could stretch to the Moon and back.

Coast length: 778,877 km
Distance to Moon: 384,400 km

Tiny quibble, the length of the coast depends on what degree of detail you are measuring to. The smaller the level of detail, the longer the coast.
Tthrashed out here

916597.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 3:57 pm Reply with quote

Depending on which numbers you use Norway's coastline is about 4 times that of the whole continent of Africa, 100000km v 26000km, this includes all fjords and islands. If you don't include them then they are about the same 25000km v 26000km

Janet H
916598.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:04 pm Reply with quote

Efros wrote:
Depending on which numbers you use Norway's[coastline is about 4 times that of the whole continent of Africa, 100000km v 26000km, this includes all fjords and islands. If you don't include them then they are about the same 25000km v 26000km

"Maybe. Who cares?" said Slartibartfast before Arthur got too excited. "Perhaps I'm old and tired," he continued, "but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied. Look at me: I design coastlines. I got an award for Norway."

He rummaged around in a pile of debris and pulled out a large perspex block with his name on it and a model of Norway moulded into it.

"Where's the sense in that?" he said. "None that I've been able to make out. I've been doing fjords in all my life. For a fleeting moment they become fashionable and I get a major award."

He turned it over in his hands with a shrug and tossed it aside carelessly, but not so carelessly that it didn't land on something soft.

"In this replacement Earth we're building they've given me Africa to do and of course I'm doing it with all fjords again because I happen to like them, and I'm old fashioned enough to think that they give a lovely baroque feel to a continent. And they tell me it's not equatorial enough. Equatorial!" He gave a hollow laugh. "What does it matter? Science has achieved some wonderful things of course, but I'd far rather be happy than right any day."

"And are you?"

"No. That's where it all falls down of course."

<Link redacted by Jenny in case of copyright issues. Interested parties can search on hitch14 at>

916610.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 4:47 pm Reply with quote

That site cannot be legal.

916630.  Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:24 pm Reply with quote

I doubt me an it be legal, so I have removed the link just in case.

Janet H
916653.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:53 am Reply with quote

OOps, sorry folks.

916654.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 1:54 am Reply with quote

Celebaelin wrote:
Currently the Guiness World Record for guitar speed is held by John "Doctor Hot Licks" Taylor who played the test song (always Flight of the Bumblebee) at 600 bpm.

That is jawdropping stuff!
Had to giggle about the comment that he once fingered a girl to death.
Une morte douce. Lucky lass.

<Ed> And so it goes. Life should be too short. But it ain't, is it? From one clip to another. Fender Strat's 50th etc. This is going to be one mother of a marathon session. That's me sorted today.
<halfheartedly curses Cel>

916819.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 2:08 pm Reply with quote


Last edited by Intrestivarium on Thu Aug 07, 2014 8:01 pm; edited 1 time in total

916863.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:41 pm Reply with quote

I'd be interested to know if those planets have sufficient tilt to have seasons. It'd be interesting to go through all of them every 6 hours, or alternatively live your entire life in one season.

(I don't know if they have atmospheres and weather and stuff, but assuming they do, and are basically habitable by humans.)

916867.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:07 pm Reply with quote

I guess any 'bacteria' or equivalent would be comparatively unremarkable but higher organisms (if any) would be mind-blowing. This is a level of mind-blowing over and above the whole 'life on another planet' thing you understand. Would the biochemistry dictate similar lifespans to those we find here, in which case the extremely long year would suggest a predominance of two or more stage life-cycles (which can breed true or, under the right conditions, progress to the next form) each evolved to maximise survival in the prevalent conditions?

What would mayfly longevity be on a planet with a year measured in hours?
Would insect equivalents have a massive advantage because of an inbuilt instar mechanism or would all animals maintain this approach as a hang-over from an aquatic ancestor (assuming at least a roughly parallel course of evolution)?

Or would evolution produce species that matched their span to the planetary year in ways comparable to those on earth, outwintering by food storage, hibernation or by living only in regions close to the equator?

A 'polar bear' with a 1200 year lifespan?
'Giant tortoises' that live 160,000 years?

Would meteor strikes that occurred in the winter would have less of an effect on evolution as the natural duration of winter was already so long?
Are we even looking at this from the right perspective? Is earth itself unusal in its day length?

Should I stop asking rhetorical questions?
Why do I find it difficult to do so?

Last edited by Celebaelin on Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:01 pm; edited 2 times in total

916871.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:33 pm Reply with quote

Well, you mention it yourself - finding higher organisms and what that could entail would be mindblowing.
If one's brain is geared up the way yours apparently is, it's unavoidable to lose oneself in the (im)possibilities. And that's how it should be.

916877.  Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:52 pm Reply with quote

Should I stop asking rhetorical questions?

Why would you want to?

Thinking up science fiction life forms is a fascinating challenge, and Cele has hit on some QI aspects of it.
Perhaps one could think in terms of the heartbeat issue; allegedly, a mouse and an elephant, even though they live very different lengths of life, actually get through the same number of heartbeats. Or do I hear the sound of approaching klaxons?


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