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At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/17/2008 9:04 AM

Just read a short story on Earth's Mysterious Hum on Live Science.

It reflects a poser I have often speculated on during travel to various assignments, while nothing else had my attention.

Do we contribute to stresses in the Earth's Crust and Mantle by overpopulation or does the mass and weight stay constant?

At least constant enough to take into consideration loss of gases to atmosphere.

Do we at any point reach maximum combined weight through the years because of population increase or density?

Or perchance, is density the only factor creating possible stresses as certain countries become over populated?

I know, just the musings of a lonely bored mind, but as always I appreciate the feedback and comments on C4.

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#75
In reply to #69
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/22/2008 5:56 AM

Sooo....like my logs, meteorites contain organic matter that burns away ?

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#86
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/22/2008 11:59 PM

As a matter of fact, you are correct! Meteorites contain cookies and candy and puddings and spotted-dick and all sorts of other yummy things!

So, I suggest you climb to the highest tower you can find, and stand on top with your mouth wide open. If anyone asks what you're doing, tell them you're waiting for the candy meteorites! Then, the doctors will give you some pills that will make you feel really silly and funny, then come the wires...

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#99
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/23/2008 1:49 AM

I hope you're not suggesting that comets may not be made of custard as well !

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#100
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/23/2008 2:02 AM

Comets? Definitely custard! As well as rabbit pellets. Yum!

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#68
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/21/2008 6:39 PM

>>I don't think that changes the air pressure one bit. It is not like the air is in a 'closed' container for example. You are right about the open versus closed container, but the pressure of the air on any given point is caused by the mass of the column of air above. Add ANYTHING with mass of its own, suspended in that column (you "floating" above it, but still not escaping earth's gravity well, for example) and that suspended mass will add to the air "pressure". And unless I forgot my physics, Boyle's Law applies to closed pressure vessels, not open pressure systems. >>If you think of a boat in a bath - take the boat out and the level of bathwater goes down! I think it would be the same with air! Nope. The water level rises with the boat in the bathwater because it displaces the bath water AND because of the limitations imposed by the rim of the bath, the water is forced to rise to compensate. The earth's atmosphere has no rim, nor sides, to confine the gas sphere, which is only confined by gravity. >>I also am not sure about the logic of taking a person's surface area and calculating the load born by it due to the column of air it is supporting See the explanation of the mass of the air column, above. Yes it works. >>- if this were correct then it would seem to me that if you had an air pressure gauge with the hole on top and turned it on its side it would read 0? Nope. You'd still read the same pressure. as long as you used a closed "reference" gauge, like a Bourdon, which is calibrated at the manufacturers, and sealed, so that it maintains its reference. And open topped gauge would not read the pressure at all, since the pressure outside of it would equal the pressure inside, and since fluids seek their own level, any change in pressure outside would be equalized by any change in pressure "inside" (It has no effective "inside", since it isn't sealed). So, stand it up, lay it down, hang it upside down, a calibrated closed system gauge will still read air "pressure". But put it any position you like with an open system, and it will register "0" Micah

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#76
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/22/2008 12:45 PM

I'm still for 'Out of the Box's' suggestion - NO offence Micah but a balloon floating in air adds nothing to the 'weight' of the 'column of air' below it! Air don't hang around in columns! Air as you are stating correctly exerts pressure in every direction so unless I misunderstand what you are saying once a person is 'floating' in air it is just as logical (following your logic) to say that the air pressure acting upwards from underneath the person is gonna equal your 90lbs figure (except for the soles of the persons feet?). anyway I guess thats why those sorts of flying objects are called 'lighter than air' So I think we should increase the helium until we weigh nothing! That way there will be absolutely no chance of any stresses on the earth's crust caused by humanity! Plus I will not have sleepless nights due to anxiety caused by me thinking about qaqcpipeman's question.

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#80
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/22/2008 5:15 PM

"Column" was evidently an unfortunate attempt at analogy. Since the only confinement the earth's atmosphere suffers is that provided by gravity, it doesn't have to hang around in columns. And it does have mass. And anything at the bottom of the gravity well (us, for example, as long as we confine the picture to "onshore" entities) is UNDER that mass. So, measure it anyway you choose, are under a mass of all the combined gases in the atmosphere exerting 14.2 psi on you. And yes, it is on all your surfaces, because it surrounds you, and would invade all your surfaces, if your body material didn't already occupy sufficient volume to constrain your internal pressures, acting outward from your body's volume, to near equality with that 14.2 psi. So, you don't feel it, its there, and it IS affected by the addition of any more mass in the upper part of the sphere. Since Helium is lighter than "air" (non-technical term for the mix you breath, and wear, at 14.2 psi, or thereabouts), but NOT weightless, let alone a negative mass (whatever THAT might be!), it of necessity adds to the mass above you. And that adds to the pressure on you. As would 1/2 (or all) of my weight added to that mass. You can't escape it. But you might not feel it. And THAT was my original point. Micah

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#81
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/22/2008 10:43 PM

I fully agree with micahd. Anything floating or occupying the space in air displaces the air. Only thing, if it is floating on the top of the layer of air (which becomes very visual in case of water, and doesn't become visual in case of air) displaces air partially as per archimedes law. If it is inside the air (though it looks like floating like airplane) and not floating on the top of the air layer, displaces air fully (equal to its own volume. The displaced air occupies the volume which was not earlier occupied, that means the level of air will increase, increasing the column height of air on the earth. Obviously the air pressure at the ground level increase (also inbetween, proportional to air column above the point).

We do not feel the pressure, because air pressure is acting on us from outside as well as from inside. Create a vacuum inside us, we will feel it not only because of suffocation but because of external pressure.

On the other point of baloon: Baloon doesn't occupies the space more than the material volume of baloon skin material. It has no weight greater than its own empty weight (+ marginal weight increase due to little compressed air). The pressure inside the baloon also is atmospheric pressure only (very little delta pressure as compared to atmosphere). Thus the baloon floating in air will not increase the air column height on the earth.

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#67

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/21/2008 1:23 PM

It will have an effect if all the Chinese jump from 500m up.

Who will then supply Mugabe with goodies?

The material coming in and burned on entry will reach earth in another form.

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#72

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/21/2008 8:02 PM

Kind of makes you think that the whole "we are destroying the earth" thing may be just a little overblown.

My two cents, Blue

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#74
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Eart

04/21/2008 11:40 PM

Not really. While I am still trying to figure out the whole global warming thing, there actually have been insane, and unexplained increases in the loss of both the Greenland and Antarctic ice shelfs.

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#77

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/22/2008 2:53 PM

Think about it:Animals of any type that grow on Earth simply transfer what they eat into a different form.No weight loss, or gain to the Earth.Even the gasses emitted have weight.Termites emit more CO2 than all the other species on the planet combined.

Just how large are the total population of people on this planet?

Consider this:

Every human on the planet could be placed inside of a cube 1 mile by 1mile by 1mile, and still have plenty of room, without "sardine packing" anyone. (Over 125,000,000,000 cu feet).

Another interesting trival fact:Humans produce more heat, on a pound-for-pound basis than our sun.

The Earth gains a lot of weight every day from incoming micro meteorites.This is a true increase in weight.Been doing it for billions of years.No significant effect.

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#78
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/22/2008 3:17 PM

"Termites emit more CO2 than all the other species on the planet combined."

I have seen this phrase before. Oddly, the only times I have seen it, it was written verbatim. Call me a sceptic, but I have to wonder as to the actual validity of this fact. It's quite an extreme statement, to say the least. I wonder if it is self-perpetuating, and no one really knows where it came from and what research this is based on. Although a reference is made to a science magazine, I'm thinking maybe it was originally written in some termite exterminating advertisement and has just been copied and pasted ad infinitum. We've all seen that phenomenon before.

Then again, maybe I'm wrong ...

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#79
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/22/2008 4:01 PM

I wonder about that. First wouldn't it be true that cellulose producing plants "outweigh" animals (a corollary to producers outweighing consumers)? Given the colonial organization of termite colony "organisms," and the fact that huge multitudes of the blind termite workers probably die and are themselves decomposed/replaced, and the preponderant role that colonies (and their cellulose digesting bacterial symbiont's) play in recycling forests, both tropical and temperate (whether these remain as forests or are located in structures, paper, and such)...it doesn't seem that far fetched.

Then add to that the (indirect) role of our own (the homo) progenitors, the insectivores (and also termite consuming non-insectivores--like chimps), when they consume termites and, themselves emit CO2.

Just a thought. But, I too, wouldn't mind seeing an authoritative reference to how the statement was derived. The verbatimness, for one, could suggest that there indeed was/is an authoritative source....

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#87
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/23/2008 12:11 AM

Here is an interesting idea (at least I think so)... Making fuel out of plant material that can be fermented into, say, alcohols is considered to be not very efficient. Scientists are shooting for a way to turn virtually all cellulose fiber into fuels. So, get the bacteria out of termite guts - the ones that break down the cellulose, and then ferment that into fuels!!!

Yeah, it's probably being done as I type!

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#97
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/23/2008 1:23 AM

It's been quite a while since I studied this but, I seem to remember that the bacterium needs the termite as much as the termite need the bacterium. Hence the symbiotic mutualism. So we'd have to find a way to partner with the termites? Maybe start eating them?

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#98
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/23/2008 1:40 AM

Perhaps it's just a cozy and relatively safe home in a termite's gut. On the other hand, if the bacteria get something from the termite, we can probably synthesize it... Of course, that would probably take several hundred thousand barrels of oil per pound of cellulose.

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#90
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/23/2008 12:23 AM

I'm going to stay on the side of scepticism on this for now. Considering alllll the other insects on the planet combined (there's a heck of a lot of ants!) .. not to mention the entire remainder of the Animal Kingdom ... Simply put, that's a heluva unbalanced scale: Termites vs. an Entire Planet of Life.

Methane, on the other hand ... I do know that they produce massive amounts of methane. But still not likely to out-produce all other forms of life ... I would think.

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#103

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/23/2008 7:27 PM

First of all many thanks to the participants in this thread, I have read a few nuggets of interesting thought.

Who would have "thunk" that my question would have got such a diverse response and opened up new avenues of thought.

Again Kudos to the many wonderful ponderers, muses, and seekers on C4

qaqcpipeman

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#112
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/24/2008 5:36 AM

The amusing diversion has de-stressed us all, but that means.......the stress must be somewhere else !!!

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#114
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/24/2008 10:32 AM

I got plenty - want some of mine?

Urgent call-out this am (to an establishment within sight of the Isle of Wight - it's still floating). Call came in yesterday pm - "Strong smell of burning, and the building trip went...".

Got down there, after 60-mile dash. "I reset the trip this morning, and look! - it's gone off again!". I pointed out that the mains power isolator to our gear was OFF. "Oh, yes. I turned it off last night."

Resetting the MCB produced lots of crackling noise from an overhead fluorescent luminaire (and lots more burning smell).

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#116

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/26/2008 1:48 AM

According to Hindu Puranic stories, Mother Earth complains to Lord Vishnu that She is overloaded! HE takes Avathars & solves Her problems. Earth quakes, Sunamis, wars, floods, famine etc. etc. are blieved to be such means to reduce overload of earth. Further, Hindus strongly believe (rather had knowledge!) in the theory that mass can neither be creaed nor be destroyed. Hence, they decried destuction of forests, advocated growth of trees & plants, rather worshipped them, so that this will indirectly check human population growth. That is to say, if the human population increases, there is some corresponding decrease of of some other lives!

[more after seeing replies to it!]

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#117
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/26/2008 2:02 AM

So, like, why do some of you worship rats, and think drinking milk that rats have crapped in is good for the health?!

As far as conversion of mass is concerned, I can think of no better example than watching that marvel of machinery, the acorn, take root and build a mighty oak - now that's a marvel worth pondering!

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#119
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/27/2008 10:40 PM

Vermin, please do not refer this example of rats, as rats are not worshiped in Hindus. Very very small portion like 0.000000000000n1% may be doing that foolishness in some corner of the country, which is not representative of hindus.

By refering rats, the thread may take very bad off topic route.

In fact, hindus worship Snakes (snakes eat rats.. thus it started)

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#120
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Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/28/2008 12:18 AM

For the past 20 years, 90% of the people I've worked with are Indian. I know it's not a common thing. I was just messing around.

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#118
In reply to #116

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

04/27/2008 10:36 PM

Kindly, no more please (even after seeing replies). You are going to creat new controversies.

I am also from India, and see the beliefs as hipocracies. On one hand we worship trees and on other hand we only have cut jungles to miserable conditions. Besides, you say that it will control the population, but fact is we are not controlling population as we are highest rate of rise country.

Better you do not reply my post also, as, as I said, you are going to creat more contravertial statements I know.

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#125

Re: At what point does Combined Mass and Weight of Humans have an effect on Earth

05/01/2008 5:42 AM

Couldn't be easier: at the point on Earth where the mass and weight of the human beings are combined.

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