xkcd takes "What if everyone jumped" to new heights of speculation

I don’t see that this has been posted already, so I figured I would draw your attention to this xkcd blog post wherein Randall takes on the old chestnut What would happen if everyone on earth jumped at the same time. (He mentions the Straight Dope column in his answer.

Munro sets up his question with everyone on the earth gathered together in one area, so the question is a bit different, but it’s fun. The interesting part is not what would happen when we all jump, but what happens afterwards when everybody tries to get home.

Key quote: Within weeks, Rhode Island is a graveyard of billions.

Did someone ring an everyone jump bell?

This video that was posted last week is longer and less funny than the xkcd link but it refers to the same column :slight_smile:


I find it rather disengenuous to focus on how that many people try to leave Rhode Island, when he starts the “experiment” by magically transporting everyone together.

Delightful. I am sorely tempted to print out the “relativistic fastball” one for my local sports bar, but I’d need to get it to fit on one page (and convince the owner to make room for it in the bathroom).

I think the philosophy is to take standard “Ask the know-it-all” questions and consider other aspects of the problem and take those to an extreme. Well, almost to an extreme. He didn’t consider the, err, bathroom issues of having 7 billion humans in one spot. You can go a few days without eating. But holding it in? Not going to happen. The sight and smell is going to be beyond belief.

Then there’s the heat. A person is on the scale of a 60W incandescent bulb in heat output. Multiply by 7 billion. You’d be getting spontaneous combustion with that heat. And the people dying won’t help much. The decay would also generate a lesser but still stupefying amount of heat. Would make a haystack fire trivial by comparison.

But if you can “magically teleport” everyone to the site, then why can’t you magically teleport everyone away from the site?

<obligatory Professor Frink quote>

Microscopic Frink: It worked! The Debigulator worked!

**Lisa: ** Listen, I can take care of everything, all you have to do is unshrink me.

**Microscopic Frink: **Unshrink you? Well that would require some sort of a Rebigulator which is a concept so ridiculous it makes me want to laugh out loud and chortle… but aaahh, but not at you O holiest of Gods with the wrathfulness and the vengeance and the bloodrain and the ‘hey hey hey it hurts me’.


Gee, I remember back in the good ol’ days, when we could all stand on Zanzibar. No room for the chairs, though, I guess.