Should You Eat Yourself?

Should You Eat Yourself?

October 20, 2019 100 By William Morgan


Hey, Vsauce. Michael here.
And Jake. And Kevin.
And we are in Santa Monica, which
of course means that the “V” in “Vsauce”
will stand for the Roman numeral five,
as in five questions
from you guys.
Our first question comes from “@notch”.
He didn’t ask this of me in particular,
but I love how non-intuitive the
answer is.
Assume
an Earth that’s perfectly spherical
and a rope, stretched around the equator snugly.
What would happen if that rope was just,
say, six meters longer? Six meters
isn’t very much,
but because of the relationship
between a circumference
and a radius,
six meters of extra rope would allow the
entire rope to not fit snugly around
the earth,
but one meter above it,
all the way around.
That’s cool, but what if instead of a rope
we used something more rigid, like a structure, a bridge
and we built the bridge all the way around the Earth.
And then, all at once, destroyed its supports.
Would it
float?
Clearly the earth’s gravity would pull the structure down,
but down is in the opposite direction
for the other side of the bridge.
Well, it turns out
such a scenario would be incredibly
unstable. Earth’s gravity isn’t equal
everywhere, and if you follow @tweetsauce
you saw some great graphs showing
just how much gravity changes,
simply based on the density of rock below.
When you factor in the Sun and the Moon,
you wind up with a bridge structure that is
not gonna stay where it is.
If the bridge itself was indestructible, it would start
violently hula hooping around the
earth, crushing things. But there’s no
known material strong enough to do that.
Instead, you would wind up with
bridge pieces flying everywhere.
A sphere around the earth would be a bit
more stable, but a ring?
Not so much.
The ring, even if spinning, would rapidly
break apart into smaller pieces.
Last week you guys asked me a question
that I have always wondered.
Let’s say I was stranded in the
mountains, waiting for rescuers to arrive,
but it was going to take
a while.
I had plenty of snow and plenty of water,
but I was hungry –
dying of starvation –
would it make sense
to
amputate one of my legs
and eat it?
I mean,
it kinda makes sense, right?!
I’d have my entire leg to eat as food,
which would probably fill me up
and I would have one less limb
that I would need to keep alive.
The only problem is that the trauma your
body would endure from the loss of a
limb
would greatly exceed the benefit you would get
by eating the food. You’re better off keeping
that limb
on your body,
because your body’s process of using
reserves of energy is more efficient than
the process of digestion.
So keep the leg on
and let it wither away, keeping you alive.
Don’t cut it off and eat it and digest it.
How does hair know when to stop growing?
It’s a good question,
because the hair on my arm, which
there’s a lot of, never grows any longer than this.
And if I were shave my arm off,
it would grow back and stop
right where it is right now.
But head hair is different.
For instance, my hair – what’s left of it –
would keep growing if I didn’t cut it.
But no other animal has that situation.
You don’t see wolves out in the forest
saying, wow, look how long my hair is
getting, I better get to the barber shop.
So, why do humans have head hair that grows so long,
but body hair elsewhere that stops
seemingly right when it’s supposed to.
Well, first things first.
The hair on your head will not keep growing for ever.
Typically around six years of growth is the limit.
When hair grows, it is in what is known as its
anagen phase. And for hair on your
head that phase can last
up to six years.
But the anagen phase of hair elsewhere
on your body – eyebrows, eyelashes –
is much shorter.
Except in cases like this guy, whose
eyebrows grove like head hair and
have allowed him to set the world record
for longest eyebrows.
Humans probably lost their fur coats,
their thick body hair,
because it didn’t really help us hunting
and running around sweating on the savannah.
And unlike other animals,
us humans had discovered fire
and could make clothing
to keep ourselves warm
without needing a built-in fur coat.
To be sure, long hair that falls over
your ears and neck can keep you warmer.
But leading theories also argue
that long head hair may be
our fault.
A result of the fact that early humans
picked mates that could grow longer hair on their heads.
Mates that could do that were probably healthier
and in colder climates literally had a built-in hat
to keep their body warm.
One of the questions I get the most
is about eye floaters.
Those little dots or squiggles that you see
in your vision, especially when looking at
a bland scene, like the clear blue sky.
Eye floaters are made out of little fibrals
that occur in your eye
as you age. And you can’t look directly
at them because they’re inside the fluid
of your eye. Turning your eye to look
at them simply causes the fluid to move
and the floater as well.
But the thing about eye floaters that I love the most is
that they are almost always
microscopic.
You can’t see them with the naked eye,
except when they are inside
your eye.
If you were to pull an eye floater out,
you wouldn’t be able to see it. But in your eye,
it’s close enough to the retina
to leave a shadow on the retina and
that’s what you see when you see eye
floaters.
Finally, how much would Wikipedia weight
if i printed all the text out
and bound it into books?
Well luckily,
there’s a Wikipedia article about this very topic.
The English-language Wikipedia contains
about two billion three hundred and
forty five million words, which,
if printed at the density of the
Encyclopedia Britannica, would equal
about
1,759
volumes.
Which would look
like this.
Altogether they would weigh about 7,000 pounds.
If you’re between the ages of 13 and 18,
you may want to check out
the Google
Science Fair.
It’s an amazing competition.
These guys are great. They actually helped
make that Earth bridge animation for me.
So be sure to check out
GoogleScienceFair.com.
And I’ll keep checking out Los Angeles.
I’m here
with Kevin and Jake from Vsauce2 and 3
for the first time ever.
The three of us have never been in one
location simultaneously until now, so be
sure you’re subscribed to us, because amazing videos
will come soon.
And as always, thanks for watching.