January 31, 2005

Take One Down, Pass It Around. . . Pee On The Snow

Yellow snow alert.

"I was scooping the snow from above me and packing it down below the window, and then I peed on it to melt it. It was hard and now my kidneys and liver hurt. But I'm glad the beer I took on holiday turned out to be useful and I managed to get out of there."

Posted by Ryan at January 31, 2005 11:14 AM

OK, let's fact check that.

Specific heat capacity of water: 4.187 kJ/kg/K
Temperature difference between pee and snow: 37 K
Mass of pee: 30 kg (60*0.5 liters) give or take
Melting heat capacity of snow: 335 kJ/kg

So with 30 liters of body warm pee you can melt 4.187*30*37/335 = 13.9 kg of snow.

Assuming freshly fallen, fluffy snow with a density of 100 kg/m^3 that's 139 liters of fluffy snow. Or using the specific weight of somewhat packed snow (390 kg/m^3) that's 35.6 liters of snow.

All of which tells you that this story is complete bullshit.

Posted by: Gudy at February 1, 2005 07:09 AM

Heh. Gudy, I automatically suspect anything coming over Annanova, but it was still funny. I don't have your mathematical skills, but I think it's hysterical that you did such extensive computations. Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by: Ryan at February 1, 2005 09:18 AM

My contempt for ananova just can't be put into words. Which means that the only use I have for them is to find the best way to shoot their stories down...

This little piece needed just the right mix of physics and maths to debunk for me to give it a try. Besides, we never got to calculate anything with pee in school, a fact that I thought needed to be rectified. ;-)

Posted by: Gudy at February 2, 2005 02:55 AM
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