2411: 1/10,000th Scale World
|1/10,000th Scale World|
Title text: OCEAN PLAY AREA RULES: No running, no horseplay, no megatsunamis, and no trying to pry the wreck of the Titanic off the bottom.
This comic is the first in the Scale World series.
Large objects (cars, airplanes, etc.) are often reproduced as scale models, which are proportionally smaller physical models of the original objects. The scale of such a model is typically expressed as the ratio of the size of the model (the first number) to the size of the original object (the second number). For example, a 1/10,000th scale model means that 1 meter in the model represents 10,000 meters in the original object. The same applies to maps and globes. What Randall has here, though, is neither a map nor a model but a seemingly complete copy of Earth, at a 1:10,000 scale. Various features and warnings are labeled.
Miniature parks, also known as model villages, are tourist attractions around the world of a scale between 1:9 and 1:72. For example, the finale of the movie Hot Fuzz features a battle amongst a miniature of the streets and buildings seen so far in the film. Normally a miniature park would feature a representation of one geographical location rather than a geologically/technologically accurate depiction of our current planet. Whether or not Randall is aware of it, the reputed largest outdoor relief map in the world is set out at a horizontal scale of 1:10,000.
Real-world phenomena are reproduced at scale, for humorous effect. A real 1/10,000th scale "Earth" would have a diameter of less than a mile, and a surface area of around 2 square miles, the approximate dimensions of a medium-sized asteroid. On such an object, constrained by known physics, there would be no air, standing water, weather, or large magma bodies, and any sort of rough-housing would irrecoverably catapult the visitor into space.
Normally in a miniature model, most warnings try to prevent the visitors from accidentally doing something cataclysmic to the model. Likewise, the "ocean play area rules" in the title text tell visitors not to create any megatsunamis, which could conceivably be induced by a cannonball dive. But as digging seems to be discouraged mainly where it causes volcanoes to break out, the visitors seem to be given far greater freedom than usual.
Visitors are also instructed not to try to pry the model of the wreck of the Titanic off the ocean floor. In our world, the wreck is at a depth of 12,500 feet, which would be 1 foot and 3 inches in Randall's model world. The Titanic was over 882 feet long, but the ship split in half as she sank, and now lies in two pieces about a third of a mile apart. Randall's model would have two pieces about a half-inch in size separated by about two inches. If the models are rusted and sunk in mud just like the real wreck is, trying to pry them loose would certainly damage them, but all of Randall's other rules seem to be about preventing harm to guests, not preventing damage to the model, so maybe he just doesn't want guests bending over and exerting themselves in the water where they could slip, submerge their faces, and be at risk of drowning.
Scale models, and the problems with them, were the subject of 878: Model Rail. In general, illustrating relative scale is a recurring subject on xkcd. This comic is also somewhat reminiscent of 941: Depth Perception.
|Watch out for airliners cruising near shoulder level||Unintentional catastrophic damage to air traffic. The damage likely wouldn't be reciprocal: actual airplane speed is very similar to the speed at which a bullet is fired , but 1/10,000 of that is quite slow, on the order of 10 inches / 25 cm per second - which is fortunate because the aircraft would weigh about half a milligram (1/50000 oz) or more.||At this scale, the lowest airliner cruising altitude would be 3 ft or 0.9 m , shoulder height for a 5-year-old . Scaling the height of the highest plane to ever fly  puts it at 9 ft, which would put it just over the head of the tallest person who ever lived |
|Trip hazard: Appalachian Mountains||At half a foot tall, the Appalachians could trip visitors who are not being careful.||6684 ft ≈ 0.67 ft in the model world|
|Do not stand or climb on Mt. Everest||One may destroy the model.||Also, Everest appears to be rather pointy. Also still a bit steep, so visitors may fall down and hurt themselves.|
|Caution: Hydro-thermal vents underfoot||Hydrothermal vents are extremely hot, which could cause burns to the feet of the viewers||Underwater volcanoes and stuff|
|Children must be supervised while in the ocean, especially near trenches||They might drown.||The Challenger Deep is 36,200 feet below the surface; this equates to 3.62 feet in the model world, a depth which small children could conceivably drown in.|
|Danger: positive lightning! Do not touch cloud tops||The cumulonimbus cloud is an electrocution hazard, as Megan is learning the hard way||Getting too close to the positive cloud tops risks causing lightning to arc into you down to the negative ground.|
|Avoid hypoxia by regularly sitting to bring your lungs below the death zone||The scale world even has a scale atmosphere, and visitors are cautioned to regularly sit down so they can breathe below the death zone, which is approximately two and a half feet above the surface.||The death zone is approximately 8,000 meters above the ground, equating to 0.8 meters or 2.62 feet in the model world. There is also a what-if on the subject .|
|Do not dig near Yellowstone||Digging up the Yellowstone Caldera could potentially reactivate the supervolcano there.|
|Please do not smack weather balloons||Smacking balloons around can be a fun activity, mostly done by children, but it would be very unfriendly if done to weather balloons.||Weather balloons can reach 20 ft in diameter before bursting, corresponding to a 0.6 mm small object at this scale. The idea of smacking research data raises a sense of how advanced the idea of a physics-complete model of the world is, next to possible comparative banality of academic research.|
|Be careful not to step on cities with especially pointy towers, like Toronto, Seattle, and Dubai||The CN Tower, the Space Needle and the Burj Khalifa are much taller than they are wide, thus, "pointy." The Burj Khalifa, the tallest of the three, would stand at 3.2 inches (8.3 cm) at this scale, making it possible to impale one's foot on it when walking|
- [At the top of the image, inside the panel, a large title is floating in the air.]
- For visitors to my 1/10,000th scale world
- 1 meter = 10 km 1 ft = 10,000 ft ~ 2 miles
- [Each of the following rules is written near a character or point of interest on the map.]
- [Two small dots with thin lines coming out of them horizontally are in the air near Cueball, who is brushing them off.]
- Watch out for airliners cruising near shoulder level
- [Small mountains are seen near the left edge of the screen, by Cueball's feet.]
- Trip hazard: Appalachian Mountains
- [A young Hairy is climbing on mountains reaching approximately Cueball's waist.]
- Do not stand or climb on Mt. Everest
- [Under the water, a small bump in the ground expels bubbles.]
- Caution: Hydro-thermal vents underfoot
- [Jill stands shoulder-deep in the ocean, peering down into the trench below.]
- Children must be supervised while in the ocean, especially near trenches
- [Megan's hand is extended, and lightning from the cloud is jumping to her hand.]
- Danger: positive lightning! Do not touch cloud tops
- [Ponytail sits near some mountains, with a dotted line in the air stretching across her forehead.]
- Avoid hypoxia by regularly sitting to bring your lungs below the death zone
- [A blob-shaped thing with wiggly grey texture lines drawn all over is underground.]
- Do not dig near Yellowstone
- [A second Cueball is jumping in the air, a hand reached back, in position to smack a weather balloon.]
- Please do not smack weather balloons
- [Some very tiny vertical lines extend from the ground.]
- Be careful not to step on cities with especially pointy towers, like Toronto, Seattle, and Dubai
Megan, who is touching the top of a cloud, appears to be standing on top of the ocean, but as other characters are visibly either in front of hills and mountains or standing upon their slopes, it is likely that she is stood upon the ground (at an imperceptible height above 'local' sea-level) on or just beyond a shoreline located in the almost mythical third dimension.
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