|Table of Contents for Caveman Chemistry: 28 Projects, from the Creation of Fire to the Production of Plastics|
|<<< Previous||Chapter 3. Hammurabi (Units)||Next >>>|
There's nothing to make in this project; it's about brains, not brawn. If you're using this book for a class, you'll probably be given a quiz or test. If you're reading it for fun, you'll need to know this stuff for future chapters. Either way, try working these problems for practice.
A: 249 pounds.
A: 84 pounds.
A: 18,700 gallons.
A: 114 ounces, or 7.1 pounds.
A: 9 oxen.
Q: Try to summarize in 60 seconds the important events of the past year. Think about the major wars, earthquakes, famines, and epidemics. Think about the elections, discoveries, sporting events, and musical hits. Think about the births, weddings, vacations, and funerals. I imagine that you'll be able to do a pretty decent job condensing a year's events into 60 seconds. Now imagine a cable television channel broadcasting such 60-second summaries 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. How long would it take to broadcast the life history of the typical college freshman? How long would it take to broadcast summaries of each of the approximately 227 years since the United States declared its independence? How long would it take for the approximately 3,753 years since Hammurabi published his Code? How long would it take for the approximately 500,000 years since the domestication of fire?
A: 18 minutes. 3.8 hours. 2.6 days. 49.6 weeks.
Q: Imagine that you're standing next to your mother, and she next to her father, and so on back through time. Assume an average of 25 years per generation and a distance of 1 yard per person in line. How far would the line stretch back to contemporaries of the American Revolution, of Hammurabi, and of the domestication of fire?
A: 27 feet. 150 yards. 11.4 miles.
Q: Imagine that you were able to walk down that line, asking each of your ancestors for a one-minute summary of the most important events in their lives. Assuming that you were to spend 40 hours per week in this activity, how long would it take you to get back to contemporaries of the American Revolution, of Hammurabi, and of the domestication of fire?
A: 9 minutes, 2.5 hours, 8.3 weeks.
Q: According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in 1999 there were 38,233 deaths attributable to smoking in California and 1,704 in Rhode Island. How frequently did these deaths occur, that is, how many minutes for each death?
A: One death every 13.7 minutes in California and one every 308.5 minutes in Rhode Island. Is it safer to smoke in Rhode Island than in California? Just because such a statistic can be calculated doesn't guarantee that it is either significant or informative. Whether we are talking about rapes or murders or kidnappings, statistics like this serve only to illustrate that there are many more people around than there are minutes in a year.
When you can solve these problems without looking at the tables, you will be ready to tackle any numerical problem in this book. Work out all of the examples in your notebook and check your answers. Tape any quizzes into your notebook and include an MSDS for charcoal, one for silica, and one for sodium chloride.