Saturday, December 1, 2007

No giant women for Matty Boy... (sniff)

There is no shortage of lovely tall women in our culture. Fashion models, for example. A woman can be as pretty as pretty can be, but if she's 5'4", she's not a fashion model. 5'7" is short for the models on the runway, and some are well over six feet tall.

Likewise, the world of sports gives us a lot of tall athletes who, besides being good at what they do, are smokin' hawt, as dguzman might say. Here we have the softball pitching ace Jennie Finch, golfing phenom Michelle Wie and tennis star Maria Sharapova. All good at what they do, all easy on the eyes, all six feet tall or taller.

It's all good.

But they aren't giants. For My People and Our Agenda, many aren't interested in just tall women, but giant women. For some, a giantess isn't a giantess until she's 8 feet tall, or 15 feet tall, or 50 feet tall, or taller than the Sears Tower in Chicago.

While it's different for every guy with this odd obsession, one thing is the same. It ain't gonna happen.

Lemme 'splain. Using action figures and putting words in their mouths. (Ooh, that's a clever idea. I wonder where Matty Boy got such a brilliantly original concept?)

This is Xena, a mighty warrior princess. Born in the heat of battle... heck, you know the rest. In her day, she is the kicker of much butt, mortal and immortal alike. The immortals aren't used to getting their butts kicked and they hatch an evil plan.

The god Ares, annoyed at his inability to get Xena to join him in his evil plans or at least her refusal to hook a brother up, casts an evil spell on the princess, which you can sense because she's all blurry and stuff.

[Oopsie, I think she's gonna hurl. Or maybe I will.]

For whom the gods would destroy...

first they make of her a Big Ass Clone!

Regular Xena: I know you're a giant size evil clone, but honey, you are working that dress.

Giant Evil Xena: Yes, I am your implacable enemy, but I'm not hatin' the view from up here, either.

Now that we have the obligatory lesbian subtext found in every episode of Xena, let's move onto the math.

If I have a die, a one inch cube, and I want to make a cube two inches on each edge, I need not two or four dice, but 2x2x2 = 8 dice to "double" the size. Each face is four times the size.

Let's review that.

Length is one dimensional. It's been doubled.

Face size is two dimensional. It's increased by 2x2 = 4 times.

Volume is three dimensional. It's increased eight fold, since eight is two cubed.

If Regular Xena is 6'0" and 150 pounds, Giant Evil Xena is 12'0" and 1,200 pounds!

That's a big girl. Of course, her bones are eight times as massive, her muscles are eight times bigger, she should be eight times stronger and able to carry the eight times more weight, yes?

There are some problems. Some parts of our bodies really work two dimensionally, wherever surface area is the important issue. The surface of Big Evil Xena's feet, for example, have only grown four times larger, but they have to support eight times the weight.

Likewise, the knee joints are really about surface to surface, so they are put under extra pressure. Other parts of the body whose function is best expressed two-dimensionally are the skin, which regulates temperature, and the lungs, which only process the oxygen that contacts the surface of the inside of the lungs. Bigger lungs can hold a lot more oxygen, but they don't process it quite as quickly. Larger animals tend to have slower metabolisms.

So, in general, critters can only grow so big and no bigger without major design changes. Humans appear to have a limit of about eight feet tall, and people that tall usually have multiple health problems and a shortened life expectancy.

The clever students, always looking for counter-examples, might think "Matty Boy! What about the kittehs? There are the cute li'l kittehs, and there are the pretty big kittehs, and they all look the same, don't they?"

Good thinking, hypothetical question asker! The thing is that big cats are not perfectly scaled up small cats. If tigers and pussy cats were all the same height, it would be obvious that though we recognize them all as feline, they are actually very different. Kittehs have much bigger eyes and jaws proportionally and need bigger shoulders proportionally to carry that extra weight. If a kitteh was magically made five times its normal size, it might be the same length as a tiger, but it would be much more massive.

(The tigger has short fur and the kittehs get furry-er and furry-er from left to right, but it isn't just the extra hair. The kittehs are wider than the tigger even if fur is out of the equation.)

Thinking in the other direction, if the adult tigger was magically shrunk down to kitteh size, it would look very skinny indeed, and the head would be kind of tiny and beady eyed. By the regular definition of similar, tiggers and kittehs look similar, but the mathematical definition of similar, which means everything is exactly proportional, like with Regular and Giant Evil Xena, big cats and little cats aren't similar at all.

Boy, that's a lot of 'splainin. Glad it's a Saturday.

Yay, Flags of Many Lands™! Yay, Bangladesh! I had my first visitor from Bangladesh just yesterday, and that word has the same derivation as Bengal, which is where the tiggers are from.

Yay, serendipity!

Now playing: They Might Be Giants - She's Actual Size
via FoxyTunes


Karla said...

Wait - does this mean that Your People of The Agenda are actually jonesing after wimmens that can't exist?

Matty Boy said...

Yep, that's about the size of it.

dguzman said...

This really puts a kink of reality into my long-wished-for superpower: to be able to shrink or enlarge anything, at will, with just a touch. See, in my fantasy, I could take something tiny--a piece of doll furniture, for instance--and enlarge it to normal adult size. Whenever anyone mentions the kinds of mathematics (not to mention materials) issues you bring up, I just usually say, "whatevah, it's my superpower. blow it out your old wazzoo." But I can't say that to my Matty Boy!

I'll have to rethink this whole concept now...

Matty Boy said...

Yeah, dg, that's my super power, too, but since I usually only dream about using it for naughty reasons, I guess it's more like a super dirty power.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Anonymous said...