# [ExI] fermi question on poseidon adventure

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Tue Mar 19 16:52:39 UTC 2019

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There is a game in the Science Olympiad called Fermi Questions, where the competitors are challenged into estimating things that are hard to guess even to the nearest order of magnitude, such as

Placed end to end, what is the length of the churros sold by Disney Land in July of 2018?

How many piano tuners live in the city of Chicago?

What is the weight in orange paint applied to the Golden Gate bridge each year?

That kinda thing, love that game.  A long time ago, I saw a disaster flick called Poseidon Adventure, where a big passenger ship is capsized by a rogue wave, half a dozen gutsy passengers (including a mostly nekkid woman (she was a newlywed doing the newlywed thang at midnight)) climb thru an obstacle course of inverted staircases and such to get to what used to be the bottom of the ship, and it was kinda exciting (whenever the director allowed gratuitous ut deeply appreciated bun shot (hey, I was at that age when I saw the movie)) and eventually they get to the what was once the lowest point on the ship, the propeller shaft, bang on the ceiling, rescuers cut into the hull, see mostly nekkid girl, faint from sudden drop in blood supply  to the brain...

OK I made up that last part but I thought of a fun Fermi question that doesn't even involve the girl:

What is the pressure in the propeller shaft housing when the rescuers cut into it?

I estimated it without any figures or paper, and got very close.  Try it this way: estimate it first, then look up numbers on the internet and calculate it.

Hint: they couldn't have rescued them the way the movie portrayed.

There was a new Poseidon Adventure made more recently, which I didn't see.  Questions for Hollywood hipsters please: How did the new version deal with the pressure differential and how many gratutious bun shots does it offer?

spike

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