2013-01-09

I'm the King of the World! (edited for more math)

via Atrios
The amount of platinum needed to mint a coin worth $1 trillion would sink the Titanic.


It's no surprise that Republicans don't know the first thing about money. The linked Yglesias article puts it nicely:
But saying that the government would need a lot of platinum is like saying a $100 bill needs to have 100 times as much cotton in it as a $1 bill.


Let's skip that part. Let's accept the absolutely ridiculous notion that a trillion dollar platinum coin needs a trillion dollars worth of platinum to mint. So, even if we accept that ludicrous notion, it turns out that the NRCC is still wrnog.

Some maths - the price of platinum is somewhere around $1,600 per troy oz but it fluctuates. One trillion dollars at this price is 625 million troy ounces. A troy ounce is 0.0685 pounds so this works out to around 21,000 tons.

The Titanic had a cargo capacity of 46,000 gross register tons.

Edit: It has been pointed out that GRT is a bad measure for how much weight it takes to sink a boat. That's true - it almost definitely requires more weight than this. GRT is a measure of permanently enclosed volume - or the amount of "buoyancy" the boat has. Since one GRT is 100 cubic feet of enclosed air or 2.8 cubic metres - the actual buoyancy is 2.8 tonnes (the mass of water that this air would displace). Additional, register tons have something to do with subtracting "non-revenue earning space" etc. Complicated rules anyways. Basic point - the Titanic had bulkheads and other enclosed volumes equal in volume to well over a hundred thousand tons of water. Another consideration though, the boat itself has mass. The light load of the Titanic (no fuel, passengers or provisions) was a bit under 40K tons leaving at least 60,000 tons of buoyancy. The loaded weight was ~52K tons (light load plus 14K "deadweight" or allowable* cargo load). Even when fully loaded, if one additional passenger in the form of Moneybags McPreciousMetals were to board the ship with his one trillion dollar 21,000 ton platinum coin, the Titanic still floats. And while she wouldn't be safe to take out into the open seas with this load, history has shown that this was never possible in the first place.

*allowable means actual. If she were loaded less than this, they would fill with ballast to get to this load since the ship was designed to be operated at this draught.

12 comments:

Roger Moore said...

Please note, though, that gross register tons are not the right unit to measure how much weight it would take to sink the Titanic. Despite the name, they're a measure of internal volume (including volume above the Plimsoll Line) rather than weight. The appropriate measure would be the deadweight tonnage, which measures the maximum allowable cargo mass.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

What the Saint says is true, if we we're looking at still being able to use the boat. Yes, the deadweight tonnage of just under 14K tons is less than the weight of a trillion dollars of platinum - but the Titanic does not sink with this load. This is the load she can carry and still be safely driven around the ocean if all the icebergs are removed.

Roger Moore said...

Of course it's all rather beside the point, since the best estimate is that we've only mined about 10K tons of platinum, so we don't actually have 21K tons (or 14K tons) to load onto the Titanic in the first place. Not to mention that the Titanic is currently in two pieces several kilometers below the North Atlantic, and thus not a great choice as a cargo vessel in the first place.

And thanks for the Simon Templar reference; the Bond ones get so old after a while.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

You were James Bond?!

Confession Time: I used GRT because it was easiest to find, and I'm lazy. To atone, I've added a big fat edit to the post with some very sloppy maths.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Hah, you can blame me for the Spy showing up over here to argue with you DKW, I trolled Balloon Juice with your math.

zombie rotten mcdonald said...

Obviously, Mr. Moore felt quite strongly about SOMEONE BEING WRONG ON THE INTERNET!

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

zomg, maybe I should be checking my maths a bit moar before posting.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Joy to the world....all the boys and girls...
~

M. Bouffant said...

Math(s) is hard, so I'll just wish you & yours the best for the new yr., now that we're almost 10 days into it.

Substance McGravitas said...

Doesn't matter now, since they wouldn't do it anyway...

Sirius Lunacy said...

I think the basic point is that if you were to put that much platinum on the Titanic today it would end up under water.

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