The Bishop and the Butterfly: Murder, Politics, and the End of the Jazz Age
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    Giving Mega Shark his due

    Recently, it came to my attention that a fellow nerd has gone to the trouble of calculating some statistics behind MegaShark's dramatically captured attack on an airplane. Here's a small version of his info-graphic (I encourage you to visit the blog itself as it has additional details):

    Megashark infographic

    As an additional calculation, consider this: ignoring the rather significant drag of the water on MegaShark, using a mass of 34,000 kg (see the comments) and the specified velocity of 709.2 kph, one finds (via Google's units converter) that the kinetic energy (½mv²) of MegaShark at departure of the ocean is about 660 MegaJoules. A ton of TNT has 4184 MegaJoules.

    If we now look at the drag on MegaShark right before it leaves the ocean, using 0.001 Pa-s as the dynamic viscosity of water, a cross-sectional diameter of 15 meters for the shark, and the aforementioned velocity of 709.2 kph, we find the drag force to be … about 3 Newtons. OK, that was disappointing, but if we consider that he was traveling for about 1500 meters with this force (the speed was lower initially, of course, but the dynamic viscosity was higher since the water was both denser and colder), we find an additional energy requirement of 4.5 Kill-o-Joules. OK, that was also disappointing. Anyways, my point in all of this is that WKW had better watch his back, if there's anything left of it.

    Update: If instead of using the 34,000 kg found in the comments, I use the 240 tons specified in the info-graphic, I find that the kinetic energy is slightly over 4200 MegaJoules. I.e., he slightly outclasses a ton of TNT.


    I cannot thank you enough for this, Nebton.

    I'm going to go ask Genghis to give you an extra helping of stew tonight.

    Blessings be upon you.

    More stew?

    Admit it, Nebbie. You posted this entire thing so you could use the word Kill-o-Joules. Shameless!

    You've dazzled us with data, but I've got some lingering suspicions. My gut tells me that, even breaking the water's surface at 700 km/h, Mega-Shark decelerates to a stop before reaching 2,000 metres. I'll defer to your math skills here, but even if the creature is still moving upward, the faster-moving plane surely takes Mega-Shark's head off.

    Then there's the question of how Mega-Shark can wag its tail fast enough -- underwater! -- to reach 700 km/h. The problem is not the resistance to its streamlined body but to a tail surface moving side to side at supersonic speed, no? Not to mention the mental acumen Mega-Shark would need to calculate its intersection with a moving target, seen through watery eyes over a mile straight up. Remember that Mega-Shark has only his tail and three stubby fins to try to adjust his trajectory after he leaves the water.

    No, I can buy the movie's basic premise, but this plane-devouring incident strains credibility.

    You dare to doubt MegaShark?

    First, MegaShark surely must be made of stern stuff (which is why I think the larger tonnage I used in my update is more likely to be accurate), so I don't worry about his midair collision with the plane. I do wonder how the plane managed to make it to the ocean mainly intact, however.

    Secondly, 700 kph is not even supersonic in air, let alone in water. (Sound travels faster in water than in air. In air, supersonic is a little over 1200 kph, but it's over 5300 kph in water.)

    Finally, have you seen the size of MegaShark's head? Can you imagine the size of his brain cavity? No, he's obviously smart enough to not only calculate the required speed to catch the plane in mid-air, but to prove Fermat's last theorem while he's at it.

    Oh, you mean MegaShark! I was thinking of plain, old run-of-the-mill Mega-Shark. Yeah, that guy could probably do it.

    But I never said 700 km/h was supersonic, just that his tail would have to be moving supersonically to move him forward that fast. I'd think cavitation problems alone would make that tail really inefficient.

    As for your third point: If MegaShark is so smart, why is he eating airplanes? They aren't food. Even the food inside airplanes isn't food.

    MegaShark uses the jet-fuel found in airplanes as an alternative energy source to just using his tail. Not to go in to too much detail, but MegaShark:jet-fuel::cows:methane. You do the math. Naturally, that also answers your last question.

    It all makes sense now. Thanks.

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