2417: 1/1,000th Scale World

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1/1,000th Scale World
We're worried that a regular whale will get into a 30-foot-deep ocean trench section and filter-feed on all the tiny whales.
Title text: We're worried that a regular whale will get into a 30-foot-deep ocean trench section and filter-feed on all the tiny whales.


This comic is the third in the Scale World series.

Yet again, Randall has a seemingly complete scale model of Earth, this time at a larger scale of 1:1000 – that is, 1 meter in this scale world represents 1000 meters in the real world. (This is ten times the size of Randall's original scale world.) Again, real-world features and phenomena (such as several underground neutrino detectors) are depicted at scale and labeled with warnings. Several of the warnings point out humorous consequences of the scale, such as non-scaled goldfish eating scaled-down blue whales. Other than the usual homo sapiens, the introduction of non-scaled animals into the scaled world (with consistently humorous consequences) is an addition to the earlier comics of the series.


Rule Reason Notes
Keep hot objects off the ice sheet over the south pole neutrino observatory Hot objects may melt the ice that shields the detectors from particles other than neutrinos. The fact that people are not supposed to create false positives implies that the neutrino detector is functional.
Be patient: Niagara falls will take a few minutes to fill your water glass The flow rate is scaled down with the size. According to the what if? article Niagara Straw, the Niagara Falls flow is regulated to 100,000 cubic feet per second on the tourist season and to 50,000 cubic feet per second offseason and at night. Once scaled to 1/1000, that flow would be 2.83 or 1.41ml per second. If a standard glass of water is 250ml, it would take about 90–180 seconds for the waterfall to fill it.

However, a 1/1000th replica of scale Niagara falls would be over a meter wide, so without some kind of system to divert the whole flow into one spot, it would not be possible to fill a glass this quickly. Also, the height of the scaled-down Niagara falls would be 5cm, with another 5cm between the water level and the riverbed, so it might be difficult to fill a glass depending on its height.

This item may be a reference to the famous Arthur C. Clarke quote: "Getting information from the internet is like getting a glass of water from the Niagara Falls."
Watch for small planes Taking the popular Cessna 172 as an example, 1/1000th scale small planes would be about 8mm in length, and cruise at speeds of about 6cm/s, much slower than comparable flying insects. A Cessna of that size travelling at that speed would probably cause much more damage to itself than a person if it crashed into one, so the warning is probably there to protect the models rather than the guests. The planes are flying along 1-foot flight levels according to the direction they are flying in, following the semicircular rule of aviation.
Warning! Choking hazard! Keep small children away from ascending/descending airliners Airplanes are apparently small enough for children to fit into their mouths but large enough to potentially make them choke. In the US, small parts are defined by 16 C.F.R. Part 1501.2 as fitting in a cylindrical test fixture of 1.25 inches diameter that approximates the size of the fully expanded throat of a child under three years old. Once scaled, any object smaller than 31.75 meters would fit in that cylinder. A lot of medium-sized and small airplanes would qualify. Furthermore, since pieces that break off during testing that simulates use or abuse by children could also pose a choking hazard, even large airliners are also a choking hazard because stripped wings and parts of the fuselage would fit in the required size.
Do not remove safety caps This is similar to the warning, "Be careful not to step on cities with especially pointy towers, like Toronto, Seattle, and Dubai" from 2411: 1/10,000th Scale World. It's possible that many visitors to that scaled world did not heed the warnings and complained to the scaled world's creators, causing them to cover pointy towers with safety caps for this scaled world.

The buildings pictured are the CN Tower of Toronto, the Burj Khalifa of Dubai and the Eiffel Tower of Paris.

It is not clear whether the Egyptian pyramids are included in the warning. In this model they are located adjacent to the other structures and appear to also have safety caps, but unlike the other structures there is no arrow pointing to them from the warning.

Seattle's Space Needle is notably absent from this model.

No open flames in Zeppelin area The iconic Zeppelins, as with many other early airships, were filled with hydrogen to give them the buoyancy required to fly. However, hydrogen is very flammable and prone to explosions. The most famous of these disasters was when the Hindenburg caught fire in 1937.

In more modern times, almost all airships, blimps and balloons use either helium or hot air (sometimes both). This includes the six operational 'Zeppelin NT' craft, a modern semi-rigid design produced by the spiritual and economic successor to the original Zeppelin company.

The inclusion of Zeppelins in an otherwise modern model is an amusing anachronism.

Normal-sized flames would likely be a serious danger to many elements in the scale model.

Do not bother the meteor crater ducks It is unclear whether the 'meteor crater' represents specifically Meteor Crater in Arizona, or some other unspecified or abstract meteor crater. The former is over a kilometer wide, so at 1/1000 scale it could be a small duck pond of 1.186m in diameter, and 17cm deep at its lowest point. This is (barely) enough space for a duck to swim in if filled to the brim with water. Meteor craters often leave behind lakes as they become filled with water, with examples being Lake Siljan in Europe. The ducks appear to be regular-sized as opposed to scaled-down, so they have probably added afterwards as an attraction as opposed to them coming with the landscape. Even though a lot of craters are filled with lakes, Meteor Crater is not filled with water, or ducks, in real life. [citation needed]
Trip hazard: The Gateway Arch The Gateway Arch is a monument in Saint Louis, Missouri. Being a 192 m high arch once scaled it would be 19.2 cm high, ideal for tripping.
Drone altitude limit The FAA drone altitude limit is 400ft above the ground, which would be about 12cm on a 1/1000th scale. This appears to be the number Randall is using, as the limit in the comic is about the same height as the pyramids, which are also around 400ft tall in the real world.
Do not mix up the USS Enterprises

The ship is presumably a model of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65), until recently the longest naval vessel ever built, which would be 34cm long on a 1/1000th scale. The spaceship is the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) from the Star Trek franchise. It's unclear whether mixing up the models is prohibited because it would damage them, or simply because that's not where they are supposed to be. The Starship Enterprise might be corroded by seawater, or unable to handle external pressure (spacecraft are designed for the exact opposite pressures in a vacuum). If lifted into the air, the Aircraft Carrier Enterprise would probably fall back down because it can't fly [citation needed].

The Enterprise from the Kelvin timeline in the JJ Abrams films has been seen to hide underwater and take off again without significant problems, however the Original Series version has not been seen to fly lower than Earth's outer atmosphere. Based on the depiction of the Enterprise, it is hard to tell exactly which version of the Enterprise it is, and thus its exact capabilities.
No connecting the Dead Sea to the ocean The surface of the Dead Sea is 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, so connecting it to the ocean could cause catastrophic flooding of the area. This has actually been proposed: Dead Sea Canal
Do not let ants into the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory was a neutrino observatory located at the 2100-meter depth level of the Creighton Mine in Ontario, Canada. It has since been upgraded to the SNOLAB facility. At 1/1000th scale, its meters-scale tunnels would be millimeters across, and its 3,000-meter maximum depth would reach three meters underground. This would make it ideal for habitation by ants, but as the mine is in rock, and not soil, extracting the ants after they get in would be much more difficult than most pest control operations. Also, some types of ants would eat the insulation around the wires, causing electrical short-circuits and other problems, which would be bad because, as noted above, the model's neutrino detectors are apparently functional.
Only one person on the Golden Gate Tightrope at a time The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge in San Francisco, 2.7 km long and 27 m wide. Scaled-down, it would be 2.7 m long and 2.7 cm wide, and it would be tempting to use it as a tightrope. The bridge's live load capacity is officially 4000 lbs per lineal foot. Because mass is proportional to volume, which is distance cubed, this suggests that the model bridge would be rated for 0.000004 lbs per scale lineal foot, or 0.004 lbs per 'real-life' lineal foot. If it is able to hold even one person at a time, this model bridge must be several orders of magnitude stronger than its real-life counterpart.
Do not remove Statue of Liberty LEGO minifig Whoever has made this model has decided to use a small LEGO Minifigure rather than a more accurately sculpted replica of the Statue of Liberty. The person would likely not want it to be removed because it would then have to be replaced. LEGO has released a Statue of Liberty minifigure which is 5.3cm tall. The real Statue of Liberty, from head to toe, is 46 meters tall. At a 1/1000 scale, this would be a 4.6cm figurine, so the LEGO Minifigure would indeed be an appropriate representation at that scale.
Please stop releasing goldfish in the ocean. They keep eating the blue whales. Blue whales are the largest animal species in the world. They usually grow to about 20m long in real life, meaning that at 1/1000th scale they would be only 2cm long, meaning that they could be consumed by a goldfish. Goldfish are omnivores, so they would eat tiny blue whales. Goldfish are freshwater fish, but there is evidence that they can tolerate some amount of saltwater. This might also be a reference to the video game Tasty Blue, in which a goldfish eats animals of increasing size and eventually becomes large enough to eat blue whales.
(title text)
We're worried that a regular whale will get into a 30-foot-deep ocean trench section and filter-feed on all the tiny whales.
The ~10 deepest ocean trenches are in the vicinity of 30,000 ft, so they would be 30 ft deep in the model. A blue whale is about 15 ft tall, and there are several smaller species of whale, so a full-sized whale would fit into the scaled-down trench.

Blue whales usually eat krill; the tiny whales would be about the same size, though nowhere near the same density, so any feeding whale would soon go hungry. However, a 15-foot (ca. 5 meters) diameter whale in a trench only 30 feet (ca. 9 m) deep (ignoring displacement, for the moment) might have difficulty feeding anyway.

Following on to the full-size goldfish:scaled-down blue whale comparison, the title text compares a full-sized whale to the depth of the scaled-down ocean.


[At the top of the image, inside the panel, a large title is floating in the air. Megan balances on the Golden Gate bridge, her legs wobbling. Jill is sitting on the ice sheet and Cueball is knee-deep in the ocean.]
For visitors to my 1/1,000th scale world
1 meter = 1 km 1 ft = 1,000 ft
[Each of the following rules is written near a character or point of interest on the map.]

[Keep hot objects off the ice sheet over the south pole neutrino observatory]

[Do not bother the meteor crater ducks]

[No connecting the dead sea to the ocean]

[Be patient: Niagara falls will take a few minutes to fill your water glass]

[Trip hazard: the Gateway arch]

[Do not let ants into the Sudbury neutrino observatory]

[Only one person on the Golden Gate tightrope at a time]

[Watch for small planes]

[Drone altitude limit]

[Do not remove statue of liberty LEGO minifig]

[Do not remove safety caps]

[Caution: sharp]

[Do not mix up the USS enterprises:]

[Two zeppelins float in the sky.]

[No open flames in zeppelin area]

[A fish at a size relevant to the characters in the strip faces towards two small two small horizontal lines, presumably whales.]

[Please stop releasing goldfish in the ocean. They keep eating all the blue whales.]

[An arrow points to a small line in the sky resembling an airplane.]

[Warning! Choking hazard! Keep small children away from ascending/ descending airliners]

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Just for reference: the maths to scale down the Niagara Falls flow an convert from cubic feet to cubic centimeters:

> 1e5*(.3048)^3*1000^2/(1e3)^3
[1] 2.831685
> 1e5*(.3048)^3*1000^2/(1e3)^3/2
[1] 1.415842

American editors may want to adapt the formulas to add the numbers in cubic inches.--Pere prlpz (talk) 18:29, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

do we have a category for these small scale world comics if not we might want to discuss that. 18:51, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Yeah, I was wondering about this because when the first two came out, there wasn't a category. Now with the appearance of this one, there is. Does there need to be three in a series? Is there even really a specific number? RingTailedLemur (talk) 22:26, 13 February 2021 (UTC)

Based on the original Star Trek canon, I believe it more than reasonable to say that all of the Enterprises would be able to operate at least partially submerged, but I would be very worried about a scale aircraft carrier breaking in two if lifted. 20:56, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Tensile/shear strength works on cross-section, so would be proportional to the square of the scale, not the cube. A scaled-down Golden Gate Bridge would only support a millionth of the full load, not a billionth, so the proportional load is only 0.3 of a person. (And it basically wouldn't have to support itself, which, as it turns out, takes care of most of the remaining part.) -- 22:07, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

Hey 162, I rewrote this section a little bit. Would welcome feedback or corrections. Jkshapiro (talk) 20:46, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

Neutrino Detector/Observatory seem to be 2 different things? one under an icesheet, one in tunnels? Some light should be shed on what they are, where they are, wether the ice sheet is to scale, etc. Also why the implication of the neutrino detector being functional ("The fact that people are not supposed to create false positives implies that the neutrino detector is functional.") - also: The no hot stuff on the ice could be just about not melting the ice and therefore destroying the model, instead of messing with the detectors... --Lupo (talk) 06:25, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

Only particles that travel faster than the speed of light (in ice) will emmit Cherenkov light, so the part about the "hot objects" is incorrect. What is shown here is the IceCube observatory, whose main detector part are the "strings" with "DOMs" buried deep down in the ice (between about 1500m and 2500m below the surface) -- 08:45, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

I find that the zeppelin part doesn't make much sense (in the comic, not the explanation) as modern zeppelins are filled with helium rather than hydrogen... even "classic" zeppelins were filled with helium if available. The resaon for the Hindenburg not being filled with helium but hydrogen was a ban on helium exports by the US. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_129_Hindenburg#Use_of_hydrogen_instead_of_helium Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 09:04, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

Would have been interesting if he had put a shipwreck on the ocean floor next to Cueball with the warning/reminder, "Do not try to raise the Titanic." RAGBRAIvet (talk) 09:46, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

"Do not play with the Titanic." These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 23:39, 31 January 2021 (UTC)

In the upper left corner of the comic there is a girl with a "Mickey Mouse" and perhaps cornrows hairstyle. Is she black? Does Randal have other black characters in any of the comics? Punchcard (talk)

I thought that was Science Girl...looks like her in 1058. Danish (talk) 15:35, 28 January 2021 (UTC)
I find it distressing that someone is trying to introduce an identity policy/agenda into a cartoon using minimalistic stick figures.  Anyone could be anything — Cueball, who is generally assumed to be male, could actually be a female suffering from alopecia areata or other hair loss, perhaps due to chemotherapy; and the pony-tailed character sometime referred to as 'Danish' (and for that matter, how do we know he or she is Danish?) could be a male rocking the old hippie look. RAGBRAIvet (talk) 07:08, 30 January 2021 (UTC)
or just a person of any gender who likes having really short hair/a shaved head. A person doesn't need to have a medical reason for deciding for a specific hairstyle. But how is asking "is she black?" introducing an agenda? --Lupo (talk) 11:26, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
Danish is named after a pastry. Otherwise though I generally agree with your premise, there's no need to try to project attributes onto characters like this when it's not relevant to the comic. Esogalt (talk) 07:11, 9 October 2021 (UTC)
Even in 617: Understocked where real people of colour are pictured, they are drawn in the same style without of any indication of skin colour. Therefore it is possible that that person is black, but I don't think it has any relevance here, as it doesn't change anything about the meaning of the comic. The artstyle simply doesn't reflect skin colour. --Lupo (talk) 11:26, 1 February 2021 (UTC)
I just assumed they were all Black.Jkshapiro (talk) 20:50, 2 January 2022 (UTC)

Order of comics[edit]

I wonder why he posted this one after the 1/10,000 and 1/100,000 comics instead of publishing them in order. My thought is maybe he worked on them simultaneously but this one wasn't ready, or maybe he made this one because he felt the response to the previous two was positive. 23:50, 27 January 2021 (UTC)

I can almost *guarantee* that it's the second one.

Small planes[edit]

I was fascinated by the east/west layers shown under "Watch for small planes". I assume this is in reference to actual US FAA and/or global practices? And of course the next question that occurs to me is what about planes flying due north or due south? Can anyone fill in some notes on this? 01:12, 28 January 2021 (UTC)

Global. Well, not entirely universal, but common for lot of countries. See Semicircular Flight Level rule. Apparently, New Zealand, Italy and Portugal prefer to divide by North/South but most countries use West/East. -- Hkmaly (talk) 01:34, 28 January 2021 (UTC)
Any aircraft with a heading from 0° to 179° is considered to be flying "east", and one with a heading anywhere from 180° to 359° is considered to be flying west. (Headings get rounded to nearest degree, so nobody flies at 359.5°.) Traffic headed east flies at odd flight levels (31,000 ft, 33,000 ft, etc.) while traffic heading west flies at even flight levels (30,000 ft, 32,000 ft, etc.) -- 03:38, 28 January 2021 (UTC)
This is sensible (required?) for VFR flights below the flight levels, where the even/odd rules are followed. Up in the PCA, you just fly at whatever level makes ATC happy. RandalSchwartz (talk) 01:47, 29 January 2021 (UTC)
Thanks! That clears it up. I've added a short sentence to the table entry. The Artist Formerly Known as 06:59, 29 January 2021 (UTC)

Girl in the background[edit]

I don't get the girl sitting at top left. What is she sitting on?

It's the Antarctic ice sheet. Big, innit? 22:27, 28 January 2021 (UTC)
But why is she up in the atmosphere?
She's not. She's sitting on top of the ice sheet. Danish (talk)
The sheet averages 1.6km thick (1.6 scaled metres) or maybe more. But in places significantly more. The weight of ice can be depressing the ground beneath by greater than a couple of km. The detector array is (at the surface infrastructure) 2800m ASL with variously 1.5-2.5km of string-holes dangled down into the ice-cap. Comparing with Cueball, if brought away from wading in the ocean, that makes him slightly taller than I'd have guessed. (How you can see this - in the same view as the Golden Gate, all those cork-tipped buildings and other stuff - is an issue with the model layout rather than scale.) 01:43, 29 January 2021 (UTC)
FWIW I had the same problem at first trying to understand what I was looking at there. It kind of looks like she's sitting about 10 feet above the duck pond. It took me a while to kind of figure out some of the implied 3D aspects of the drawing. 07:26, 29 January 2021 (UTC)