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    PQ | Features | Mailbag | February 8, 2002
   

PQ Mailbag

Greetings and welcome, loyal mailbag readers! Sit down, make yourself at home, and take comfort in the fact that the horrors of the previous mailbag will never again be repeated. And now, prepare yourself for...

47,031 marshmallow Peeps!

One metric ton of marshmallow Peeps. What would you do with them? Hopefully something more productive than these next two letters...


From: "Phoenix"
Subject: Peeps, it's what's for dinner.

I'd eat them! All of them!

No, actually with a metric ton of marshmallow Peeps I would be able to feed all the starving children of the world. Let's face it, there's enough sugar in 1 box of peeps to make the average 8 year old go into orbit, so I figure 1 box of peeps would feed 1 third-world country starving kid for an entire year. 1 Peep weighs 3/4 of an ounce and has 32 calories. That's 160 calories a box, so that's enough to keep them alive and even put some meat on their bones I think. A metric ton is 2,200 lbs, with 16 ounces in a lb that's 35,200 ounces, with 1 peep at 3/4 of an ounce that yields a total of 46,933 and 1/3 peeps. So that will feed 9386 kids with 2 peeps left over. Ok, so it won't feed ALL the starving children of the world for a year, but we can just use them for slave labor in our new peep factory to make even more peeps to feed more kids, right? World Peace is within our grasp!

Then again, maybe not. We could mail them to Osama Bin Laden with a tac-nuke buried in the center. If the bomb didn't get him the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man effect would. Either way we're all winners in the end, right? ;)

- Phoenix

a madman: Hmm... enough sugar in 1 box of peeps to put the average 8-year-old into orbit? We'll see about that...

Escape velocity of the Earth is roughly 7 miles/second, which converts to roughly 11,000 meters/second. Let's say that an 8 year old weighs 80 lbs, or 36 Kg. If that seems a bit much, we'll just assume that this is an American child.

So, using the formula for kinetic energy, E = mv2, we can see that a box of marshmallow Peeps would need to contain 4.6 billion Joules of energy, or a little over 575M Joules per Peep. Note that direct conversion of a 3/4 oz Peep to energy (e = mc2, of course) would release over 9.28 * 1015 Joules of energy. That's only 0.00000619% efficiency! One Peep should be able to launch well over 161,000 children into orbit!

Dire Hamster: You know, if Peeps really contained that much potential energy, they'd be a lot more useful. Especially if they came with fuses. Actually, better make that radio-controlled detonators. Either way, I'd never want for a parking spot again.

a madman: With that many Peeps, we could DESTROY THE ENTIRE WORLD! Something must be done. The public must be told. Before the Peeps annihilate us all.

Dire Hamster: But anyway, that's really a great plan, and all, but if we had Bin Ladin's mailing address, I really don't think we'd really need the peeps.

a madman: Are you kidding? They're a much more environmentally friendly form of mass destruction than U-235 bombs! They're not even banned by the Geneva convention or any of the SALT treaties.

Dire Hamster: But the pink dye alone would be enough to give every living thing on Earth cancer!

a madman: You're right, let's just stick with the nukes. It's safer.


From: "Trista"
Subject: Question of the Fortnight (because that's what it really is, isn't it?)

Question: What would you do with a metric ton of marshmallow Peeps? Assume for the purpose of calculations that the horse is a perfect sphere, and that the fuel in your jetski is massless.

Well, seeing as I'm in the 0.0025% of people on this planet who actually like Marshallow Peeps, I'd probably eat a few first. Then I would have to recalculate the error propagation after the decrease in the horse's spherical radius and account for the methane farts of cows as cheaper and more efficient fuel. The jetski has no bearing on this calculation because after I siphoned the fuel out for use in my own car I listed it for sale on eBay. Hey, I have to fund my EverCrack habit somehow.

(Actually, that's not true. It's not as addictive as crack. heheh. heheheh. hehehehehehh.)

Now that I think about it, massless fuel in my car would mean a faster quarter mile. But then I'd have to account for the added mass of me after shoving my face full of marshmallow Peeps. I guess they cancel each other out. Damn.

So what would I do with the remaining Peeps? The opportunities are endless! They could be used for torture ("Tell us everything you know or you will be forced to eat Marshmallow Peeps." "Gaaaah! Anything but that!"), or padding (put them at the end of the gymnastic vault boards, instead of those foam cubes), or even as backup space shuttle fuel (since movement in space is very close to theoretical reaction calculations, throwing Peeps in the opposite direction of where you want to go will move the ship closer to the intended destination. Of course, you'd have to account for the extra near-metric-ton of weight when taking off, but hey, we're not paying attention to detractors, are we?)

Or you could sell them on eBay to that 0.0025% that wants them. =)

- *meep*

a madman: That's just great. Two weeks worth of mail, and not a single useful response.

Now what are we going to do with all these peeps? I mean, that's a great plan and all, making money selling Peeps, but it leaves out nearly as many steps as Phoenix's plan.
Daniel Day-Lewis, an
inspiration to us all.
Ph34r the hat!

Dire Hamster: So here's the new plan:

Step 1: We all grow handlebar moustaches. (see fig. 1)
Step 3: Make millions of dollars!"

a madman: It's just crazy enough to work - but Jube would never go along with it. Now... what was step 2, again?

Dire Hamster: Does it matter? MILLIONS of dollars! Think about it!

a madman: But can I keep my goatee?

Dire Hamster: So long as you wear a string tie and spats, that would be fine.

a madman: Excellent.

Next: More things that aren't Peeps, and a bonus Spam of the [time period]!


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