Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Noah's Ark model via Pharyngula

I saw this in my newsfeed today from Pharyngula:
Oh, boy — get out the model airplane glue and little bottles of paint: you can build a model of Noah's Ark! And it's only $74! (The price of plastic models has sure gone up since I used to buy them with my lawn mowing money).
This injection molded plastic model kit measures over 18 1/2" long and includes 3 separate interior decks with embossed wood texture and many details including ramps and animal cages and corrals. The kit offers several building options. Modelers may display the Ark in cross section to reveal the internal decks or in the full-hull version. Additional building options include: constructing the Ark with or without the deck cabin and a choice to include the "moon pool" (an open center well allowing access to water and waste disposal). This deluxe kit also includes a figure of Noah and 8 pairs of animals!
Cute. Check out these details:
  • Museum-quality replica
  • Highly detailed tooling
  • Accurately scaled to the cubit
 Hmmm... Now, I know that many of the commenters on PZ's blog like to make snarky remarks (and I like to do that too), but his post provided me a good opportunity to actually productively procrastinate on a subject that I was wanting to poke with a stick to see what happened. So I did calculations and posted a response:

If you go to (not somewhere to become an Xtian, but a place to do units-conversion), they have "standardized" the cubit into different types. However, using the range of those different cubits, the dimension above become a ship that is roughly:

430-515 ft x 72-86 ft x 43-51 ft 
(Just as a comparison, the [Remember the] Lusitania was 787ft long and 87ft wide, and carried about 3000 people, and we would consider this a small ship by today's cruise ship standards.)

Assuming that the height was 43-51 ft, with three lower levels, with each level requiring 1 foot of wood for stress support, then the height of each deck would be 13-16 ft.

  • The height of a male bull elephant is 9.8-11.5 ft at the shoulder. A snug fit.
  • The height of a male giraffe is 16 to 18 ft, so they would have to duck.
  • A camel is roughly 7 ft tall at the top of the hump, so no problem in terms of height, there.
However, the proportions of the animals on the ark are WAAAY off from what they should be, let alone how the animals are in relation to the height of the compartments in the ark.

(btw, looking up "gopher wood" on the wikipedia takes you to a page saying - basically - that there is no known tree of that type, but that it is likely a cypress.)

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