5 Pop Culture Questions You Won't Believe Have Been Answered
You know that one superfan who can give you a lecture on every background character in Star Wars or rattle off the names of every Pokemon and their sexual preferences? Most of the time we try to avoid engaging these people in their favorite topics for fear of getting trapped in a three-hour conversation about the bathroom habits of Xaro Xhoan Daxos, but every now and then they undertake so much effort to answer a question so trivial, you can't help but be impressed.
How Much Is Princess Peach's Castle Worth?
Ever wondered exactly how wealthy Princess Peach really is? Of course you haven't -- you were too busy curb-stomping turtles to bother with any of that. But the Movoto real estate group decided to use their expertise and the fact that it was a lazy Friday afternoon, to put a price on Peach's castle in Super Mario 64. The first step was pinning down a location. Since acid hallucinations are freed from the traditional constraints of space and time, they had to settle for a real-world locale that matched the ecological mishmash that is the Mushroom Kingdom. Apparently Oslo comes closest to having a combination of mountains, grasslands, waterfalls, gigantic mushrooms, and racetracks made of doughnuts all within a triple-jump of each other.
With property rates in hand, Movoto next determined the size of the castle. The average double-doored entrance like Peach has is 72 inches wide. Using the door as a ruler, they determined that Peach's pad is a sprawling 453,060 square feet, and probably has at least one stray Toad entombed within its walls for good luck. That makes Peach's castle about the size of Hogwarts, although it's unclear whether they counted just the grounds or also included the battlefields, docks, and giant clocks Peach's magical paintings hide.
Making the reasonable assumption that castles are expensive, Movoto looked at the most extravagant houses in Oslo and found an average square foot price of $2,099. That seems a bit much for a neighborhood overrun with killer plants, angry sentient bullets, and endless pools of lava, but we suppose gentrification has to start somewhere.
Put all of that together, and you end up with a value of $950,972,940. And that's just the castle itself -- the figure doesn't include the land it sits on, its dozens of golf courses and tennis courts, or the elaborate lava level in the basement. Then again, maybe the economy works differently in a world where you can punch bricks into gold.
When Was Ferris Bueller's Day Off?
If you need a refresher on Ferris Bueller's Day Off because basic cable has taken half the day off from showing it on constant loop, it's about a student named Ferris Bueller who takes a day off. Years later, fans were left wondering the same thing: "Where did Cameron's dad bury the body after he got home?" Other, less morbid fans just wanted to know exactly when Ferris' day off was.
That's where Baseball Prospectus writer Larry Granillo comes in: He noticed that the movie used real footage and play-by-play commentary in its depiction of the Cubs game that the kids take in while playing hookey. Because the movie was released in the summer of 1986, Granillo deduced that the game took place during the '85 season. After looking through the game logs, he dug up four games where the Cubs pitcher we see on-screen faced the Atlanta Braves in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. From there it was just a matter of piecing together the other clues in the commentary to determine that Ferris' day off was on June 5, 1985. Granillo even figured out that the foul ball Ferris caught was hit by Atlanta right fielder Claudell Washington in the top of the 11th. That's right, the Claudell Washington.
And because it ran late, Ferris would have caught his foul ball a little after 4:00 pm. That means the trio had to cram in the Sears Tower, the art museum, and a crashed parade featuring two musical numbers all before Ferris raced home at 5:55. That leaves us with a new question: Was Ferris secretly The Flash?
What Does Bob Ross Like To Paint?
Ever since The Joy of Painting first captivated stoners in 1983, America has been familiar with Bob Ross' love of happy little trees. But it was only recently that FiveThirtyEight, which might as well be called The Joy of Cold Statistical Analysis, decided to dissect his PBS career and dredge up the dark secrets of Ross' idyllic landscapes.
The study found that either Bob didn't like people a whole lot, or maybe, like Rob Liefeld, he just couldn't draw feet: Out of 381 paintings there's only a single person -- a silhouetted cowboy who looks like he may have been in the middle of traveling South, if you know what we mean.
His landscapes are almost all post-apocalyptic, featuring simple, weathered structures like rickety barns and decrepit fences. Modern conveniences like bridges, mills, boats, and lighthouses are almost unheard of. But were there ever trees? Ninety-one percent of his paintings include at least one. Extrapolating for a lifetime of painting, Ross has put over 27,000 trees to paper, or about half as many as Snoop Dogg.
How Much Is Minecraft's Diamond Armor Worth?
Minecraft is basically the video game equivalent of Lego, except your jerky siblings can't smash your creations. Players mine for materials which they then craft into buildings, swords, and armor. One of the most sought after materials is diamond, which is difficult and dangerous to mine even without getting into the whole Creeper Blood Diamonds controversy.
But how much would it cost to purchase a set of diamond armor in real life? MatPat, host of the YouTube channel The Game Theorists, asked this exact question. Then, more helpfully, he answered it.
First, Mat took the volume of an individual Minecraft pixel (0.000244 cubic meters, for those of you who don't know offhand). He then counted the number of pixels in the armor to determine the volume of the set, which gave him the number of carats (2,632,500). If carats are a meaningless measurement to you because you're not a Swiss jeweler, that's nearly 850 times more carats than the largest diamond ever found.
Next, Mat needed to determine the market price of a Minecraft diamond. As the cat burglars who make up a surprisingly large portion of our audience know, the price of a diamond isn't just determined by size, but also clarity, color, and what rapper's teeth it was once in. The distinct blue tint of a Minecraft diamond makes it incredibly valuable, because that's extremely rare in the real world. Just how valuable? $33,500 per carat.
Do the math and you've got a set of armor worth $88,188,750,000.98. Unfortunately, Mat also determined that the armor would have multiple "cleavage planes," which sounds sexy but actually means that one solid strike at a 90-degree angle would shatter it. So if you've ever wanted to wear and then immediately destroy the GDP of multiple developing countries, you better get crafting.
How Do The Seasons In Game Of Thrones Work?
It can be easy to forget that Game of Thrones isn't set in medieval Europe, given how much George R. R. Martin ripped straight from ye olde headlines. One of the few signs that it's set in another world is that every character keeps reminding us that winter has been coming for the past five years and will last longer than one of George Martin's books.
Their seasonal disparity is a simple concept, but it's tricky to explain the science behind it. As you know if you paid attention in fifth grade, seasons are caused by a planet's tilt as it orbits the sun. For a planet to have longer seasons, it would simply have to have a longer orbit. But they would still come at regular intervals, so that wouldn't explain why some of Westeros' summers and winters last a couple of years while others can run for a decade or more, or why no one can predict when they're coming (besides the fact that meteorologists in Westeros keep getting flayed alive whenever it rains unexpectedly).
Luckily, a group of graduate students at Johns Hopkins University figured it out: They determined that this planet's solar system must include two suns, with everything orbiting in and around each other like a cosmic gangbang.
Because peer review can get ridiculous, another scientist suggested that no fewer than three major stars can account for the planet's orbital weirdness, or that it might actually be an exomoon orbiting a gas giant. We're sure we'll get a definitive answer when A Dream of Spring is released in 2047 by the son of Brandon Sanderson.
Sometimes Manna has a Twitter.
For more impressive feats of nerdom, check out The 27 Most Impressively Nerdy Accomplishments and The 5 Most Insane Things Ever Accomplished In A Video Game.