I decided to freak out & try to do some fact checking on my own. I don't know really anything about math or chemistry, so I may be drastically off. I tried not to drop a decimal anywhere, but I don't really know enough about the dynamics of stoichiometry in practice to know if I didn't like, miss a big important step or whatever. I just wanted to flex a part of my brain I don't use very often, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. It was in an email chain I have with some friends; the above image comes up & I wanted to Mythbusters it. Having done so, I wanted to #HumbleBrag about it, since I don't do chemistry ever, but more to the point I know I have science & engineer nerds around, & maybe they could tell me where I went wrong or if I somehow managed to do it correctly?
Stoichiometry is hard!
Cows fart 100 liters a day. (or as much as 200, I am using 100 because it is nice & round)
100 liters = 3.5 cubic feet, ish.
1 therm= 100,000 BTUs
1 therm is approximately = to 100 cubic feet of natural gas (methane) at 59F
So 28.5 days of farting make a Therm.
100,000 BTUs = 105505585 joules.
A Ton of TNT is a unit of energy equal to 4.184 gigajoules
105505585 joules.= 2.52164.4000956 x 10^-5 kilotons of TNT
Um crap I am getting lost in numbers hold on.
105505585 joules = 0.02521644 tons of TNT
Okay base units that is better.
Okay, Little Boy was 16,000 tons of TNT
That means it would take a cow 634507 days to fart that much. Or cut it in half if you think cows fart 200 liters. 1737 years & 80 days. If my math is right. It may not be. I dunno about fucking chemistry at all. That is for a cow; humans I'm guessing fart much less, but I couldn't find a reliable number.
It was then pointed out to me by Blaine that the keyword is "continuous." That is...harder to figure out, though in the looking I found that the normal human range is like .5 to 1.5 liters so like, a hundred times longer than a cow. Anyhow I'm sure I'm doing this backwards by not knowing real equations & having to rely on sources online that don't use consistent units.
The caveat "continuous" is a weird one; I don't know how you would define it. Also, not all of a fart is methane; actually only a pretty small part of it it, 7%. So that there is probably another couple of decimal places, huh? Though you can burn the 21% hydrogen too, I guess. Oh, this has a lot of the same calculations. 147.29 joules per fart, they say. There are 86400 seconds in a day. Estimating a fart a second, that is 12725856 joules per day. 0.00304155 tons of TNT. 5401 years.