Thursday, August 28, 2014
Ghostbusters is coming back to theaters this week for the film's 30th anniversary, remastered for the occasion, so, of course, someone asked the question: What are the logistics involved in [SPOILERS AHEAD, IF THAT'S ACTUALLY A THING WHEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A 30 YEAR OLD MOVIE] a giant marshmallow man wandering around Manhattan?
On the remnants left behind:
But there is a stickier problem: Uptown Manhattan is now covered in melted marshmallow, nearly 2,000 tons of it. I did the math.
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is exactly 112.5 feet tall according to Ghostbusters' model shop supervisor. To account for his chubby arms and beer belly marshmallow belly, let's assume he's about one-third wide as he is tall. And for the sake of simplicity, let's assume he's roughly a cylinder, whose volume formula we of course remember from the SATs.
Volume of MM = π(18.75)^2*(112.5) ≈ 124,000 cubic feet
But Marshmallow Man has presumably since melted and congealed, so it's more helpful to think of his mass. Ordinary unmelted marshmallow is light and fluffy, with a density of about 0.5 g/mL. Do a few conversions and we get the total mass of sweet marshmallow guts spilled across Manhattan:
3,870,000 lbs or about 2,000 tons
And what exactly do you do with 2,000 tons of melted marshmallow? To that end, I called up some folks who regularly deal with marshmallow in industrial quantities: Just Born, the makers of beloved Peeps. "This is probably the weirdest question you've ever gotten," I said. "Yeah, it would definitely have to rank up there," Sally, Just Born's customer relations rep replied.