Friday, February 5, 2010

Peanut Chairs Cost Twice as Much as Silverdome

In 1975, the 80,300-seat Pontiac Silverdome opened after taxpayers spent $55.7 million to bring the project to fruition. This past November, city officials sold it for $583,000, barely 1% of its original price. It goes without saying the people of Michigan deserved more for their investment. (I’m looking at you, Lions.) Some have said this was “sold for peanuts,” but I beg to differ. What costs more: the Silverdome or the number of peanuts needed to build a life-size replica of the Silverdome?

Let’s just consider the 80,300 chairs. You can construct a reasonably sized chair out of one square meter of peanuts. Peanuts are about 1.0 cm thick and 2.5 cm long, meaning we could construct a chair out of about 4000 peanuts. A single peanut weighs about one gram, and 4000 peanuts weigh about 4.0 kg. A 0.5 kg jar of peanuts costs as little as $2.00. From this info, we can calculate how much it would cost to build just the Silverdome chairs out of peanuts,

(number of chairs) · (mass per chair) · (cost per mass)
= (80,300 chairs) · (4.0 kg per chair) · ($2.00 per 0.5 kg)

Peanut chairs cost twice as much as the city got for the Silverdome. Sorry, Pontiac, you didn’t even sell it for peanuts.

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