The Physics of Minecraft

My son has been addicted to Minecraft for some time, and I have played with him once in a while. Once I got my head around how unrealistic some of the parts were, it is a pretty fun game.

The parts that I thought were most unrealistic (and yet, necessary for the game to exist), were the carrying physics of the character. Steve is the main character, and is representative of a normal person. Steve is roughly 2 game blocks high, and each game block represents one cubic metre, giving Steve a height of ~6 feet. Steve has 27 inventory slots, and 9 active slots, giving him a total of 36 ‘carrying’ slots, in addition to 4 places where he can fit armor (head, chest, legs, boots). Some material is stackable, up to 64 specific items in a single slot. The most glaring examples of this are cobblestone – where you can hold 64 1-cubic metre blocks in a single inventory slot.

Let’s assume that cobblestone is roughly the same density as granite. According to Wikipedia, the density of granite is about 2.7g/cm^3. Thus a 1 cubic metre block of cobblestone would weigh approximately 2700kg, or 5952.5 pounds.

If we extrapolate this out, and say that Stevie can hold 36 slots of 64 blocks each, that would work out to a total of 2304 blocks, each weighing 2700kg, for a total of 6,220,800 kilograms, or around 6000 tons.

An average person can carry roughly 1/3 of their body weight before becoming overburdened. Even if we assume that Steve weighs a hefty and muscular 200 pounds (90kg), he’s carrying too much. Alternately, if we assume that he’s not (which is logical, since he can carry all that and still run at full speed), we would have to assume that Steve weighs somewhere around 18662400kg. If that were the case, with each step he would compress the ground below him and sink down to bedrock, assuming comparable weights and densities to earth.

Regardless, he must work out.

Weird Dream

My daughter has decided that most mornings she wants to go to the Y to work out. I’m OK with this in theory, but when the practice comes to her waking me up at 4:45 or 5:00am (did you know there’s a 5:00 IN THE MORNING?!) then I tend to frown on it. Regardless, being the dutiful parent that I am, I switch off with my wife, and take her to the gym a couple mornings a week. This has resulted in me being awakened from a full deep sleep a couple times, and today I was in the middle of a dream.

First, a quick back note: at work I moved to a different team a few months ago. I have a new manager, and new co-workers, and we’re still in the ‘feeling out’ phase (as my co-worker would say: “Your team is on probation.”).

So, the dream: I am living in a huge house with all the members of my team. My manager is raising giant rabbits in a set of cages outside, and another member of the team who manages a few other people is raising small hunting dogs, that look like corgis. I go out to find this person has released all of the rabbits and is trying to get his dogs to hunt and kill them. The rabbits are super fast, and his dogs aren’t fast enough to catch the rabbits, and he’s trying to compensate by picking up the dogs and throwing them at the rabbits.

I catch him doing this and I confront him, telling him: “If your dogs kill the rabbits, I’ll kill your dogs.”

There’s vengeful dream-Tom for you. Watch out.

Best Tweets of 2010

I’ve been going back through a bunch of my randomness on various social media and collecting a few ‘best of’. Here’s my best tweets of 2010.

Whenever you say “I’ll try”, what you’re saying is: “I will accept failure as an option. ”
@angelaSpain as a 10 year anniversary present, your work should provide a liver transplant.
Me: “What color is the sky in your world?!” Sister: “You have a SKY in your world?!?!”
Having a price doesn’t always involve money.

“For those auditioning for the position of Job in our production of Real Life, the position has been filled. By Me.”
I can’t explain it. Despite all my snobbery, sometimes I just feel the need to tough my way through a really bad cup of coffee.

Friday afternoon at 2:30 is my long dark teatime of the soul.
@hodgman despite being a renowned author, famous movie star, pundit and mensch, do you ever worry you’ll be remembered as just “PC”?
@JoshShipp it is far more important to learn which project you should say no to. Do what you’re good at, eliminate everything else.

If I care about what you say, I’ll make it obvious. If I carry a hockey stick to your cube, You . Have. Fucked. Up.
Being a software architect goes far beyond engineering. You have to see the big picture, and understand all the little pictures.
You know that hole in your face? The one you put pie in? Shut it.
Any time I visit a web site and see a port in your url ( – your architect has Fucked Up™.
@mraible I thought you could only be a Polyglot in Utah.

Yearly performance review states I didn’t meet all my goals this year. The offender: “Swear less in meetings.” Fuck. I’ll do better.

Man, just had a weird experience – had to actually look down to see if I remembered to put pants on today.
The last time I saw Perl, it was wearing a ball-gag and being locked in a trunk by Python.

Don’t walk anywhere today. Mosey, Meander, Stroll, Hop, Waddle or Slide. #outoftheordinary
Give me your tired, your poor/Your huddled masses, and I’ll open a cooler full of coors light and build a NASCAR track and get rich.
Y’know what people, I’m tired of hearing the term ‘Borderline Alcoholic.’ If you’re not willing to work at being the best, then just quit.

Dear Every Programmer: Get Familiar with Unicode and Localization, Or I’ll kill your dog.
Be like the water. The water ebbs and flows, it does not break. Stab the water, it flows back, unharmed. Then it’ll kill you when you sleep.
I think cover bands, by their nature are not edgy. If they named themselves “Bleeding Wrists” and then played Cuddle Core I might reconsider
Awesome: When the border guard asks you “Have any guns?” You say “No”, your daughter says “You should see all the ones he has at home.”
Changed his relationship status with his church to “It’s Complicated.”

Those who are content rarely impact the world.
Here’s the biggest tip I can give you: if you want to be treated with even a modicum of respect as a writer, read Strunk & White. #pleaseGod
3d6+2. Thats how I roll.

@cmedders The problem is you’re not using a synergy on your process, and as such, your infrastructure isn’t deployable into the google.
I truly feel american today – I have just threatened someone with litigation, despite all my other attempts to resolve an issue. :(
Dropped stuff off at UPS, cleaned my desk, guns and workshop, laptops and iPad charging. Ready for a trip… Or the apocalypse.
Had a great dinner last night – Squirrel. Surprisingly AWESOME.
I don’t care what you do – if you do it well and with passion, I will respect you.
I just had a revelation: Dr Phil is actually Jeff Foxworthy with a half-bald wig. Same accent, same mannerisms, same TV Audiences.
I play a game with my wife on a fairly regular basis. It’s called “Don’t Forget The Baby.” She’s winning, 17-16. We don’t speak of why.
Today is the first day of the last part of the third section, 9th subsection, chapter 3 of what is probably the last half of your life.
“We’re off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Jobs. Because because because because because, because of the beautiful things he does
Today’s tip for ‘Being Green’: if you only use one side of the Q-tip, return it to the box so someone else can use the other half.
Let me be honest here: I don’t care if you misunderstand me. That’s *your* problem, not mine.

Ok, I’ve started my New Years Eve drinking. At Home. By myself. At 7:40am.
Here’s my thought of the day: if you fuck up, for God’s sake, step up. Own your mistake. Learn from it. Try to fix it. #beagrownup.
“Bit twiddling is hard.” – Offshore Software Engineer Barbie
Just remember: Kylar is good, Kylar is wise.
Just found this in my own code: char c = (char) (65 + rand.nextInt(58)); if (c >= 91 && c <= 96) c = 'q';//I like q. I know that God is inside everyone, including me, and I'm pretty sure he really likes coffee, cause he makes me drink it. you know what would have been better than this morning? Disembowelment. "The problem with undereducation in the colonies is that people wrongly believe that anything said on twitter is true." - Queen Victoria If I could be anything i want when I grow up, I want to be..... Intoxicated. Man, let me tell you: A Rubix cube is not the gift to get a kid who's colorblind. #justsayin

Thomas The Tank Engine. The Truth.

kylar > Not to mention that Thomas and Friends is all about Race Tensions dumbed down for a 4 year olds.
kylar > You think that the Steam Engines vs the Diesels isn’t about the
pressures of a technological society trying to impose it’s will upon
the established masses, or alternately, about the struggles of Blacks
vs Whites, exemplified by the “Devious Diesel” character, who is the
primary antagonist, and so happens to be BLACK!
person A > What about turbo diesels?
person B > and the helicopter?
person A > Or are they like black irish?
person C > turbo diesels steal performance, i don’t trust them
kylar > The helicopter is representative of the plutocratic conspiracies,
when the rich-dressed ‘Sir Topham Hatt’ is unable to accomplish
something via the trains, (representative of the democratic process),
he uses the helicopter to circumvent any issues, thus proving that
wealth buys power and corrupts the system.
kylar > Man, this started as a joke, but now I wonder.
kylar > >:)

TSSJS: Eugene Ciurana : Mission Critical Enterprise/Cloud Applications Case Study

This was easily one of the best talks at TSSJS. Eugene is an excellent speaker, and his content was top-notch. His presenting style has a lot of audience participation, and kept my interest very well.

His talk was on what people tend to define as ‘cloud computing’ today – Software As A Service (SaaS), Platform As A Service (PaaS), then moved into some use-cases that he’s dealt with, including LeapFrog and others.

He spent some time going over some specific companies and what they offer, like Amazon’s S3, and RackSpace, and while not promoting any single one, went over the points that are important to weigh when selecting a Cloud provider (uptime, SLA’s, cost breakdown (Are you charged per day? per CPU? Bandwidth, etc).

He also brought into play some of the specific benefits (both technical AND business) to using a Cloud system instead of building out your own co-lo, and finished with a short Q&A session.

This session could easily have gone twice as long, as there ended up being lots of information that I still could have gotten (and I ended up catching up to him later to discuss some of the points I didn’t get to bring up during the Q&A.)

For anyone in this area, I would definitely recommend seeing this talk or speaker, if at all possible.
Overall Rating: 5/5.