How High Can We Build?

How High Can We Build?


Hey, Vsauce. Michael here. And when the pyramids
of Giza were built, the tallest was 147 meters tall, making them the tallest things humans
had ever built. And they remained that way for nearly 4,000 years. It wasn’t even until
the 1300’s that we finally got around to making something taller, a cathedral in England.
So, does that mean that the Great Pyramids of Giza are the “Best tallest structures of all time?” Well, to find out more, all aboard the BOAT. So, what is a building? Well, technically,
a building is a structure in which at least 50% of its height comes from floor plates
where people can live, work, chill out, it has to be habitable. Any less than that and
it’s not a building, it’s a tower. After the Lincoln Cathedral finally surpassed the height
of the pyramids, a number of churches continued to be built that kept breaking and setting
new records. The next long-term record holder was the Eiffel Tower.
It was the tallest thing, ever in history, that we had built, for about 40 years in a
row. It was finally surpassed by the Chrysler Building in New York, a personal favorite,
which was then quickly bested by the Empire State Building. Now, the Empire State Building
is interesting in that it was the first structure ever built by man that was so tall, were you
to jump off the top of it, you would actually reach terminal velocity before you hit the
bottom. It was the first structure we’d ever built that was so tall, rather than just continuing
to accelerate as you fell, you would actually stop accelerating because you would reach
the fastest possible speed your limp body can fall at. In the mid 1950’s, something
weird started to happen. Humans started to build radio and TV towers. These things could
be way taller than the buildings that we’d made previously that had to be habitable.
And so, ever since the Empire State Building had its record broken by a TV tower, all these
other famously tall buildings, the Petronas Towers, Tapei 101, the World Trade Center,
the Willis Tower – formerly Sears Tower – none of them have ever, within their existence,
actually held the title for being the tallest “thing” we’ve ever built. There was always
a radio or TV tower somewhere that was taller. Up until quite recently, and for quite a while,
the record for the tallest thing ever built by humans went to the Warsaw radio mast in
Poland. It’s visually incredibly striking, because there aren’t any other sky scrapers
around it. It’s all alone, being very tall. Well, that was until 1991, where some workers
exchanging guy-wires made a mistake and the whole thing started to bend and then snapped
in the middle. There’s no video of the event happening, but it would have been similar
to this collapse, though much, much taller. After the Warsaw radio mast collapsed, the
KVLY-TV mast in North Dakota became the tallest, still standing, structure built by man. But
recently, buildings have made a comeback. And to check that out, we’re going to have
to travel to the Middle East. This is the first time I’ve ever touched the Nile.
Tadaaa. Ok, so that was me dipping my waterproof camera into the Nile. If you were to take the entire length of the Nile River and stand
it up on its edge, perpendicular to the Earth, it would reach into outer space about this
far, which is pretty impressive. But where does the space shuttle orbit? And where does
the International Space Station orbit? This far away? This far away? Maybe this far away?
Actually, if this pink, inflatable “Horrible Bosses” ball was the Earth, the space shuttle
would orbit about right there. It’s incredible, but it’s possible because the shuttle, and
the International Space Station, travel so quickly. They travel so quickly around the
Earth that instead of seeing one sunrise and sunset every 24 hours, they see 16.
But don’t be jealous. You can easily see more than one sunrise and/or sunset in a day by
taking advantage of tall structures. So, let’s take a look at the tallest structure, the
current record holder for the tallest thing humans have ever built, the Burj Khalifa in
Dubai. The height of this building blows my mind. You can literally watch the sunset from
the base of the building, and then take a super-fast elevator all-the-way up to the
top and watch the same sun set again. In fact, the difference
in timing between sunset at the base and the top is so significant, the Dubai Islamic Affairs
department actually had to make a ruling about when you can start, and break, your fast during
Ramadan inside the building. People above floor 80 or higher have to actually wait to
start eating 2-3 minutes after the people at the base, because the sun hasn’t yet set
for those at the top. But before you head to Dubai to watch the sun rise or set twice
in a day, keep in mind that the only height you actually need to see two sunrises or sunsets
is the height of your own body. Try this the next time you’re at a beach.
Watch the sun rise or set over the water. Water is important because it won’t
have the terrain and hill issues that land does. Now let’s say you’re watching a sunset.
Begin by laying on your stomach. Watch the sun set and as soon as the very last little bit
of the sun goes below the horizon, quickly pop up into a standing position and voilá,
you’ll see the sun’s back – part of it’s back – and it will set another time. If you take a stopwatch and record the time
between the first setting and the second setting that you witness and measure the height
of your eyes when you’re laying down and when you’re standing, you can use those numbers
to calculate the radius of the Earth. XKCD took this a little bit further by proposing
the “Double Sunset Date.” Take your date out to the beach in a cherry picker and sure
enough, it was calculated, given the speed of a cherry picker, all you have to do is move
about 6 feet up and you can watch a beautiful sunset all over again. To put things in perspective, the Burj Khalifa
is nowhere near as tall as Mount Everest. But the tallest structure that we could potentially
build wouldn’t be as tall as Mount Everest, it would be way, way taller. Like, into space
taller. Of course, the problem with building things that are really tall is that they get
heavier and heavier and have to support their own weight. But only up to a point. If a structure was so tall that it wound up
at the altitude of a geostationary orbit, it would start to feel a new force, not just
a gravitational force downward, but all of the sudden this new, centrifugal force up and outward. And so, a building that tall could be stable
through tension. And more than 35,000 km high.
This kind if structure is known as a “Space Elevator.” Unfortunately, there aren’t any materials
known to science today that are strong enough to make building something that large feasable.
With the exception, maybe, of Carbon Nanotubes, or Boron-Nitrate Nanotubes. Of course, if
we went to a smaller celestial body, like the Moon, we could build one today out of
stuff like Kevlar. There are a lot of different things that we
have to be wary of when we build a space elevator. For instance, how do we dodge space debris?
One solution is to attach the Earth side of the cable to a boat in the ocean that can
maneuver around and move the elevator away from dangerous obstacles. Another interesting point is that the taller
the cable, the faster the far end of it will be traveling. In fact, if the cable is more
than 50,000 km long, its far end will be travelling near escape velocity and simply walking outside
could take you to the Moon. But why build a space elevator? Well, because it would be
awesome. But also for better reasons too. For instance, right now, in order to send
a pound of material into orbit, it costs about 11,000 dollars. But with a space elevator,
we could send the same amount of material into orbit for only about 100 bucks. That
difference is so significant that Philip Ragan has said that the first country to deploy
a space elevator will have a 95% cost advantage and will possibly be able to control all space
related activities. Alright, so here you see, in the mirror, Alex
playing guitar while she holds a camera in her mouth and records us. Impressive. I’m
here with Kristen from Barely Political. She’s visiting London and if you enjoyed this episode
of BOAT, check out other episodes, I’ve got them all up there. And as always, thanks for watching. Oh and check out Kristen’s channel right there. Bye! Bye.

100 thoughts on “How High Can We Build?

  1. Didn't answer its own question (how tall we could build).
    Also didn't say what strength we'd need for a space elevator or how close we are.

  2. if the earth is flat, building too tall will tip us over. If it is round, it can alter our tilt. Actually, it would take A LOT off REALLY TALL buildings to do that.

  3. Are you sure that’s the tallest thing. In Louisiana in st. James parish the radio tower is at least 2 miles tall

  4. 0:09 huh …the humans build the pyramids ? Because YOU say so without any proof ? 

    So humans built the moon as well ? no proof needed ? This is a fun video 🤣😜🤓

  5. And the mushroom cloud from The Tsar Bomb was around 64 km(40 miles, 210000 feet) tall. The Soviens could just place it on a small island and erase it from the map

  6. you can only build so high because you will start scratching the paint off the underside of the firmanent

    #BME Ball Earth Matters

  7. we can build into space. and we need to. a space elevator is one of humanities next major necessities. A space elevator would allow us to mine asteroids and transport tons of minerals to Earth not found on Earth or rarely found. It also means we can launch probes and space shuttles without using massive wasteful rockets.

  8. Big deal.!! When I was 16 yrs old, I bought a 15 yr old airplane, built in 1947, for $900 bucks, a
    Taylor craft, which had a 65 horse power Continental aircraft engine, I used to fly it around & terrorise my buddies, I cld SEE TEN SUNSETS, by just diving a little then climbing a little & watch the sun come up, then go down, I cld regulate the SUN like a God.!!!! TEE,HEE. thats a fact, I did it till I got tired, when I told my friends, they didnt believe me, including my science teacher, so I took him for a ride & showed him, he was so impressed, he gave me an A in science, the next yr after graduation when I was 17yrs old, I joind the US Army & after the first six, I went over seas for 2.5 yrs & that's my story & I'm sticken to it, cuz its the truth.

  9. 😵😵🤣🤣🤣THIS idea about the bridge to the Moon sounds like catastrophic catastrophe because if you strapped an elevator to the Moon and the Earth back it would stop the moons orbit and caused massive destruction

  10. Does this all sound like a lot babble? Like the that tower in Assyria. But still, it's a great question and seems to be something people keep asking through out the ages.

  11. Height limit is 256 blocks bro

    You can't build above that, if you want to, you can build on the moon if you have that space mod that Simon and Lewis talked about years ago

  12. being my Mom's dad was a 33deg Mason, my Dad's family are Carpenters, and I studied engineering having an interest in arcatecture. Along with the fact I worked as a rough framer and civil engineer foandeveral years. I must stress safety first. On our sites we had a safety meeting every morning and another at lunch. anyone that knows what I'm talking about will know… You can build high as giraffe balls. 😁

  13. That last few seconds felt a bit 'Harvey Weinstein'.
    Are you gonna make her famous (after she's sampled your 'V-Sauce'?)

  14. Well you don't stop accelerating because you reach the maximum speed, the force of air is qual to your acceleration so you stop accelerating and fall on a certain speed. It is called 9th grade Physics here in Greece

  15. The bigger they are, the harder they fall🤣. It's lying, not laying. You LIE on the bed; you lay the pillow on the bed, for example.

  16. All we have to do is anchor the space elevator at the Earth’s core, eh? That molten ball of metal that’s as hot as the sun’s surface…..sounds simple enough.

  17. Actually Lincoln Cathedral is barely half of the 160m that you depict and has been for nearly 500 years. In the 13th century it had wooden spires on top of the towers.

  18. This comes very close to a click-bait title.  Guy goes on and on blah blah blah for over 7 minutes before he even starts to get to the point.  And then, lousy explanations.  Give this one a pass.

  19. space elevator, that was untill .. where some workers exchanging … made a mistake, and the whole thing started to bend. Punch out at 5 folks, nightcrew has got this! ^^

  20. The wind rushing by that space elevator would be fierce! Wouldn't that make it bow out or at least lag behind like a swirl?

  21. This guy is a moron a"space elevator" what about the earth spinning ? Wouldn't it be like putting a rope out a car window doing 60 ? Or you trying say the earth is Motionless and flat? 🤔

  22. Nothing can touch both ground and the ionosphere since they have opposite charges. It would receive a constant arc of 100 billion amps until it melts.
    So much for the monkey heads who want a space elevator.

  23. If there's a elevator to space then I'm pretty sure transporting temperature would be a thing. We have to do something for global warming.

  24. Humans did not build the pyramids humans did not build most of the structures that include all of New Zealand and much more…Balleron…you have to know the truth…your just part of the …unsaid that keeps the lies going pay your taxes we sending things to space again come on dude there no space…but i always say i take a job… i don't care about millions of idiots …pay me and i help….look it the space staion ..aaah?

  25. For Muslims living in the North Pole, you're gonna starve to death at Ramadan. I guess Allah hates northeners.

  26. You can do this with a man lift and you can do it many times. My buddy Nick and I use to do this on the man lift at the mine. We had a 60 foot and an 80 foot man lift.

  27. We can build this high, except we can't because we don't have the needed materials. Soooo, doesn't that mean we CAN'T build that high? Irritating.

  28. I clicked the video hoping to hear about the space elevator and then I was strangely disappointed and happy and the same time. Then I got rid of the disappointed and was only left with happiness near the end.

  29. 1:34 "so tall you can reach terminal velocity". Is this a fact? It takes more like 1800 feet at sea level for a person to reach 140 mph.

  30. We can actually build as high as we want so long as rocket boosters are attached to the top of the building to provide jet propulsion for the top as it rotates around the Earth outside the atmospheric boundary. One only needs to employ a simple formula to determine the amount of jet propulsion needed for the top of any building that is greater than 5 kilometers in height due to the centrifugal forces that will exert.

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