The Silver Surfer is in trouble. He made some risky bets in Three Card Poker, and now he owes $10,000 to the Mafia. There’s no time left – he has 1 hour to pay back the debt, or the mob will collect it for him, and they’re a little fuzzy with the math. He turns to you and Great Leap Studios to help.
He’s come to you for help. You’re a surgeon, and a great one at that. The Silver Surfer doesn’t have a penny to his name, but what he does have is silver – his entire body is made up of .999 pure silver, and silver has very real value to the mafia.
The Silver Surfer’s Proposal
The Silver Surfer needs you to get exactly $10,000 worth of silver from his body. The problem is that you have to figure out how much that is, based on the spot price of silver, and unfortunately you don’t have a scale on hand to weigh him. You need to base your amputations on estimates, and try your best to get the exact value necessary.
Here’s what you do know:
- The Spot Price of Silver is $31.40 per troy ounce.
- The Silver Surfer has the body type of a 6’0, 160lb male.
- $10,000 is 318.47 troy ounces of silver.
- 318.47 troy ounces is 349.40 standard ounces.
- 349.40 standard ounces is 21.83 pounds.
At first glance you need to cut off approximately 21.83 pounds of silver from the Silver Surfer. The average human leg is 10% of a person’s body weight. You can cut off one leg in its entirety (16lbs), and cut off roughly 1/3rd of the remaining leg (5.33) plus 2 fingers (roughly 4 ounces each) and you have 21.83 pounds.
You tell the Silver Surfer your plan, and you can see his face go white with fear, but he nods. You start to give him anesthesia, but suddenly you stop.
“What?” he asks.
You realize that your original calculations were wrong. They were based on weight estimates of the average human being. The Silver Surfer is a person made up entirely of silver. That means you’re going to have to drastically change your measurements, and account for the fact that he has a working circulatory system of pure silver.
Figuring out the exact math becomes much trickier. For starters, silver weighs more per square inch than the rest of the human body. For the purposes of quick math, we’ll assume that the body is made up only of bone and liquid. Your body has skin, tissues, other organs, etc., but the density/weight of these is likely to be somewhere between the weight of liquid and the weight of a solid, so for the sake of estimations these will be included in “liquid” and “solid.”
Based on some quick math, we can also break out the following:
- Blood has a density of 1060 kg/m³ (plasma has a 1025 kg/m³ density, blood cells are 1125).
- Based on weight conversions, the average weight of blood is roughly 8.84 pounds per gallon.
- Silver has a liquid density of 9320 kg/m³.
- Based on weight conversions, the average weight of liquid silver is 77.779 pounds per gallon.
That’s a considerable difference, and one that makes it a bit easier to pay back the debt. In fact, a human being can lose roughly half a gallon of “blood” and still function. That provides over 30 pounds of silver – more than enough to pay back the debt.
Almost too easy, and it makes this exercise much less enjoyable. So let’s up the amount. Let’s say that the Silver Surfer owes 500% interest on his debt – $50,000, or 109.15 pounds of silver according to the same measurements above. He can lose approximately half a gallon of blood, totaling 38.89 pounds. He still needs to account for 70.26 pounds of silver.
He’s still going to have to lose some body parts. Silver as a solid weighs 87.54 pounds per gallon. Gallon is obviously not the best measurement here but it’s the one we’re using. For the sake of conversions, we can calculate the amount any given chunk of flesh will weigh based on 66% liquid, 33% solid, or 80.21 pounds per gallon.
This is still not the best measurement to use when calculating the amount of silver in body parts. Instead, let’s convert it using a very rough estimation:
- Water makes up 60% of your body weight.
- Silver’s liquid density is 9.32 x the weight of water.
- A 160lb man would be 96lbs of water.
- 96lbs of water would be 894lbs of silver.
- That leaves 64lbs at the density of solid silver.
- Solid silver density is heavier, and multiplied by 10.49, totaling 671.36.
- Total, the Silver Surfer weighs about 1585 pounds of silver.
For the purposes of easier math, let’s assume that any body part cut off weighs roughly 9.90 times the weight of a normal human (1585/160).
We’re dealing with traditional pounds, not troy pounds. In troy ounces, the Silver Surfer weighs 23,114. His total value according to the spot price of silver is $727,000. That doesn’t help us with the math for cutting up his limbs, but it’s an interesting number nonetheless. He owes the mob roughly 6.87% of his body.
You give these numbers to the Silver Surfer. It’s not as frightening as he initially thought, so he asks you to cut up his body so he can still lead the highest quality of life. Obviously you can’t cut off his head, although that would cover most of the costs. You probably shouldn’t cut off his hands either.
We’ll get back to the blood later. For now, you’re hoping to locate 70.26 pounds of silver, or 7.09 pounds from the average man. We can remove simple things like the gallbladder (2.3 ounces) and the appendix (5 ounces). That helps a little, bringing the total down to 6.63/65.637 pounds.
Human hair has surprising weight, but unfortunately the Silver Surfer is always clean shaven.
Kidneys weigh .25 pounds, and you only need one kidney, but the overall value goes down since two kidneys are still better, so that’s out. The small toe weighs too little to be of value either, despite being relatively useless.
We’re still looking for 6.63 pounds and a high quality of life. It would help if the Silver Surfer had a 13th rib, but unfortunately he’s evolved past that.
It seems like the foot – which weights roughly 2.3lbs – and part of the leg would be the best bet. But it may make more sense to use a combination of liposuction and fat/muscle removal.
It’s difficult to estimate the exact weight of a person’s rear end. However, the Silver Surfer is fairly fit, indicating he likely has a decent amount of muscle weight. It’s safe to estimate that each cheek weighs between 1.3 and 2 pounds. Splitting the difference we have about 1.8 pounds each, or 3.6 pounds total. Butt implants can be inserted after the procedure has been completed.
In addition, liposuction can be difficult on those that are fit, but the average human can still have about 2 to 3 pounds of fat removed. Male surfers are actually more prone to collecting body fat compared to other athletes despite their fit exteriors. It should be possible to remove 3 pounds of weight.
That brings the total to 6.6 pounds. The remaining .03 can be acquired by simply removing a small part of flesh from the bottom of the ear or the little toe. Once all of these body parts have been removed, the Silver Surfer can “bleed out” another half-gallon of silver, and his debt can be paid.
For reference, this brings the total to:
- 38.89 pounds of blood/plasma.
- 4.15 pounds of appendix.
- 1.42 pounds of gallbladder.
- 35.64 pounds from butt cheeks.
- 29.7 pounds of fat.
The total is then 109.8 pounds of silver –a bit extra in case the measurements are wrong – which in theory covers the $50,000 in debt to the mafia. His debt can be paid, and beyond implants he’ll be in largely the same shape once he recovers from the surgery.