Five pounds of delicious, floating cheese.

Conversation between me and Victor:

me:  Which weighs more? Five pounds of cheese, or five pounds of helium?

Victor: Is this a trick question?

me:  No, I’ve been thinking about this for hours.  Helium floats so does that mean you could you only make it weigh more if you added more helium?  Or would it weigh less because it’s more?

Victor:  I’d guess that five pounds of helium would be heavier than five pounds of cheese because you’d have to put the five pounds of helium in something to contain it and the container would add fractionally more weight.

me:  Maybe.  But maybe helium would weigh less than cheese because helium floats but it could still be measured in PSI.  Like, you could have five pounds per square inch pressure of helium which doesn’t actually weigh anything on a scale.

 Victor:  My head hurts.

me:  That’s some deep chicken-and-egg shit there, dude.

Okay…your turn.


And now, time for the weekly wrap-up:


Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):

Shit that I’m vaguely involved with on the internets:


Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:

  • Taxidermied unicorn.  If it was full-sized I would totally buy it.
  • Life-sized weeping angel.  I suggest buying it and hiding it behind doors in the bathroom so when people pee on themselves it’ll be easier to clean up.

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by the lovely Melany of Melany’s Guydlines.  All snark, all true. Nine lives worth of short stories, advice and raw judgement on friendships, relationships, products and everything in between.  From Melany: “Nothing is off limits.  These stories could only happen to me.  I will make you laugh and shake your head.  Are you ready?”  Check her out here.

132 thoughts on “Five pounds of delicious, floating cheese.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. You guys have the most awesome conversations. Thanks for sharing them with us!

    And yes, now I want cheese. And I have a house guest who can’t eat dairy…so it just seems mean to do so.

  2. Weight is illusory. It only applies in the presence of gravity. What you REALLY want to measure is the MASS of the cheese and helium. If you have the same mass of cheese and helium, then they’re the same. But if you’re going by weight, no matter how much helium you have, it will weigh less than any quantity of cheese. Unless it were under pressure making the density more than that of the air around it. Don’t you love science?

  3. Ah Vern…Thank you for the quick lesson, as my response would have been wrong. That being said, I want cheese, preferably the kind found in good macaroni and cheese.

  4. This is like one of those math quizzes I have nightmares about. Next thing I know you will be telling me that 2 trains leave opposite stations at 9:00 a.m. Hold me.

  5. I’d like to hear your discussion on how much dirt is in a 5ft deep x 5ft diameter hole.

  6. The question is unclear because you didn’t specify which type of cheese.

  7. 5 pounds of cheese, 5 pounds of helium, 5 pounds of anything weighs 5 pounds. BUT, helium, of course, is lighter than cheese so VOLUME would be more. I’m going to eat some cheese, though I won’t inhale helium because squeaky voice.

  8. I love that we can choose more than one answer when voting. Also, not just math, math AND physics. Seriously? Why are you doing this to us?

  9. I too am in want of cheese. and was so tired I chose my answer before seeing that math on sunday = evil option and would like to change my vote.

  10. Wonder what 5 pounds of helium would look like so I had to google it. I didn’t find anything but now I know that it would take 4,900 helium balloons to for me to fly…… awesome… thinking about how i can inflate those balloons now.

  11. If you have 5 pounds of cheese, how many helium balloons do you need to make it hover in mid-air?

  12. I have a question for you, Jenny: How the Hell do you manage to turn a single conversation into a brilliant post – that’s only a few paragraphs long?

  13. 5 pounds of cheese doesn’t necessarily weigh 5 pounds. That depends on gravity, which varies, depending on your location.

  14. Did you eat the cheese? because that’s like 20 pounds on your hips and butt, but if you eat the helium you’ll be talking all squeaky and no one will notice your hips and butt, so obviously cheese is bad for you but helium rocks.

  15. Fun fact: 5 lbs of a precious metal or gems actually weigh less than 5 lbs of another material, because they’re measured in troy pounds,

  16. Ok… 5 pounds of helium = 227 grams, the molar mass of helium is 4 g = 1 mole, 1 mole of helium takes up 22.4 L. So 5 pounds of cheese weighs the same as 636 2-L bottles of helium gas. (I’m a chemistry teacher on the side 🙂 I’d take the helium…. but where would you keep it?

  17. But if the cheese was Swiss and you filled the holes with helium and a mouse came along and huffed the holes would it’s squeak be squeakier?

  18. If I had a nickel for Everytime I had this argument I could buy a piece of gum,

  19. They weigh the same. To accurately measure the weight of the helium, you’d have to weigh it in a vacuum. The reason helium rises is because it’s less dense than air. Fill a balloon with helium, and take the surrounding air away, and it will no longer float. Think of iy this way: you wouldn’t try to weigh a balloon full of air underwater, would you?


  20. Seriously, that was way too much thinking for a Sunday… especially since my brain is probably broken from attempting to do my final project all in one day (aka today). So smart.

    Although, now I really am craving cheese so clearly this is a conundrum.

  21. WHY did you give me the option of yelling at you both in the comments? Because now, I’m OBLIGATED TO YELL AT YOU and all of that YELLING is exacerbating the headache I have. A headache which is TOTALLY YOUR FAULT because you made me do math on SUNDAY FREAKIN’ MORNING. I’ll take both the 5lbs of cheese and 5lbs of helium now, because my yelling about a headache would be much funnier if I did it in a helium fueled chipmonk voice, and also because, well, duh! IT’S FIVE POUNDS OF YUMMY CHEESE!

    Now pardon me while I go find coffee and aspirin and debate if I need five lbs of each…

  22. It’s bad enough I have to decipher those damn “captcha” letter puzzles on websites, now I have to do math and logic puzzles on The Lord’s Day?! All I want to do is chillax and read about things like weaponized Cheez-Whiz™® and taxidermied Chilean rose hair tarantulas.

  23. Vern is wrong and right. This is a class demo in intro to physics and one of Galileo’s famous findings. Gravity weighs the same on all objects equally. So, 5 lbs of cheese is the same as 5 lbs of helium. That’s what “pounds” means. But that varies depending on where you’re at. A feather on earth weighs more than a feather on the moon. But the mass remains constant. That’s why physics mostly uses mass.

  24. Fun fact: five pounds of cheese will decrease in weight over time. Coincidentally, I will increase in weight over time when I am around cheese.

    Science, bitches. Also, gluttony.

  25. You spelled that wrong – it should be “Grate, now I want cheese!” 😉

    Seriously, I’m a cheese hound. I was either a mouse in my last life, or will be in my next…

    Now, weight and mass are not the same thing, and supposedly pounds are a unit of weight while kilograms are a unit of mass. Weight is mass times the force of the acceleration due to gravity. So weight differs by location while mass is the same everywhere. To make it worse, the whole thing is made more complicated by buoyancy, which happens with stuff that is different densities. Density is the amount of mass per unit volume, and can affect measured weight depending on environmental circumstances. It’s why both boats and blimps float.

    But Victor is right if you’re talking about the surface of the Earth. You can unwrap the cheese and cut or jam it together to get your five pounds and it will basically stay where you put it. (Unless it’s in my vicinity, in which case it will disappear rather quickly…) The helium, on the other hand, will escape quickly all by itself unless you put it in a container, and even then it will only weigh something if the container you put it into plus the helium itself together weigh more than the volume of air the container displaces. For instance, if you put it in balloons it will have a negative “weight”, and if you put it on a balance scale with the cheese on the other side, it will look as if the cheese got heavier when you added the helium to the scale. So in that case, the cheese will look as though it were much heavier than the same mass of helium. But if you put the helium in a metal container at any pressure, there’s a good chance it would outweigh the cheese, because at low pressure even a very thin-walled metal container would be very large, and at high pressure a small metal container would have thick walls, so either way it’s a lot of metal.

    Does your head hurt yet? Well, you did ask…

  26. Who cares about cheese vs helium?! I had to immediately check out Wikipedia and the anniversary gifts. So disappointed it’s not still Giant Metal Chickens for the 15th!

  27. Sorry for the science, but I think you will like the results, so here goes:

    Weight = mass (or how much stuff) x gravity (or how much pull)

    Mass is easy to calculate, with atomic formula, if you have a basic grasp of physics, but I am going to set that aside for now.

    Helium appears to defy gravity, but only because it is lighter than air. In other words, the air pushes it up, even as gravity pulls it down. But it would be possible to have five pounds of helium, if you could contain it in a way that makes it more dense than air.

    You could chill the helium for example. After all, we like to keep cheese in a fridge. Unfortunately, helium exists in a liquid form only at the extremely low temperature of about −453ºF (that’s between 3.2 and 4.2 K).

    This sounds ridiculous and impossible, since at −459.67ºF you reach absolute 0 where the atoms all stop moving. So you might not believe that we’re really going to freeze helium.

    Yet liquid helium is used in Magnetic Resonance Imaging machines. I know you’ve had an MRI, so there you go. Supercooled helium does strange things; it’s called a superfluid, and still appears to defy gravity. Here’s a link:

    Magic is real, just like liquid helium.

    Now, think about how much helium we’re talking about. It’s early, so I won’t show my work. Just know that five pounds of liquid helium would work out to just over 18 litres, or more than 4¾ gallons.

    Now let that evaporate at room temperature, and how much helium do you have, by volume? It works out to 483.233 cubic feet. That would fill more than one thousand 18″ mylar balloons. It would also be enough to float a large cheese wheel into the sky. It would carry five pounds of cheese into space.

    Again, magic is real, but here is my math if anyone wants to run the numbers:
    Weight of helium
    5 lb 2.268 kg
    Volume at boiling point (3.2K)
    18.274 l 4.827 gal
    Volume at normal pressure
    48.233 cf at 70°F 13.396 m3 at 15°C

  28. In light of your conversation you might think this is terrible, but I used to ask my students on a test which weighed more a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks.

  29. I have to teach my 9 yo math all. week. long. Math on a Sunday is against the Geneva Convention. Look under ‘Cruel and Unusual Punishment’.

    And if it’s not, it damn well should be.

  30. Well, Tori is right. Bc I NEED NEED NEED A LIKE OR UPVOTE BUTTON (yelling option). How else am I supposed to upvote Vern’s post that explains I was thinking “aren’t you really asking about mass bc it’s different than weight” even tho I can’t tell you why on a Sunday (option) morning. Then, I was thinking, plus, it’s not really a logic (option) OR math (option) question as much as science then BOOM! Kelly K breaks out the chemistry math and slays the whole room.
    S.Kate points out you didn’t even freaking give us a philosophy option (rude, Jenny, just rude).
    But Frankie? Frankie takes the cake. And then deflects the inevitable fat-shaming that occurs from the eating of cake AND cheese.
    So I’ll have to go with the Great. Now I want cheese (option) bc you just reminded me I have to go to Trader Joe’s because they are the only ones on the planet with Monterey Jack cheese sticks. Except it’s so uncomfortable bc they move EVERYTHING around, every day and then the cashiers are too friendly which creeps me out and they keep trying to trigger PTSD with all that bell ringing. Also, I go in for $3 cheese and come out with $60 worth of food that I’ve never tried before and then the kids love it and I have to keep going back for more bc I’d be a bad mother if I denied them organic-y food they’ll actually eat.

  31. No “five pounds of cheese” could ever make it to the scale without me pinching off some to snack on so I’m going to have to go with the helium weighing more.

  32. It may actually depend on the temperature of the helium at the time of comparison!!
    Yes, I googled it!!!
    I think this means you are right! At least I think so!

  33. And now Mark just gave me Tori’s migraine and I’m wondering if eating too much Trader Joe’s cheese will screw with my future reincarnations.

  34. More posts filled with cheese please.
    I wish I could like every single comment.

  35. Vern (#2) has the right of it… 5 lb(mass) (since we’re using English units and not that crazy logical-base-10 metric shit) of helium is the same as 5 lb(mass) of cheese (even dense cheese like Gouda), but because of helium’s buoyancy in air, that same 5 lb(mass) of helium will not register on a scale (in other words, it has negative weight, at least in Earth’s atmosphere, and depending on how you contain the helium — say, a large balloon instead of a metal tank — it will have a net negative weight in that the buoyancy of the helium is enough to also lift its container), but the 5 lb(mass) of cheese will show 5 lb(force) on a scale.

    The metric system actually does make this easier by not calling the unit for mass (the gram) the same as the unit for weight/force (the Newton, named after Sir Issac), instead of mucking around with pounds-mass and pounds-force. There actually is an English unit for mass that isn’t called a pound — the slug — but almost nobody uses that except the rare physicist not using metric (SI) units. A mass of one 1 slug in earth’s gravity exerts a force of about 32.2 pounds force, so your 5 lbs(force) of cheese has a mass of about 0.155 slug. It’s because of this kind of awkward number that the slug is not in common use:

    [Scene: a Cheese Shop]
    Mr. Cheesemonger: “May I help you, ma’am?”

    Customer: “Yes, Mr. Cheesemonger, I’d like 0.155 slug of your finest sharp Cheddar, please. I have a lot of nachos to make.”

    Mr. Cheesemonger: “I’m sorry, we only sell cheese by the stone here.”

    Customer: [produces pocket calculator & begins pushing buttons] “Ok, so that would be 0.35714285714285714285714285714285714 etc. stone of your finest sharp Cheddar. Those nachos are waiting!”

    Mr. Cheesemonger: “I’m afraid I’ll have to round up. My scale only shows tenths of a stone.”

    Customer: “Okay, I’m sure I can find a use for the extra 0.019 stone of Cheddar. I’m very precise when it comes to nachos.”

  36. Weight is a funny thing; it’s all dependent on the gravity of the given celestial object the weight is being measured on. This is why physicists use mass, which is different because it’s the same everywhere on every planet in the universe. So while you might weigh a certain amount on the moon, and a different amount on Earth, your mass would be the same in both places. You could measure five pounds of helium on earth, but you’d have to put it in a heavy container and then subtract the weight of the container from the total weight to figure out how much you had. Also, helium isn’t very dense, so it would take a lot of it to get five pounds.

    Also, Jenny, can you make us a Depression Lies computer wallpaper?

  37. When I was a kid my dad would ask us kids: What weighs more? 10 pounds of bricks or 10 pounds of feathers? I learned my lesson young;)

  38. ~grumble grumble~ people confusing weight and mass. Which is closer to the source of gravitational pull which give it it’s weight?

  39. I think you should make some nachos and invite some friends over for a party, because there’s no way you can eat five pounds of cheese by yourself without getting sick. Besides, you’re going to need help to fill all those balloons. #TeamNachosParty

  40. Heh, you have two problems: The first is that you’re using pounds to indicate both weight and mass. The second is that you’re ignoring the effect air has on the weight of objects. Helium has a negative weight because it’s less dense than air. However, if you weighed it in an airless room then it’d have a normal weight. Likewise if you cooled the helium to the point where it became a liquid or solid.

    If you’re doing this with gaseous helium in a room filled with air then asking for 5lbs (weight) of helium is nonsensical, you might as well ask for 5mph of fish. As such, you must actually be asking for 5lbs (mass) of helium, which has a negative weight, which means the cheese weighs more, even though they may mass the same.

  41. This post may have left some of your readers wanting cheese, but it just made me want to inhale some helium!

  42. This is the oldest riddle in the book, if there was a book and this was considered a riddle. Or is it a brain teaser? Maybe a pun? I’m confused and now my head hurts plus I want some cheese. A cheese party? With balloons. Sounds perfect.

  43. in order to compress helium to something you’d be able to weigh you would have to cool it down until it becomes a liquid. thus five pounds of helium would weigh just as much as the five pounds of cheese. a bit like weighing the can of liquified air you can buy to clean out your computer but then freezes your hand of after a while.

  44. You should put 5 pounds of helium in a balloon and 5 pounds of cheese in an equally weighted plastic bag and see if the cheese floats… that would mean something scientific… right? Maybe we should submit it to Mythbusters!

  45. If we’re doing things entirely correctly according to Wikipedia, we actually need a giant metal chicken watch. Or possibly a giant metal chicken wearing a watch. Does Beyoncé seem an analogue or digital kind of guy?

  46. I asked my boyfriend who’s an engineer this question and he got mad at me for asking a “stupid question” and said that they’re the same. Idk if he’s right but I think I might take advantage of the Wikipedia thing and try to make a page about myself. They try to say you can’t do that unless you’re famous or accomplished something, but I feel famous in my own mind so that should count.

  47. Sunday is for CELebrating cheese, not calculating its weight. Cheese omelets, cheese curds, mac and cheese, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, fresh cheese, feta cheese, organic cheese, nacho cheese, cheese-its. See?

    Although I might be tempted to calculate my new weight if I had all these products in my house…

  48. I’m filing a formal complaint. When it said Samuel Beckett quotes, I was expecting Samuel Beckett from Quantum Leap and there was not a single cat saying “Oh, boy!” or a statistical prediction from Ziggy in the bunch!

  49. You can’t weigh helium, since all that air is going push it off the scale. And scales are basically set to pretend that air doesn’t weigh anything. In order to get it to sit on the scale you either have to pressurize it so it gets denser that air – and then it can shove the air out of the way rather than vice versa — or just get all that air out of the way and weigh things in a vacuum. I’m pretty sure either tactic ruins your cheese.

  50. I’m about to apply science here. All assumptions are based on room temperature. Weight is equal to mass times the acceleration due to gravity, which, in algebraic form is F=ma. F = the force acted on the cheese and the helium, m = the mass of the cheese and helium, and a = the acceleration due to gravity. Now, the equation becomes a little trickier because this assumes that the objects in question are both denser than the atmosphere. In this case, the cheese is denser and the helium is less dense. To find the weight of the helium, you would to need a term that accounts for the force of the atmosphere that is acting upon the helium. In this case the direction of the force would be negative and push the helium away from the Earth. When factor in that, the helium would have negative weight, according to the math.

    Or you could just scrap the math and see how many balloons it would take to make the 5 lbs of cheese float in the air. I think that would be more fun.

  51. I’d rather have 5 lbs of cheese any day, so it doesn’t matter. I would’t want 5 lbs of helium, it’s not enough to do anything substantial like fly with balloons. If I had a enough to fly like the guy from “Up”, now that would be something to talk about!

  52. Helium is only light because it’s less dense than the “regular” air around it, which buoys it up. You could cool it to a liquid in a vacuum chamber, pour it into a bowl, and weigh it that way. Alternatively, you could vaporize the cheese — trickier, but more satisfying. (Though, admittedly, not as satisfying as eating the cheese and, optionally, breathing the helium.) But both of those are mere entertaining diversions, since 5 pounds is 5 pounds and is by definition the same, no matter how you contrive to measure them.

  53. Yeah, I chose why are you making me do math on a Sunday, but what I’d really like to answer is why are you making me think on a Sunday? I’ve already overstretched my brain deciding on a name for my Captain America Build-a-Bear. Instead of writing, I’m typing up stuff I’ve already written because thinking bad. Also, thinking with a summer head cold double bad. 🙁

    I named him Stephen, in case anyone was wondering. My hubby suggested Chris after he had already been named. Where was he when I was trying to name the damn bear? Seriously. 🙂

  54. This is literally the LAST day of my summer before students start…and you’re making me do math…SOBER. 🙂

  55. Helium has weight. It just weighs less than air does. They weigh the same. PS: it’s a lot of helium.

  56. At sea level, room temperature, and unconfined, the same mass of cheese will weigh more, which is why they drunkenly chase them down hills in Scotland.

  57. I want to say cheese weighs more than helium because I used to sell helium balloons and my stafff would just get high so there was a 30% loss built into the price

  58. Did anyone else cringe at the mention of pounds? As opposed to kilograms? Does anyone else hate that the Imperial system of units is still used in the US and that it makes science for all of us who grew up with the metric system a needless bother? It took me so long to even break apart the notion of pounds as units of force or mass… Vive la révolution!

    Sorry, my nerd brain sort of short-circuited.

  59. This is why the distinction between weight and mass is important. “Which has more mass, 5 kilos of helium or 5 kilos of cheese?” is an easier question to answer because you don’t get confused by issues of atmospheric buoyancy (e.g. the helium getting held up by the air, which is denser than helium).

    Similarly, “Which came first, chickens or eggs?” is a much easier question to answer than the traditional “the chicken or the egg” version.

    I also would like a balloon. And some cheese. Actually I have Havarti with dill in the fridge. BRB.

  60. This one has always puzzled me…. If you were to stand up on a moving bus, then jump, would you land in the same place that you jumped from or would you have moved closer to the back of the bus as the bus itself is moving while you’re in mod air.???

  61. This one has always puzzled me…. If you were to stand up on a moving bus, then jump, would you land in the same place that you jumped from or would you have moved closer to the back of the bus as the bus itself is moving while you’re in mod air.???

    If the bus maintains a constant speed then you’d end up in the same place on the bus that you jumped from, because you’d have the same speed as the bus. If the bus changes speed you’d move either forwards or backwards depending on if it was slowing down or speeding up.

  62. I once dated a Geologist. He would have whole conversations like this. Its amazing we stayed together as long as we did. His musings reminded me of all those word problems I hated in grade school.
    And yes, math problems should not be allowed on Sundays.

  63. my dad used to ask us…. what weighs more. a pound of feathers or a pound of lead. i remember to this day when i finally got it. but i can’t think about it too much or i too like victor will end up with a headache.

  64. Whatever you do, don’t ask my scale. I’m pretty sure that thing is on crack. It flat out refuses to get help even though it lies to me EVERY MORNING.

  65. I’m #93 and no one’s made a joke yet about “Who Moved My Cheese?” … I think I’ve been working for CorporateOverlord(TM) too long if no one else in my tribe thinks that way…
    And, come to think of it, it isn’t funny for me either. Sigh.

  66. Now I am just dying for a piece on cheese, whilst talking like Mickey Mouse on helium. Now, has anyone got any halloumi and a balloon?

  67. Yeah, they are both the same. But I refuse to call either of you stupid. I was going to call you cheeseheads, but then googled that term and found that it’s a racial slur towards the Dutch. (Who knew?)

  68. That is the scariest weeping angel I’ve ever seen. Damn. In fact, I think that is a demon disguised as an angel. No way I’m putting THAT in my bathroom:).

  69. Since I will weigh more if I eat 5 pounds of cheese than if I eat 5 pounds of helium, I’m going with the cheese. Although I will sound funnier if I eat the helium.

  70. They fixed the wikipedia entry, but I was amused to notice that the 90th wedding anniversary present is Stone or Engraved marble, Granite. I’m assuming this is a gravestone…

  71. Wow, you have a lot of sciency people in your fan base. Just one last little sciency thing – Victor was wrong about the container. You always “tare” the scale to deduct the weight of the empty container. So then 5 lbs of helium would weigh 5 lbs. In a vacuum. At sea level. On earth. At room temperature. I think that covers it.

  72. Pound of feathers. Pound of bricks.
    Pound of dirt before you die.
    Too many pounds on my scale.

    Damn! Why does everything come down to pounds?!
    And why won’t the damn pounds come down?!?!

    StOOpid scale.

  73. Well, gold and silver are measured in troy ounces which means a pound of those weighs less than a typical pound than that of food items. So, 5 pounds isn’t really 5 pounds. But I would take the cheese, unless it was limburger.

  74. Put the helium in a balloon. Put a scale on the ceiling. Add helium until the scale reads five pounds. Attach the five pounds of cheese to the balloon. Set the adventurous floating cheese free; if it really loves you it will come back.

  75. If you ask me… 5lbs is 5 lbs. 5 lbs on my thigh is the same as 5lbs of sugar. I would much rather have the cheese though!

  76. Got just heard robin Williams killed himself…if he can’t ignore the depression and the lies, how am I supposed to? Sorry for the off topic comment but this has really hit me…

    (You aren’t alone. Don’t give up. You and I both know the world was a better place with him in it. Know also that the same goes for you. You are needed. ~ Jenny)

  77. I sent the link to the Weeping Angel to my friend and we had the following e-mail conversation.
    Me: You need to buy this to terrify your husband.
    Her: I feel like he would love it. And use it to scare me.
    Me: If I had seen this earlier in the summer, I would have bought it for your wedding gift.
    Her: I would never sleep.
    Me: It would be so much fun to get a mini version and hide it in different places throughout an apartment or house. It’s probably a good thing I don’t have roommates or a husband.
    Her: I will keep this in mind for when you do have a husband. (Also, remind me never to let you come visit.)

  78. It’s a trick question. We are running out of helium on this planet, but cheese is a renewable resource. So we couldn’t get 5 pounds of helium, because it’s just too darn expensive!

  79. OBVIOUSLY 5 pounds of cheese has more weight (in my decision-making process) than 5 pounds of helium. I mean…Sure, I can sing like a munchkin for 30 seconds with the helium, but cheese is the gift that keeps on giving…as long as you don’t run out of cheese. Which is why I always have backup cheese in the house. Obviously.

  80. That’s a cute unicorn, but unfortunately the only thing I buy from Etsy is utility kilts, all from the same little village in Pakistan. Oh, and the PsiCorps badge for last hallowe’en. The Corps is Mother, the Corps is Father, after all.

  81. Cheese must weigh more because it comes from cows, and milk, and has all these complex molecules, but helium just has ONE really basic element, so it doesn’t even let air slow it down.
    This makes TOTAL sense. If you disagree you need more wine.

  82. Jenny:

    I just wanted to say “bless you” for your continued campaign to survive depression. I spent 4-1/2 years as a crisis counselor and it still gets me when I hear news like yesterday. I woke up this morning with the same pain in my stomach that I used to get when I felt that I had failed somehow in making someone’s life more worth living. I “get” depression because I, too, suffer from it. It is a cancer of the soul that makes you want to craft your own exit. Anyone who has suffered and continued to win is a hero in my eyes and heart.

    All of you out there, take good care of yourselves. Each other, too, but primarily yourself.


  83. Okay, as a chem major I should know this one.
    Weight is the downward force resulting from gravity. So five pounds of helium would weigh the same as five pounds of everything else.
    Helium, per volume, is lighter than the air around it, so it floats on air, much like an inflated beach ball floats on water. Five pounds of helium only actually exists in a vacuum or in a gas that is heavier than helium, per volume. In air, helium has no downwards force due to gravity, and therefore has no weight.
    This is why scientists like mass so much. Also, this is why scientists insist that mass and weight are different (because they totally are),

  84. Weight is a function of gravity, measured on a scale, not inherent to the object itself. The question cannot be answered as phrased. I’m surprised Victor didn’t correct you on this already…

  85. I hear this type of thing all of the time as a personal trainer. 5lbs is 5lbs….ie: muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. Muscle is more dense than fat….cheese is more dense than helium. I always compare it this way to clients who want to lose weight and don’t understand that in the process of losing fat that they may build more muscle and therefore not lose any “weight” at all, but instead inches. Would you rather have 5lbs of a firm looking steak attached to your body or 5lbs of jello attached to your body? Do you know how much jello it takes to make 5lbs?

  86. If we’re talking applied math as opposed to pure math, I’m with Theresa #118 and the rest of the 2% on this: 5 pounds of cheese, definitely. Inhaling 5 pounds of helium in a single sitting would make me either float or explode, so that’s a win/win in terms of weight loss. Whereas inhaling 5 pounds of cheese would surely make me vomit (in spite of loving it, going down), but still, not all the cheese would come back up, so there would still be plenty left–and every bit of it would show up on my bathroom scale (and my thighs) in the morning. And in case you were wondering, 5 pounds of wine weighs even more than 5 pounds of cheese, because I can totally inhale 5 pounds of wine and not vomit.

  87. (Re: knock knock…) … last time I trust wikipedia. It says (on the real page even) that the ten year anniversary gift in the UK is ‘tin’, while in the U.S. it’s ‘Tin,Aluminium’. Excuse me? We don’t have “Aluminium” here in the U.S., we’ve got aluminum. Foil, sheet, bars, rods, you name it, it’s aluminum. One ‘i’. If you want aluminium, you gotta get it somewhere else.

    And sadly, pulling up the wikipedia ‘wedding anniversary’ page doesn’t show giant metal chickens for the 15th anniversary. Nonetheless, when that comes (two years hence), it will definitely be a large metallic fowl that my spouse receives. Maybe with crystal eyes.

  88. … Are we weighing the helium and cheese in the same gravitational field and at the same point away from the center of mass? Because five lbs of helium from the surface of Jupiter wouldn’t weigh the same as five lbs of cheese from Wisconsin.

    For that matter, five pounds of helium collected at the top oh K2 wouldn’t weigh the same once taken to Wisconsin.

    This is why scientists like mass, instead.

  89. Well, 5 pounds are 5 pounds…However, how come 5 pounds of cheese will eventually make me weigh 6 pounds more (at least) ?

  90. This was messing with my head so I asked my husband and he said to think of it like the same gravity, but in a vacuum; five lbs of helium would sink. But that’s the only way to do it in lbs, I think…

  91. Wow I want that weeping angel now. Me and my friends watch doctor who and one of them HATES weeping angels…

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