Saturday, March 29, 2014

People Wonder Strange Things

I present tonight one of the strangest questions I have seen in quite some time, analyzed far more than it probably should have been by Casey Johnston of Ars Technica. I'm sure you're familiar with the old saw that you shouldn't pee in the pool because they treated it with some dye and everyone would know it was you, and you've already figured out that that's a load of hooey.

But could peeing in the pool kill you?

Honestly. Someone asked about this. Casey's surprised too.

As evidenced by the lack of news reports you can recall of anyone ever dying from pool pee, under anything resembling normal circumstances the answer is no. Peeing in a lake enough might, potentially, if you wait long enough, end up causing algae blooms that starve the lake of oxygen and kill some fish, but you personally will be fine. In order for you to die in a chlorinated Olympic-size pool, you have to drastically solve for the values of 'chlorine' and 'pee'. First, you have to concentrate the pee about as far as it can be concentrated in a human- "as if for every glass of water you should be drinking, you ate a few strips of beef jerky instead", as Casey puts it. You also need three million people to have to go like a racehorse and do all their peeing for the day in the pool, to the point where there is a second pool's worth of urine in the pool in addition to the water. Then you need to get a pool that is two parts water/pee to one part chlorine, which by itself would kill you a lot more horribly than the pee would. If you can get all that to happen, maybe perhaps the pee will get you before the chlorine does.

So, if that's how you want to spend your weekend.

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