6
$\begingroup$

Last night a white owl flew into my furniture shop with a note tied to its feet. The message said King Arthur wishes to order a big portable roundtable that he and his men can bring along into a battle which is due to take place in a month's time. When I realised the importance of the roundtable I quickly sprang into action, after I burnt the note as well as BBQing Merlin's little messenger. The task appeared difficult to accomplish, so how can I construct a big roundtable that can seat 16000 people so that King Arthur can see each of his men's micro expressions clearly?

Note: only 2 people in Avalon can do magic, Merlin and the Lady in the Lake.

$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you consider the radius of such a table ? 16000 people at a completely circular table would require a very large table even with multiple seating tiers. A 20 tier table would require a radius of about 125 meters (250 meters diameter). Not going to be reading micro-expressions under those conditions. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Mar 15 at 4:35
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Anyone else think this is somewhat off-topic? Seems more like a puzzle than designing a necessary or helpful component of a fictional world. The use of "I" pronouns supports this. $\endgroup$ – Zxyrra Mar 15 at 15:01
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Have you considered a fractal table? With enough boundary folding you could could swirl the knights in and around and still have a basically circular shape... Incidentally, I read somewhere that the phrase 'round table' was a misreading of a french phrase that meant a round room with tables, which makes a whole lot more sense. $\endgroup$ – Ted Wrigley Mar 15 at 16:24
14
$\begingroup$

You have a brilliant flash of insight. You drop up plans for a simple three legged stool, and subcontract the work out to the kingdoms stool makers.

When you meet with the King, you ask him to have his 16k men to take a stool and form up into a two concentric circles about 1 m distant from each other.

Each man sits down on his stool, holding his shield out in front of him. placing his shield on his knees and his opposite number’s knees, you explain to Arty Baby he now has a portable round table that will accommodate his number no matter their number

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ They better learn how to eat with chopsticks then... $\endgroup$ – In the name of the story Mar 15 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ They could more easily sit on the ground as this without the nuisance of carrying a stool each, and it makes no sense anyway as they'll be a huge distance apart. How does someone read everyone's micro-expressions using this ? $\endgroup$ – StephenG Mar 15 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG, Every knight needs a good stool anyway, otherwise they get rusty butts. Also, at this point in history, they didn’t make things small. Miniaturization came later, so they only had to detect macro-aggressions and mega-expressions — which can be seen for miles (kilo-furlongs.) $\endgroup$ – EDL Mar 15 at 14:40
10
$\begingroup$

Consider having Merlin construct the thing in a non-Euclidean pocket universe.

A circle in hyperbolic space has a circumference that grows with the hyperbolic sine of its radius (roughly exponentially fast), so you could have your men only a few meters across the table from each other and jam them all into a kilometer-around disk if your local pocket universe's curvature is sufficiently negative.

This isn't actually a very good solution if you'd like to see across it, of course - light disperses equally fast and it'd be just as impossible to get a close look at anyone from that distance - but if Arthur's willing to walk a few meters to get to anyone, it'd be far easier for him than to traverse the mile-wide table necessary in Euclidean geometry.

(The other side effects of such a universe - like getting ripped apart perpendicular to your motion - are inconsequential, of course.)

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Not sure whether this answer is inspired by HyperRogue, but HyperRogue actually has a round table with radius 28 and seating 22860754 knights. $\endgroup$ – Zeno Rogue Mar 16 at 9:24
8
$\begingroup$

a big portable roundtable that can seat 16000 people so that King Arthur can see each of his men's micro expressions clearly

You are victim of a prank, or Arthur should stop sending messages after the third pint of Merlin's ale.

If you stitch to the specs, you need to accommodate 16000 people. Assuming you give 90 cm to each seat, you will end up with a circumference with a diameter of $0.9 \times 16000 \over \pi $$=4584$ meters. That's not portable, that won't allow seeing anybody's face after a few couple of meters, let alone talking.

If Arthur is not yet recovered from the ale fumes and insists in the request threatening the structural integrity of the bond between your head and your body, your hope is to bribe Merlin into abducting from the future some engineers and software developer and build from scratch a communicator (with the attached infrastructure). Someone already took a Yankee back to the court, remember.

Mind that having 16000 user on the same video conference is challenging even for our present infrastructure.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Well, squish 'em. At 0.1m each, the diameter of the table reduces proportionally. At 500m max distance, King Arthur may be able to see the rictus mortis microexpression of his knights. On the plus side, they will get taller (and... I don't know? deeper? wider? Depends on the direction their are oriented when squished). BTW, anyone knows what's the Poisson's ratio of the typical Knight of the Round Table? ;p $\endgroup$ – Adrian Colomitchi Mar 15 at 8:54
  • $\begingroup$ If you have 1080*780, that's 842k pixels, or 53 pixels per person. $\endgroup$ – Acccumulation Mar 15 at 23:53
3
$\begingroup$

Nobody said that all the $16000$ people should sit at the table in the same time. So, you build a round table for $81$ people (king Arthur and $80$ of his men).

Have king Arthur and $80$ of his men at the table in rounds of say $13$ minutes plus $2$ minutes to allow everybody from the previous round go away and everybody from the next round to come in and take their seats.

You will need $200$ rounds to have all the $16000$ men to seat with the king ($\frac{16000}{80} = 200$). You can have $4$ rounds per hour. Considering that it must be done in daytime (at night, light from torches and candles won't allow a clear perception of microexpressions), then the king takes $10$ hours of each day with that job, giving $40$ rounds per day. So, in five days, the king would have had everything done.

Consider that everybody has a seat of $50\;cm$. This is tight and somewhat uncomfortable (specially for the king), but except for a few of the most fat soldiers, easily doable. This gives $\frac{0.50 \times 81}{\pi}\;m \approx 12.89\;m$ in diameter. Enough for the king to see the microexpressions of everyone and to have everyone's talk at the table heard by everyone else. You can make the king's seat be larger, with $84.1\;cm$ to make it very comfortable for him and it will be $13\;m$ in diameter ($\frac{0.50 \times 80 + 0.841}{\pi}\;m \approx 13.00\;m$).

Creating a round table with $13$ meters in diameter isn't that hard if you just assemble it from a set of smaller tables, specially if its center is hollow. Among all of that $16000$ men, surely you would have more than enough with woodworking skills to be able to create the parts of the table and assemble it in one or two days.

You could have $12$ or $13$ hours of daylight, but we shouldn't make the schedule too tight to have some space for adjustments and have the king be allow to take a break and have a lunch around midday, so $10$ hours per day is enough. If something goes wrong (like having a bad weather in one of those days), you can simply add one or two days. Since the battle will be in a month, we have enough time.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ Kings are not known for a liking of repeating themselves. Doing that 200 times would just end up with the designer on the wrong end of someone's enchanted sword. $\endgroup$ – StephenG Mar 15 at 21:53
  • $\begingroup$ @StephenG I know. Any sane person (specially a king) would just write something in a paper and delegate the task for a lot of other people to deliver the instructions to every soldier. Also, there is no reason to insist in the circular table design. However, to properly answer the question, since it seems that the king insists in himself seeing the microexpressions of everyone in a round table for some mysterious reason, it needs to be like that. $\endgroup$ – Victor Stafusa Mar 16 at 14:41
  • $\begingroup$ Any sane person (specially a king) Since when have Kings been sane ? :-) $\endgroup$ – StephenG Mar 16 at 14:53
2
$\begingroup$

The same way you bring a lot of tents: in pieces.

You simply build dozens of table pieces that can be made into a singular massive round table.

As already mentioned this table is HUGE! How could you see the micro-expressions on people's face? Let alone hear them? Well you place binoculars (or the equivalent they have available) in front of everyone, and anyone too far will pick up the binoculars to look. To make him audible you are probably better off using people who listen and repeat the message as a sure-fire way that everyone will eventually get the message, as opposed to using an enclosed space (tent) with the right acoustic floor (limestone in correct configurations, water), or magnifying devices (cone-shaped horns). Those could still help ofcourse but some would require far too much logistics.

| improve this answer | |
$\endgroup$

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.