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Was Morpheus right? – How hot are humans?
In the film The Matrix, Morpheus tells Neo that human beings produce 25,000 BTUs of body heat. But do they? And if they don’t, what does? BestHeating investigates!
The Matrix is one of my all-time favourite movies.
I love it.
The concept, the actors, the ‘bullet-time’ scenes – back when I was 18, the entire thing just blew the minds of me and my friends and completely freaked us out.
It was a ground-breaking movie that contained some really amazing ideas.
I mean machines – taking over the world and growing humans like some sort of cosmic computer batteries, using us for our body heat to keep themselves sustained – what’s not to freak you out about that?
I can think of nothing more disturbing than discovering that the world I live in is make-believe and that the sole purpose of my existence has been to create power for a bunch of faceless mechanised dictators.
Imagine it, terrifying!
Knowing what I know now, I’d have taken the blue pill all day long.
Anyway, at BestHeating we deal with heat every day and when Morpheus tells Neo that ‘the human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120 volt battery and over 25,000 BTU’s of body heat’, it got us thinking – is that really true?
Would it actually work?
Could the human body produce enough heat to sustain something as vast and as complex as The Matrix?
Would we make useful batteries?
Do we actually produce 25,000 BTUs of body heat?
Was Morpheus – in his leather-clad sunglasses wearing glory – just another part of the machine system?
With so many questions, we decided to investigate.
Let’s get technical
If you’re anything like most people I know, you’ll be thinking – ‘What is a BTU?’
Well, a BTU or British Thermal Unit, is a basic measurement of heat (thermal) energy.
To heat the average UK living room it takes around 10,500 BTUs per hour.
So, according to Morpheus (and assuming the machines in The Matrix had living rooms), it would take half a fully-grown human to heat a front room.
(The top half probably, cos that’s where all the warm gooey bits are.)
But – and I am sorry to kill the dream of Matrix fans everywhere with this – humans just don’t produce that kind of heat.
Far from it.
If you are sat at home, relaxing in your living room, watching telly, slobbing out, the most amount of heat that your body is going to produce is about 356 BTUs/hour.
That’s a long way short of the 25,000 that our leather clad friend suggests we produce to run the Matrix.
Even if you were doing some light activity – such as ironing or vacuuming – your body would still only produce around 571 BTUs/hour.
Still a long way short!
In The Matrix movie, lots of the heroes and heroines are seen running for their lives as they are chased by menacing ‘Agents’ of the system; and running is a sure-fire way to increase your BTU output.
But even so – running at maximum capacity – Neo and his mates are still only going to produce a maximum of 3377 BTUs/hour.
Just because he’s ‘The One’, it doesn’t make him any hotter than the rest of us!
And 3377 BTUs/hour is about the same output as some of the largest radiators we stock.
Now to be honest that is pretty impressive, but still some 21,623 BTUs short of the figure that Morpheus insists we humans produce – and the humans plugged into the Matrix are all lying down in pink jelly cocoon beds, they aren’t running around anywhere!
So what could realistically (or unrealistically dependent on your POV) produce that amount of BTUs?
The simple truth is this – it would take far more than just one human to create the amount of BTUs Larry Fishburne’s character says it does in The Matrix.
To achieve the 25,000 BTUs that Morpheus tells Neo we pump out, you would need –
- 29-and-a-half laid-back businessmen (easy enough to get your hands on)
- 18 shoppers (though if half of them are as stressed as I am when I go shopping, it may be less)
- 14 casually active agents of the Matrix (let’s say they’re doing a crossword while jogging – that’s casual enough)
- 9 light Kung-Fu warm-ups (some leg extensions and a bit of chi cultivation) & 1 agent
- 1 battle between Morpheus and 3 agents of the system.
And to top it all off, it would take a whopping 293 of those déjà vu cats to pump out enough heat to meet Morpheus’ target.
The truth is – it’s just not feasible.
If humans in pink gloopy pods were to be used as a power source, they would need 59 hours to generate the 25,000 BTUs that the captain of the Nebuchadnezzar says they do.
And that’s just enough to heat one room for around two hours.
Inefficient or what!
The reality is that, at only 20% efficiency, the machines would be better off burning the food that a human battery would eat than they would having entire crops of us to tend to.
So, in short, Morpheus was at best misinformed or, at worst, just another part of the system that had been created to ‘pull the wool over your eyes and blind you from the truth’.
And as for the machines, they clearly aren’t as clever as they think they are, and if they needed heat, they should have just bought some radiators before they took over the world; they’re much more efficient and less trouble than Morpheus, Neo and their mates!
But then again, that would mean one of my favourite films of all-time wouldn’t have been made, so maybe it’s best just to shut up and leave it alone – either way, I’m off to collect some cats!
If you think (like me) that Morpheus is a big fat machine loving liar – and that he was just part of the system all along – leave a comment below and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter – #MorpheusWasWrong
John trained in journalism before finding his way to the BestHeating Advice Centre team. He uses his journalism skills to meticulously research heating topics and bring you the latest news and views on all things home heating related. He’ll also beat you at any sport that involves a cue!
Extra Information About how many btus does a human body produce That You May Find Interested
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Frequently Asked Questions About how many btus does a human body produce
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic how many btus does a human body produce, then this section may help you solve it.
How many BTUs are produced by the human body each hour?
Humans are no different from other living things in that we all produce heat, with our metabolic processes causing us to emit about 250 BTU/hour when we are at rest, and more as we increase our activity level.
A body produces how many BTUs?
The maximum amount of heat that your body will produce while lounging around at home in your living room while watching television is approximately 356 BTUs per hour.
How much heat is produced by a human body?
How many BTUs are needed to completely burn a body?
Consequently, if the average person weighs 150 pounds, then 75 pounds of that amount is burnable biomass, yielding (75 pounds * 7500 BTU per pound) = 0.6 million BTUs.
How much heat can a person withstand?
According to conventional wisdom, humans can only endure temperatures up to 108.14 degrees Fahrenheit (42.3 degrees Celsius), which can denature proteins and permanently harm the brain.
Is the human body an energy source?
The body releases a lot of heat energy into the environment when it works hard to maintain internal thermal balance because it is an amazing heat engine that can convert nutrient chemical energy into heat and mechanical energy while also supporting vital energy.
Which body part produces the most heat?
The majority of body heat is produced by deep organs, such as the brain, liver, heart, and skeletal muscle contraction, but 40 to 45 percent of body heat is lost through the head and neck due to higher blood flow in these areas than the rest of the body.
How much energy does an average person expend each day?
However, a number of factors such as sex, age, body build, and general level of fitness of a person in question influence this, including the minimum energy output during a routine daily activity, which is approximately equivalent to 7.600-12.600 kJ/24 hours.
Can a 600-pound person be cremated?
Cremating an obese body does require a larger cremation chamber or retort, and this can be one of the first challenges that a family may encounter. However, it can prove more complicated and expensive to cremate someone who is larger than average in size.
When is someone too obese to be cremated?
The operation of your cremation equipment is significantly impacted by body size (weight) and body fat levels. A body weighing more than 300 pounds should be handled carefully.
Are people burned in their clothing?
In general, if there has been a traditional funeral (with the body present), the deceased will be cremated in whatever clothing they were wearing. However, cremation of a body can be done with or without clothing.
After cremation, how much does a 200 lb person weigh?
Cremation ashes for a man weighing 175 lbs or less weigh about 4.5 lbs or 2 kg, while cremation ashes for a man weighing 200 lbs or more weigh about 7 lbs or 3.1 kg.
How much does a cremated 300-pound person weigh?
The average weight of cremated remains is 4 to 6 pounds, or roughly 3.5% of the deceased’s original weight.
How many bodies are burned in one cremation?
These standards do mean that you may have little input into any ‘customization’ of a cremation process, as only one body can be cremated at a time, and all cremated remains must be cleared from the cremation chamber before another cremation can start.
What body part doesn’t burn when someone is cremated?
Once the water, soft tissue, organs, skin, hair, cremation container/casket, etc. have been burned off, what is left is bone, which is then allowed to cool to a temperature where it can be handled before being put into a processing machine.