"Brainiac : Science Abuse" Fat Man Vs Thin Man

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Wishin' 4 A Squishin'
Jan 2, 2006
"Brainiac : Science Abuse", (a light-hearted science show) had a long running feature where they would pit a fat man against a thin man every week (always the same two men) to see who would survive/cope best in extreme conditions.
1. At sea, the fat man came out on top as he floated for longer.
2. In a simulated storm with just an umbrella for protection, the thin man came out on top as he stayed drier.
3. In extreme cold, the fat man came out on top as he stayed warmer longer.
4. In extreme heat the thin man came out on top as he stayed cooler longer.
5. In a simulated hurricane, the fat man came out on top as the thin man was blown over.
6. In a simulated earthquake, the fat man came out on top as he was able to remain stable and upright.

So with a score of 4/2, it was proven that a fat man is likely to cope better in extreme conditions. I thought that was very interesting.


Ultimate Chimera
Feb 12, 2006
It's hardly scientific, but sounds like a cute show :)

They should do another episode that has the two guys going through NASA training programs.


Eyeliner! STAT!
May 20, 2006
I saw the one with the extreme cold and I knew the fat guy would win it!
It reminds me of that ep of The Simpsons when Homer puts on weight so he can work from home and he falls into the hole in the pipe and gets stuck. Bart points out that being fat saved Homer, as a thinner man would have fallen through the hole to his death!
I also remember seeing a local man on the news who was impaled on a fencepost who said that his big belly saved him because if he hadn't had that layer of fat, the wood would have punctured some vital organs! Hooray for Welsh belly!


Oct 3, 2005
Hahaha. I LOVE those sections. I'm always like, "C'mon, fat guy!"


Well-Known Member
Jul 13, 2007
Thanks for posting this Pattycake. I have seen some of those shows and they are very amusing, but I had not seen the one you summarized.

I have had some personal experience with "At sea, the fat man came out on top as he floated for longer." I am a recreational scuba-diver with an advanced certification for "deep diving" and "dry suit diving." But even in the basic "open water" certification classes we learn about the buoyancy of fat. ;)

As everyone probably knows, fat is less dense than water and so a fatter person is more buoyant as the Brainiac show indicated. In the context of scuba diving, one must wear metal weights to overcome natural buoyancy and to be able to sink. Typically, there is a relationship between a diver's weight and the amount of weight they must wear in order to sink. But if one's weight is due to "fatness" the situation is more complex because a fatter person will tend to float and will, thus, need to wear more weight.

In my case, I had been rather lean until recently and so was accustomed to diving with the appropriate weight for a lean and, therefore, less buoyant person. But the first time I went diving after becoming "fat" for the first time in my life, I had to make significant adjustments. It was kind of funny, and a bit embarrassing, as I had to request more weights from the dive-master after my first dive. I had been using the amount of weight I normally used before my weight-gain, but that proved to be too little to overcome my newly acquired "fateness." :wubu:

My requested "adjustments" to my weight-belt would have been less funny (or embarrassing) if that had been all that had occurred as a result of my recent weight-gain. But it was not. As I said, I am a fairly experienced diver with advanced certification training and, as such, I try to come fully-prepared for a dive. I had been diving, for the first time since gaining quite a bit of weight, in Hawaii where they provide "dive-masters" even to very experienced divers for legal liability reasons. So I had filled-out my "profile" for the dive-master indicating, basically, that I knew what I was doing and would not require much supervision. But then I was a bit embarrassed that my recently gained weight, sort of, made it appear otherwise. :)

To begin with, I have my own wetsuit, but I found that it no longer fit and I had to request a rental one at the last minute. Then, when I began trying on the wetsuits that they had available, I found that even the largest was a tight fit. Fortunately, my dive-master was a very nice woman who was quite patient as I "squeezed into" my wetsuit. But then came our first dive of the day and I found it nearly impossible to sink below the surface with the amount of weight I had requested. I had based my request on my previous "dive-logs" plus some additional weight to allow for my increased "fat content," but I had underestimated this and not requested enough weight.

I was finally able to "sink" by emptying my buoyancy vest, but only barely, and it took a while for me to sink to 90 feet and catch-up with my group. At that point, I was not exactly appearing to be an "advanced" diver.:wubu:

So, when we returned to the boat and moved to the 2nd dive site, I explained to the dive-master that I had recently "put on some weight" and as a result had miscalculated my buoyancy. I suppose she had seen this problem before, because she merely smiled and handed me some additional weights to add to my integrated buoyancy vest. I somehow suspect that I was not the first diver she had encountered that had "gotten fat" since their last dive-trip. :)

Anyway, as any diver will tell you and as the Brainiac show illustrated, "fat floats." ;)

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