Don’t Let ‘Em Forget Fargo

PHOTO COURTESY | STEPHANIE MIGNON
Let’s get some use out of the permanent winter.

Cawker City, Kansas is home to the world’s largest ball of twine with an 11-foot diameter. I cannot think of a single less important record as the world’s largest ball of twine. That being said, I love that it is a recognized record as if it applies to anyone’s life. I like the idea of someone showing me around their town, going “That’s the park. That’s the mall. That’s our ball of twine. (We’re no Cawker City, but it does the trick.) That’s the police station.”

It got me thinking: what does Fargo have to offer in terms of specific, overly personalized features? How can this town earn the recognition it deserves? This is why I’d like Fargo to set its own record.

I decided whatever record we break should play to our strengths. I’m not sure what the world’s tallest beer can tower is, but I’m positive the wind would work against us. My next idea was a little more promising.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the largest snowball was made in 2013 by students from ASME Michigan Technological University. It had a diameter of 3.2 meters (10.45 feet). By my math, that comes to around 18 cubic meters. Assuming one utilized 1 foot of snowfall and the snow compacted to roughly a fifth its original volume, you could create a snowball this size in a 50 by 50 foot area.

The real challenge would be weight. Spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov tells us that snow compacted under 3 meters of snow weighs 200 kilograms┬áper cubic meters. Assuming this snowball is just as compact, it would weigh around 7,600 pounds. For reference, that’s a couple hundred pounds short of a Hummer H1. It’s all fun and games until this winds up on somebody’s toes. It is unclear, however, if this snowball needs to be rolled or can be hand compacted. This could make weight a non-issue.

Guys, we could so do that. We’re a university. We have the manpower. Space? This is Fargo; we’ve got nothing but space. Gimme a baseball diamond and a few hours of your valuable time, and we can make something great.

We’re in a perpetual winter, right? Well, I say we go down swinging.

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