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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Things that amaze me most.... Part II

As I told you before, there are a number of things/events/emotions that absolutely blow-my-mind because they are so introspectively amazing and give me a deeper sense of awe. So I made a list of the things that amaze me most... some big, some small, some acts, some things... but all, in my mind, amazing. So far:


Part I:  THE PACIFIC OCEAN
Part II: BIG NUMBERS


I don't know about you but my mind can only absorb so much before the wheels start to spin like the numbers on a hot Las Vegas slot machine. Maybe it was a blessing that I never got rich because now I can count what I have on my fingers and toes (metaphorically). But how do you put your arms around
5,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (reads 5 million trillion trillion).

       
That is the scientific best guess of the number of bacteria alive on this earth at this time.

Add that to the 10 quintillion (10 followed by 18 zeros) individual insects. Doesn't that worry you just a little bit? If all of those little buggers got together, us 6.9 billion people wouldn't have much of a chance. Let's just hope that there isn't an insect Winston Churchill or George Washington or FDR to organize the charge.

Then of course, you have space. How much is 6 billion light years--the estimated breadth of our universe... which is constantly expanding? One light second is how long it takes light to travel 7 times around the Earth. One light year is 32 million light seconds... a lot farther than the out house on a frigid winter farm night.

Then you have stars which are not scattered randomly through space but gathered in galaxies. Our Sun belongs to the Milky Way Galaxy. (I didn't know that!) Astronomers estimate there are about 100 thousand million stars in the Milky Way alone... and there are millions upon millions of other galaxies. As for size, Earth is smaller than a grain of sand on the Universe Beach. Can you imagine...?

Then you have time. It is scientifically estimated that The Big Bang, which is believed to be the event that triggered the formation of our Universe, happened 13.7 billion years ago, give or take a few billion. If that time was condensed in scale to one earth year, you and I would have been born just a blink of an eye before the stroke of midnight on December 31st at 11:59:59 p.m.

So how old am I? Less than a fraction of a second, of course... and looking good for my age.

1 comment:

  1. Jerry

    What may be even more fantastic is that our whole universe may be only a dot on an even huger universe of indeterminate age.

    Ever wonder why there was this softball sized clump that exploded into our universe? Well, if it was just a spec on an even larger universe, that may explain why it exploded (like why does a particular atom of uranium explode among a whole mass of them. But that only moves the question back a stretch, doesn't it.

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