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April 01, 2005


And as a last April Fools Day check out World Jump Day in which it is proposed that 600 million earthlings jumping simultaneously will: 'stop global warming, extend daytime hours and create a more homogenous climate'. Hoo brother.

A friend Bob nicely debunked this with a little bit of scientific reasoning.

As usual, we tend to overestimate ourselves. The mass of the earth is calculated at 6.0 x 10E24 kg. The total mass of 6 billion humans, assuming an average of, say, 65k each, is about 65x(6x10E09)=3.9x10E11. Dividing that number by the mass of the earth shows that the mass of the entire human population is about 6.5 x 10E-14 the mass of the planet. One divided by a 10 with 14 zeroes after it is a number so infinitesimally small that it is hard to even imagine, let alone describe. Probably something like the ratio between a human and a single gut bacterium. Or put another way, I imagine that the ejecta spewed from Mt. St. Helens in a few seconds probably weighed more than the entire human population.

So what I'm going to attempt to do from now on, especially when I hear about global warming is to get some estimates of the weights of spew that we're really talking about when we mumble about pollution. See, the Earth's atmosphere weighs 5.0 x 10E18 kg. So if we spewed out the equivalent of the weight of the entire human population in air pollution on a daily basis, it would take 350 years for that spew to equal 1% of the atmosphere. This assumes of course that all that spew remains airborne and doesn't react with anything.

The planet is fine.

Posted by mbowen at April 1, 2005 08:26 PM

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