Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fun with Numbers II: Facts about the Earth!

I just finished re-watching Penn & Teller's Bullshit! with the roommates. As it often does, it sparked some great conversation about various things.

This episode was about Organic Food... which got us talking about feeding the population of the planet. This post isn't really intended to be about all this "Organic" nonsense, but I will note right off that Norman Bourlag (savior of 1 Billion people, founder of the "Green Revolution" and overall eradicator of world hunger & poverty) says that if we reverted all of our farming practices to the methods prescribed by fans of Organic food, we would only be able to feed about 4 billion people.

As of today, the World Population Clock estimates nearly 7 billion people alive on the planet. I'll leave it up to you to decide if its worth watching 3 billion people starve to death in service of bad science, bad environmentalism and (in my opinion... worse flavor).

Annnnyway. That got us discussing what real solutions to our planets expanding population are, and the awesomeness that would be interplanetary travel/settlements. Living on the Moon or Mars, and even under water or deep into the surface of the Earth itself. From that discussion, we learned the following fun facts:

1. The Earth's radius is around 3,959 miles - meaning, the earth is a little under 4,000 miles deep.
2. The deepest part of the ocean is the Mariana Trench which is 6.78 miles.
3. The deepest cave known is 1.29 miles.
4. The deepest humanity has ever dug into the Earth's surface is 7.63 miles.

So what does this tell us?

Well, first off... it means that the total volume of the Earth is around 259,923,241,563.71 cubic miles. (That's V = 1.333π

Nearly 260 Billion cubic miles.

Of that... only an infintesimal fraction has been explored! So little has been explored, in fact, that I can't even provide an estimate in cubic miles that is distinguishable from the unexplored volume or the Earth. The best I can say is that the deepest part of the ocean is a scant 0.17% of the depth of the Earth... And we haven't even managed to get living people down to the bottom of that to explore and study.

It's not too difficult to glean a number of conclusions from all this information.

First off... I want to all those who think we're even remotely close to "running out of resources":


The hell we are. We have hundreds of millions of cubic miles of Earth completely unknown, not to mention unutilized for the betterment of humanity just waiting to be discovered, studied & employed.

Secondly... I'm simply amazed. We have SO much left to discover, to learn, and so much more to do as a curiosity-driven species. And everything we learn, and everything we're able to produce & innovate results in a better quality of life for the 7 Billion of us living together.

And we NEED to learn more! More & better knowledge = Better technology = More "stuff" like food, shelter, clothing, medicine, and all the little luxuries we all enjoy = The entire population of humanity gets a life more free of disease, famine & pain, and fills our lives with less hard work and more pleasureable activities.

So: Let us dig deeper and fly higher. Let's go to the Moon & Mars. Let's build colonies in the ocean, and under the ground, and in the air and on other planets.

And for goo
dness sake, let's quit with the idiotic hindrances to progress stemming from ignorant dolts who think we should be looking to our miserable, poverty-ridden past for answers...

No comments: