June 30, 2009

A matter of scale

The long view. A Hubble image of deep space by way of wikipedia.

El Cabrero is a big fan of lecture series produced by The Teaching Company (and the libraries that buy them). At the moment, I'm in the midst of one about "Big History: The Big Bang, Life on Earth, and the Rise of Humanity" by Dr. David Christian.

I enjoy light subjects...

Anyhow, he had some interesting ideas about getting a handle on the age of the universe (over 13 billion according to recent estimates). To make it easier to picture, he shrinks the scale a billion times.

If the universe was 13 years old,

*earth would have been formed five years ago;

*the first multi-celled organisms showed up seven months ago;

*after a successful run of several weeks, dinosaurs would have gotten wiped out three weeks ago;

*the first hominids appeared 53 minutes ago;

*agriculture started five minutes ago;

*the first agrarian civilizations got going three minutes ago; and

*industrial societies would have been around for six seconds.

Our part of the show is just getting started....or maybe it's just a short feature.

TIME is one of the themes of the Rev. Jim Lewis' latest edition of Notes from Under the Fig Tree.

THE PRICE OF HAPPINESS. The scientific quest to understand consumer behavior continues.

A CURIOUS CONNECTION seems to exist between marriage and obesity.

NOT HIS BEST. The late writer Michael Harrington may have helped inspire the 1960s War on Poverty, but some of his ideas about the "culture of poverty" did some harm.



Hollowdweller said...

I belive it was a series of huge exposions that formed the universe instead of one huge one.

This is called the Big Gangbang theory ;-)

El Cabrero said...

That would explain a lot.

Do you have any similar theories about clusters in the field of astronomy?