I don’t know about you, but it seems like I have more and more things to do with less and less time to do them all in. Is this just me, or do you feel the same?
I used to try my utmost to post my Cool Beans Blogs on a daily basis. These days, however, I’m lucky to manage one every couple of weeks, which is sad because writing about random interesting stuff is what I like doing best.
I keep a folder of things about which I wish to write. It currently contains 389 items. I’m adding new items faster than I’m writing about old ones. I’m too young for all this excitement. This makes me think of the 1961 musical, Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.
In turn, this makes me think about the What If? tome by Randall Munroe (the creator of xkcd). This book bills itself as “Serious scientific answers to absurd hypothetical questions.” One of these questions pertains to what would happen if the Earth suddenly stopped spinning. The answer is that pretty much everyone who wasn’t underground when this event took place would not survive. The Earth’s diameter is ~8,000 miles and its circumference is ~24,000 miles. Since the Earth rotates once every 24 hours, this means that the surface at the equator is moving at ~1,000 miles-per-hour. Randall notes that if the Earth stopped and the air didn’t, the result would be a sudden thousand-mile-per-hour wind that would reduce virtually all human structures to ruins. Actually, now I come to think about it, even for those people underground at the time, if the Earth stopped and the people didn’t, then they would slam into the nearest wall at 1,000 miles-per-hour, which would be something of a downer.
In turn, this reminds me of the thought experiment performed by Anders Sandberg—a man who has way too much time on his hands. The thought experiment in question was What Would Happen If the Earth Were Replaced by an Equal Volume of Closely Packed but Uncompressed Blueberries? I’m sure this is something we’ve all pondered in our time, but Anders really went to town on this topic (see also Anders’ Blueberry Earth paper).
Of course, now we’re talking about berries, I’m reminded of the article in the Guardian in which we learn that the galactic center—in the form of the giant dust cloud at the heart of the Milky Way—Tastes of Raspberries and Smells of Rum.
Good Grief! I just realized that I’ve been waffling on, but I haven’t even touched upon any of the items in my “To Write About” folder. Since we’re here, let’s try to quickly reduce the list by 10 items as follows:
With respect to the “Eyes on Asteroids” item, click the “Scroll to Enter” link to see a live visualization of the planets and asteroids in our solar system, then drag with your mouse to change the point of view, or click on objects to learn more (also note the zoom and layer buttons to the right of the display).
Phew! That’s a relief! I’ve reduced my list by 10 items. Of course, this means I’ve increased your list of things to look at by 10 items, but I think we can agree that this is a small price to pay (especially since you’ll be the one paying it). Each of the above links is worth at least a couple of minutes of your time. I’d love to hear what you think, including which you found to be most interesting. And—as usual—please feel free to (a) share this Cool Beans Blog with your friends and (b) share your own links of interest in the comments below.