Why Do I Blog?

I have more than once been asked why I blog. Whatever reasons I give are probably lies and guesses, incomplete or over-thought, true today but not tomorrow (or vice versa). Things are rarely simple, life is not black or white, there are usually many reasons for things, and those reasons change. Motivations are rarely truly understood and explanations are made after the fact to try and make sense of things. So don’t believe a word I say.

Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
— Walt Whitman

I think I blog from insecurity. I’ve always wanted to express myself, to show the world that I exist, to be noticed, to be respected. I want to be different (1).

But why blog at all? There are plenty of other ways to express oneself, to be noticed. And I’ve done many of them: hard rock climbs, long bike rides, books, art. Blogging is just a fairly immediate way to be noticed: it connects random thoughts I have to an expression that someone somewhere might read.

My mind is constantly thinking about things I find interesting, but I often find that an idea which seems beautiful in my head can be almost impossible to pin down when expressing it verbally. It’s easier to explore the idea by writing it down; then I can see if it goes somewhere, or if the beautiful butterfly that had been floating in my head is just a dead husk.

I think everyone wants to be heard, to be appreciated. Many people do this by talking – sometimes through conversation 🤐. I too want to express my ideas but I tend to shy away from conversation. It’s easier to say something on paper where I can ponder and rearrange and add and subtract (I can do this as I studied Math at University 😀). It’s easier for me to write—and edit—and let an idea germinate, than it is to speak it.

I also blog to learn. When an idea is interesting, it often makes me curious. I now want to learn more. Is this idea an isolated idea or is it part of a bigger picture with wider implications? Curiosity comes into the process. While blogging allows me to express my thoughts, it also keeps me curious and interested, wanting to research and learn more.

I rather enjoy having a written record of my ideas and thoughts. I occasionally look back through what I’ve written  and marvel at how brilliant I once was. Depressingly, I can also realize that I had far more interesting ideas in the past than I do now.

I like the sense of purpose that blogging provides. I’m not very good at a free-form type of life, and like having the structure that goals provide. Writing a blog makes me think that I’m accomplishing something. And maybe the occasional reader will be influenced or at least mildly entertained by something I write.

However, my writing may be like a tree falling in a forest where no one can hear it, in which case everything I’ve written about wanting to be noticed is delusion. But at least no one will be arguing with my brilliant ideas. Which may be the real reason I blog 😁.


1) A problem with being different or doing things that get you noticed is that it doesn’t always get you liked. When a person is different, it often generates uncomfortable feelings in other people when they realize they are not following their dreams, not doing what their hearts tell them to do.

Links and Other Clicks

I used to have a blog called Endless Curiosity. I stopped blogging there five years ago because I was putting so much time into it. Or that’s the explanation I tell myself now.

I wanted to include Hugh MacLeod’s lovely sheep and wolf drawing so I added Note 1 because it vaguely relates to the drawing. I love MacLeod’s art, although his website has gone very commercial and less edgy. If you want to see samples of his art, Google “hugh macleod art” and click on the Images tab.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Useless People

Another post from 2017 moved here from a no-longer-existing blog….

I’ve been reading a fascinating book, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, by Yuval Noah Harari.

The book covers many things, and one of the things Harari talks about that fascinates me—and worries me—is what might happen to regular people as more and more things are done by algorithms.

Harari very sensibly talks about algorithms rather than AI, which we often associate with consciousness. As he stresses, algorithms are not conscious yet they are able to do more and more things that we once thought were the domain of human intelligence and consciousness.

Algorithms can already drive cars better than most people, recognize faces better than most people, diagnose cancer better than most doctors, write music that is indistinguishable from human-composed music, and beat the best human players at chess and GO.

And algorithms are learning how to do more and more things that previously only humans could do. What happens when there are few jobs left for people? The standard answer is that there will always be jobs for people. As one profession becomes automated, other more creative professions will open up.

But as Harari says, “The most important question in twenty-first-century economics may well be what to do with all the superfluous people….. The idea that humans will always have a unique ability beyond the reach of non-conscious algorithms is just wishful thinking.”

What value will people have in the future? If we aren’t working and contributing to society will we have any value? If all we are doing is playing computer games, taking drugs, and having sex with robots will the elites have any interest in us?

Harari: “In the twenty-first century liberalism will have a much harder time selling itself. As the masses lose their economic importance, will the moral arguments alone be enough to protect human rights and liberties? Will elites and governments go on valuing every human being even when it pays no economic dividends?

Already we see, at least in the US, that poor people have less value than rich people. The whole Republican effort to repeal Obamacare shows that in the eyes of one of our two major parties, it’s more important to provide benefits to the rich than to provide good health to the poor and disadvantaged.

Again, Harari: “But the age of the masses may be over, and with it the age of mass medicine. As human soldiers and workers give way to algorithms, at least some elites may conclude that there is no point in providing improved or even standard levels of health for masses of useless poor people, and it is far more sensible to focus on upgrading a handful of superhumans beyond the norm.

Will this be our future? Who knows? Harari doesn’t predict, he just talks about possibilities. However, I suspect that barring a catastrophe such as nuclear war, our future will be one where the elites pay for life extension and genetic manipulation while the unemployed or underemployed masses live increasingly insecure lives.

But can’t democracy prevent this? And will democracy in this country even continue to exist, requiring as it does an informed citizenry? So far the elites have very successfully prevented class warfare, instead persuading the masses to follow the politics of resentment against immigrants and their “undeserving” neighbors. A system of lies, truly “fake news”, and the strange belief that truth is whatever we want it to be, keeps people voting for the benefit of the elites and against their own interests.

In other words, who knows what will happen in the future? Technological change is happening so fast that politicians can’t keep up with it, and society changes in ways that are hard to predict.

In the meantime, read Homo Deus for all its fascinating thoughts on where we are, how we got here, how things change, and what the future might look like.

Links and Other Clicks

Homo Deus at Amazon. Also available in e-book and audio format on Overdrive at your local library (or at least at my local library).

How America Lost its Mind. A great article about our post-truth era and how we got here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

I Hold These Truths (but others don’t)

I hold this truth to be self evident: that all men are not created equal.

Some are born to privilege, some to a life of poverty and despair. Some are born intelligent, some lacking in intelligence. Some to caring parents and nurturing environments, some to uncaring and distracted parents and brutal environments. Some go to schools that nourish them, some to schools where no one seems to care.

To go beyond this country, some are born in societies that consider everyone entitled to healthcare, education, and freedom from insecurity. Others are born in societies where the rich prey on the poor, the strong on the weak.

No, all men are not equal.

We may think that everyone should be equal but this is impossible. People cannot be equal in terms of natural gifts such as intelligence, beauty, physical strength. However we can be more equal in terms of the things that society has control over: educational opportunities, financial security, job security, health, childcare, and so on. But this takes a change in the way money is treated: less inequality, higher taxes, changes to the tax code, different spending priorities, fairer funding of schools.

But the rich and powerful will not willingly give up their wealth and privilege. As Lucy Parsons says, “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.”

Curiously, neither will the poor and powerless necessarily give up their poverty and disadvantages. One of the things driving the changing electoral patterns in the world is resentment. In Europe it tends to be resentment of immigrants. In the US it tends to be resentment of blacks and immigrants. In both cases it’s resentment of people who are regarded as undeserving, people who are getting jobs and benefits that should have gone to the resenters.

The result is a turn to the right, to politicians who promise to keep out or keep down the undeserving. The fact that the resenters will also lose out seems to be irrelevant. What counts is that the undeserving are punished.

In the end it doesn’t seem to matter that people are unequal. Quite the contrary: inequality is important, comparison is important. What matters is making sure that the undeserving are worse off than the resenters.

Links and Other Clicks

A fascinating article about the failure of social democracy.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Living Longer

I wrote this post in 2017 on a blog that no longer exists. Now that I’ve added a blog to Cycle Uphill, I thought I’d transfer the post over here….

I was reading an article about how a Professor Longo is selling a special formula diet that lets people live longer by being on a calorie restricted diet while still getting the essential nutrients in a tasty form.

And of course there are many other researchers looking into life extension including people at Google, Human Longevity, SENS Research Foundation, and several universities such as Harvard and UCLA.

A part of me wonders, to what end? Why?

There have always been smart, intellectually curious people who want to live as long as possible because they are fascinated by the world and want to learn more or create more. These people believe that as we have more time we will use it in an “elevated” way.

As Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion said, “Intelligent machines will continue that process, taking over the more menial aspects of cognition and elevating our mental lives toward creativity, curiosity, beauty, and joy. These are what truly make us human, not any particular activity or skill like swinging a hammer — or even playing chess.”

But for every one of those who believe we will elevate our mental lives towards creativity, curiosity, beauty, and joy, I’ll bet there are hundreds who don’t know what to do with their time. That’s partly what the opioid epidemic is about. It’s why so many retirees drink themselves, if not to death, then at least to oblivion. It’s why in 2016 the average American adult watched 5h 4m of television every day. It’s why so many unemployed young men spend their days playing video games.

Perhaps I misspeak. All the people do know what to do with their time. It’s just not perhaps what those seeking to extend life might be thinking.

Besides the question of what will people do with that extra time, one needs to consider the economics. If anyone is concerned about the financial health of Social Security and Medicare, they need to start panicking if people retire at the same age yet live longer.

And if people have to retire later, what does that mean for someone working a tough minimum wage job? Or being at the beck and call of the brutal scheduling algorithms now used in retail? More years of misery?

Or perhaps extended lives are just for the lucky few: those rich enough to afford the extra years of life and also curious enough about the world to want to keep learning and exploring.

I guess we’ll find out soon enough. I for one will be curious to know how we will fill our (possibly) extended lives with creativity, beauty, and joy.

And of course the answer to the question of “to what end? Why?” is fame, status, and money for the people who figure it out.

Links and Other Clicks

Article about Professor Longo and his research. And an article by someone who tried the diet.

The article from which the Gary Kasparov quote comes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Redisplaying the original blog posts

Originally, before I decided to focus this website on cycling and hiking, it was a blog named Contributing to the Problem. Then I decided to change its focus to cycling and hiking, and made it a website with static pages rather than a website with scrolling blog posts. Then I realized that Contributing to the Problem was a rather dumb name for a website focused on cycling and hiking so I changed the name to Cycle Uphill.

When changing from blog posts to static pages, I removed access to the old blog posts. I also deleted all the images associated with the blog posts—probably to save storage space.

Now, after someone commented on one of these inaccessible blog posts (inaccessible from the website, but presumably Google still has references to them), I’ve decided to make the posts visible again. Because I removed all the associated images, the existing posts are now all pure text.

Note that the original posts are all over six years old. Note also that I’m currently blogging at Cat World—if you can call the comics a blog.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

More Choice, Less Satisfaction

We were watching Netflix a few days ago, and we couldn’t find the movie we wanted to see. But apart from that movie, there were so many choices of movie or TV series. It was overwhelming.

Add in Amazon and all the other streaming sources and it gets ridiculous. Tanya and I have a really hard time choosing what to watch if presented with an almost infinite choice. Often we’ll just retreat to the comfort of a book.

In the old days there were just a few TV channels to watch, and programs had fixed schedules. So if we wanted to watch, say, Lovejoy, we sat in front of the TV at the appointed time—or we missed it. I enjoyed TV a lot more in those days. Predictability and limited choices.

Now there are many choices, and much better visual quality, but the experience is no better. Back then we knew only what we had and we enjoyed it. Watching TV is little more than entertainment, an escape from reality—unless we watch the News shows 🙂 —and modern TV is no better than old TV for escapism. It’s arguably worse because we no longer have the added benefit of being able to discuss what we watched with friends at work the next day.

For some reason—money comes to my mind—we are constantly told that the answer to life, the universe, and everything is more choice.

But my brain is not well-designed to handle choice. What I want is predictability and the security this brings. My brain doesn’t really like choices and having to make decisions.

I don’t really want a 401K where I choose among investment options. I want the predictability and security of a pension with a known payment every month. Too late for that now though.

I don’t want a choice among a hundred different medical plans with different options, different copays, different deductibles. I just want to be able to go to the doctor and be fixed, as people do in all other industrialized countries.

I don’t want to be paralyzed by the choice of a hundred toothpastes and toothbrushes. I really am no more satisfied having chosen X than Y.

So why do we have so much choice? The politically correct answer is so that there is more competition and thus lower prices. But this answer only works up to a point.

There is no real competition in toothpaste, there’s just pointless choice. There’s no competition in medical care because we can’t read reviews and we can’t switch at will. There’s less and less competition in cellphone networks, airlines, health insurance because providing choice is not a good business model—every big company would rather be a monopoly because that’s where the money is—and so companies with deep pockets persuade governments to allow consolidation of their industry. And I don’t want choice of risks in retirement planning; I just want a predictable income stream on which I can base my plans.

But no one asks We, the People, what We want. Medicare and Social Security are incredibly popular programs, yet we are not asked if we’d like their simplicity and predictability to be available for all healthcare and all retirement payments. Instead, we are offered choices based on the political beliefs of politicians and the profit-making desires of the companies that fund them.

More choice, less satisfaction. Sigh. 😕

Links and Other Clicks

Two wonderful books about choice: The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less and The Art of Choosing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Whirlwind of Inactivity

I haven’t been doing very much, because my life has been a whirlwind of inactivity.

There are many things I’ve convinced myself I should be doing. I should ride my bike, lift weights, learn French, learn web software development, write, create art, cook, spend time with Tanya, spend time with friends.

But why should I do all these things? Because I’m not working and have the time. My puritan streak says I should make use of my time, be productive, create, get things done. Otherwise I might as well be working.

Intellectually I know this is madness. No one cares what I accomplish1. My parents might have cared but they are long gone. And anyway, one day I’ll be dead too, as will all those who remember me.

Naturally, with so many things I could be doing, I do none of them.

I exaggerate; I do ride my bike sometimes. The simple solution would be to ride my bike all the time because that doesn’t take willpower and it doesn’t stress the brain.

But I get bored doing the same rides all the time, and anyway, I’d only injure myself.

So, with all these things I could be doing, why the whirlwind of inactivity? An Inability to Prioritize, and Perfectionism.

An Inability to Prioritize. There’s not enough time to do everything, and to do only some things means not doing other things. And I can’t decide which things to not do. That’s the problem with life: you can’t do it all which means you have to let go of some things.

You have to prioritize.

It seems I’m not very good at that, probably because I’m not very good at choosing the things I won’t do.

I’ll start something, get something partly done, then think I should be spending time on something else, and quit the current thing unfinished. Then I lose the context, lose the ideas that were in my mind, and when I come back to it, it either takes a while to get back into it, or the ideas were sufficiently subtle that they have gone. And that assumes I even come back to it.

What makes it worse is that some things I could be doing are big, daunting, open-ended, never-ending things: Learn French, Write a Book. What makes it worse still is that I question if I really do want to do those things, or if they are just things that I think I should do – for some deep, distant psychological reason. How do such things even fit into a prioritization scheme?

Perfectionism. For writing and art, I want the output to be good – I don’t actually expect perfection. But I don’t want to waste time on something that won’t be good. Unfortunately it’s easier to do nothing than to be good.

It’s also hard to put in the time to make something good when there are so many other things waiting to be done.

Just Start

Sometimes starting is the hardest thing. Once I’m doing an activity it’s often easy to get lost in it. It’s just starting that’s hard because it means not doing all the other things I might be doing. Or sometimes it seems that it will be difficult – learning French for example – but once in it my brain starts to enjoy the activity. So just start. Tell yourself it will just be for 5 minutes. If you want to quit after 5 minutes, quit. But there’s a good chance that you’ll continue.

Schedule Time

Schedule time for each of the tasks you need to do. Schedule the start time and the duration. Start on time, set a countdown timer, and don’t stop until the timer goes off. Or don’t stop if you want to continue.

Finish things that are not completely open ended

Assuming a task is not open ended, once started, finish it. If it is open ended, break it into smaller chunks that can be finished after starting. This means letting go of all the other possible things I might be doing, but at least it gets something done, and that feels good. I’ll feel satisfaction, and I won’t have something hanging over me.

The Ivy Lee Method

  • At the end of the day choose 6 things for the next day. Prioritize them.
  • Next day work on the top priority thing until it is finished. Then work on the second highest priority until it is finished. Etc.

Even big, never-ending tasks like Learn French can be split into smaller tasks, like Do Lesson 5. This allows you to always have a prioritized list of tasks.

The Raymond Chandler Method

Raymond Chandler had a very simple method to help him write. He set aside time, but he didn’t have to use that time to write. However, he couldn’t do anything else either. It was either write or do nothing.

“He doesn’t have to write, and if he doesn’t feel like it, he shouldn’t try. He can look out of the window or stand on his head or writhe on the floor. But he is not to do any other positive thing, not read, write letters, glance at magazines, or write checks. Write or nothing. …. Two very simple rules, a. you don’t have to write. B. you can’t do anything else. The rest comes of itself.”

Let Go – Stop Caring

This is the Buddhist approach I suppose – let go of craving, of attachments. If I don’t care how well something turns out, it’s easier to get it done. It’s never that simple of course because I want things to have some level of competence and elegance, but the bar height can be lowered a bit.

But It goes beyond the level of competence, because it also means not caring about whether I even start or do the thing. Do some web development? Why bother? Life is much easier when I stop caring.

Give Up on Things

Sometimes you need to completely eliminate things from that overwhelming, hanging-over-you list. Things that you think you should do, but don’t want to do and have no good reason to do. Warren Buffett had a scheme where you list the top 25 things you want to do, then circle the top 5. The other 20 become your Avoid-At-All-Costs list.

Have days when you do all the small tasks on your list

Sometimes small tasks just build up: get new light bulbs, sell something on Ebay, clean the floor, do the laundry, and so on. It gives me satisfaction to spend a day just taking care of small tasks with no thought to the bigger, more “important” things I might otherwise be doing.

This blog post is an example of two of the above Answers: Stop Caring, and Finish Things. I decided not to try and make it perfect, just adequate, and to have fun doing it. And I’m finishing it, even though there are other things I think I should be doing. This way it will be done and not hanging over me.

I wrote it for me, to help me learn and internalize some techniques so I can have, if not a whirlwind of activity, at least a breeze of activity.

Starting in December, everything will be different 🙂


  1. If anything, people don’t want to know about other people’s accomplishments because it makes them feel bad for not accomplishing more themselves. As Gore Vidal famously said, “Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.

Links and Other Clicks

The Ivy Lee Method.

Raymond Chandler’s Two Rules.

Mark Manson’s wonderful article about the pain you are willing to suffer.

Another great Mark Manson article about wanting less.

Posted in Creativity, Habits, Retirement, Time Management | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

A technology service Uber alles?

So what is Uber? Europe’s top court is trying to figure that out so European countries can decide how to regulate the company. Uber claims it’s an app, “an intermediary providing a technology service in exchange for a fee”. Taxi drivers claim it’s a transport company.

At stake is whether Uber will have to “adhere to the same laws and norms as staid rivals on employment, health and safety, taxes and pricing.”

Apparently the decision will also affect other companies in the “sharing economy”, such as Airbnb and Booking.com.

I have no idea how things will work out or who will be presenting evidence to the court, but if they asked me, I would say that Uber is one type of animal and Airbnb and Booking are a different species altogether.

When I use Uber, I say, “Let’s get an Uber”. I don’t think, “Let’s use the Uber app to get a car driven by an independent contractor.”  The prices are all pre-defined and it doesn’t matter which individual car comes and picks me up. The details of the specific car are irrelevant; I just get the car that is closest to me.

Whereas with Airbnb and Booking I use their app to find places in the area I’m interested in visiting. I study the facts: location, size, amenities, price, and so on, and make a decision based on how important the different factors are to me.

In other words, I use Airbnb and Booking as technology intermediaries to present me with several very different independent options, and I make a choice. Then I use Airbnb or Booking to coordinate booking, payment, and cancelation policies with these independent hotels or people.

But I don’t use Uber that way. I use Uber exactly as I would a taxi company. Sent me the nearest car and transport me from A to B.

So I hope that the top European court will read this blog and take my views into account. If you know anyone on the court, please send them a link to this post. 🙂

Links and Other Clicks

Europe’s top court could help Uber where Commission has failed

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Sea of Grass

After my last post about the Earth and Sun, I thought I’d post something I’d previously written about the scale of the Universe. As I said, this stuff fascinates me and boggles my mind. I love the feeling of utter incomprehension 🙂

Imagine a football field. It’s the beginning of the season, so the grass is looking beautiful. It’s been recently cut and you can see the alternating stripes going one way then the other. The smell of the grass is wonderful. Imagine walking barefoot from one end of the field to the other, feeling that wonderful sensation of soft grass under your feet. How many blades of grass do you think there are on that field? Lots. In fact, in a typical field there are about 250,000,000 blades of grass, a quarter of a billion. I want an area with 200,000,000,000 blades of grass, and for that we need to put together 800 football fields. Now, 800 football fields is going to take a long time to walk along, so let’s put them side to side rather than end to end, and let’s imagine walking across them all.

After a while we are in the middle of the 347th field. Let’s stop here for a moment. I want you to take out a small jar of yellow paint that you are carrying, bend down, and paint just one blade of grass yellow. After you have done that, continue walking across the remaining 453 football fields. Okay, what was the point of that?”

What we have just done is look at the number of stars in our galaxy—about 200,000,000,000—and we’ve painted one blade of grass corresponding to our sun. There’s nothing special about 347 though—I just wanted you to have walked a long way, and still have a long way to walk. And this is only a fraction of the universe.

There are estimated to be over 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe—maybe 125,000,000,000—and some theories in physics say there may be multiple universes.

If we want to look at our sun relative to all the stars in our universe, imagine grass covering the entire surface of the Earth—land, lakes, seas and oceans—and remember that more than two thirds of the surface of the Earth is water. All of America is covered with grass, as is Europe and all of Africa, all of Asia. The Atlantic Ocean is covered, as is the Pacific Ocean. The whole surface of the Earth is covered with grass. Each blade of grass represents one star, and again, our sun is one blade of grass painted yellow.

Douglas Adams, the author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, said it well when he wrote, “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the drug store, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

[Update: Since my original writing about the football fields and grass covered planets, scientists have revised the galaxy count, and now believe there are over 2 trillion – 2,000,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe. Which would mean grass completely covering 20 Earth size planets, and our Sun a single blade of grass on one of those 20 planets.]

Links and Other Clicks

Scientists now estimate that the Universe contains more than two trillion galaxies.

The book where I originally wrote the stuff above.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy gave us the answer to “what is 6 times 7”. Oh, wait, it was a different question.

Posted in Curiosity | Tagged , | 3 Comments

An Awe Full Hot Day

On a hot day, one of the things I sometimes think about is how much energy the Sun is putting out. I can’t conceive of this much light and heat from man-made sources.

The Sun has been doing this for over 4 billion years, and will continue doing so for another 4 billion years.

And if this wasn’t enough, consider how far away the Earth is from the Sun. I know, you can’t. We don’t have a frame of reference. So let’s create one.

Take a basketball if you have one. If not, take a plastic gallon milk container. Place it on the ground. Now take a peppercorn. Walk 31 yards away – that’s 31 decent-sized steps. Place the peppercorn on the ground.

That’s roughly the relative size and distance of the Earth from the Sun. Stand back and marvel at how much energy the Sun must be putting out to heat the Earth at that sort of distance.

Of course, the Sun is not blasting all the energy directly at the Earth. It’s putting out energy in all directions. So the heat and light the Earth receives is also going to all points in a sphere the size of the Earth-Sun distance.

As you can see, the peppercorn is almost invisible at 31 yards. It would take over 2 billion peppercorns to cover a sphere 31 yards from your basketball or milk container. In other words, the Sun is putting out enough heat and light to heat over 2 billion Earths at once.

This is so mind-boggling that I can’t begin to relate to it.

And the mind-bogglingness is compounded by the fact that there are about 300,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy and about 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the universe.

How can one even begin to get a grasp on that? I can’t think of anything that creates a greater sense of awe in me.

Here’s a fantastic demonstration of the relative size and distance of our Solar System and its planets. Click on the picture and scroll left and right. Prepare to feel awe. If you want to see the full page version, click here.



The distance from the sun to the earth is about 93,000,000 miles. The surface area of the sphere around the Sun at the distance of the Earth is: 4 * pi * (distance from Earth to Sun)2. Computing this gives 4 * 3.14 * 93,000,000 * 93,000,000 square miles = approximately 108,631,440,000,000,000 square miles.

The surface area of the disk that would be the Earth if you were looking at it from the sun is: pi * (radius of Earth)2 which is about 3.14 * 4,000 * 4,000, or 50,240,000 square miles.

How many Earth sizes fit into the surface of this sphere around the Sun? The answer is 108,631,440,000,000,000 / 50,240,000 = 2,152,250,000. In other words, the Sun is giving out enough light and energy to heat and illuminate over 2 billion Earths.

Posted in Curiosity | Tagged , | 2 Comments