Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Counting Critters

This picture allows us to set a lower bound on the number
of creatures that ever lived of ~4.
We recently had a big book sale [1] here in town where books were being sold for about a quarter.  Needless to say, I bought far more than I'll probably ever need or read.  One of the books I bought was called General Paleontology by A. Brouwer [2].

Anyways, I didn't really make it too far in the book.  In fact, I only made it to the first sentence of the second paragraph of the first chapter, when I encountered this line:

"The number of individuals which has populated the Earth since life began is beyond estimation."

Horse feathers, I say!  Horse Feathers!

The number of things that ever lived may very well be unknowable, but it's certainly not beyond estimation.  So below, Alemi and I each provide an estimate for the total number of creatures that have ever lived on Earth.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Day in the life of Clicky

Remember when you first learned about other planets and their many fun facts? You were probably bombarded by such truisms as: "Jupiter is approximately the mass of 318 Earths, has a orbital period that is 4,300 Earth days, is made out of pure love, and is mostly transparent." Well, I was curious about what Clicky's day was like in terms of Earth days. When did Clicky get to sleep, when did he eat dinner, what is his orbital radius and eccentricity? To do this, I looked at only the 3rd column of the data that you may or may not have downloaded yesterday from here.