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A Simple Demonstration Of Earth’s Ecological Fragility

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  • Mon, Oct 12, 2015 - 08:31pm

    #1

    Adam Taggart

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    A Simple Demonstration Of Earth’s Ecological Fragility

Adam Savage from Mythbusters recounts how he was stunned by Buckminster Fuller's simple but elegant demonstration of how fragile the Earth's ecosystem is:

(Source: Business Insider)

 

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  • Tue, Oct 13, 2015 - 08:39am

    #2
    David Allan

    David Allan

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    I’ll bust that myth

The earth has an average diameter of 7918 miles (12742 km). The deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana trench is approx 36070 feet (10994 m). The deepest part of the ocean is therefore approx one one thousandth of the diameter of the earth.

Now  that 30 inch, 75cm sphere in the demo has an area 4 Pi r squared = 1.76 sq metre. The volume of water to cover the sphere to a depth of one thousandth of the diameter ie 0.75mm is (approx) 1.3l, which is more than typically respired in a day, let alone a single breath. (a figure of 400ml/day is quoted on quora.com)

Oh what a miserable grinch I am. Nice demo though.

  • Tue, Oct 13, 2015 - 01:43pm

    #3

    Wildlife Tracker

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    I will bust your bust

This was actually a very clever demonstration. A great demonstration to make you think, but normal humans can't conceptualize information like that. 

Straight lines are very easy to visualize, so I post the visual below. The deepest part of the ocean is 6.8 miles, but on average the ocean is roughly around 2.3 miles. So roughly the ocean is actually about 1/3 of the red dot presented below in comparison to the black line. The dot is actually already generous in length do to the inability of computers to represent information smaller than 1 pixel size.

 

We really are a fragile little layer on planet earth…

  • Wed, Oct 14, 2015 - 02:10pm

    #4

    Chris Martenson

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    Apple and Oranges?

[quote=davidallan]

The earth has an average diameter of 7918 miles (12742 km). The deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana trench is approx 36070 feet (10994 m). The deepest part of the ocean is therefore approx one one thousandth of the diameter of the earth.

Now  that 30 inch, 75cm sphere in the demo has an area 4 Pi r squared = 1.76 sq metre. The volume of water to cover the sphere to a depth of one thousandth of the diameter ie 0.75mm is (approx) 1.3l, which is more than typically respired in a day, let alone a single breath. (a figure of 400ml/day is quoted on quora.com)

Oh what a miserable grinch I am. Nice demo though.

[/quote]

I heard the tale as saying that his respiration that had condensed on the sphere was equivalent to the depth of the ocean…not the volume.

So let's look at it on that basis.

My math says that a 30 inch sphere is (30*2.54) = 76.2 cm across.

This means if we scale things, each cm = (12,742/76.2) = 167km

Which means that if we scale the Marianas trench to our 30 inch/76.2 cm sphere, it would be (10.994/167) = 0.065 cm deep, or 0.65 mm.

Is that possible?  Could breath condense to slightly more than half a millimeter?  I suppose so.  It seems reasonable (assuming a nice cold sphere and a high humidity index).

Unless I goofed my math…which happens sometimes…

 

  • Wed, Oct 14, 2015 - 02:57pm

    #5

    Wildlife Tracker

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    Well if you wanted to cover

Well if you wanted to cover the sphere it would be 0.22 mm because the entire ocean is not 7 miles deep.

Regardless, it does not matter. It's probably in the 80% (good enough accuracy) range. This demonstration would be have been more effective it the gentleman in the video compared the difference between the sphere in the video and our earth. Like the fact that we have an atmosphere and gravitational forces creating our habitat ecosystem, and that is why the moisture would last only a brief moment on the sphere, but has lasted millions of years on planet earth.

The take-home of the video: A slight change in the earth's core temperature would literally evaporate all of us into oblivion.

That was what I was going to say in the last post… but didn't

  • Thu, Oct 15, 2015 - 07:02am

    #6
    David Allan

    David Allan

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    Perspective

I'm not going to argue the point on this. But here's a direct quote from the clip ' The condensation of his breath is equivalent to the depth of the deepest ocean on earth, on this sphere'. I don't believe that statement is entirely factual and who can resist the opportunity to bust a real-life Myth Buster?!

But the underlying principle is good. And if you really want to get the ecosphere in perspective we can zoom out to the perspective of the solar system… then the galaxy… then the outer limits of the known universe. There is nothing like it ANYWHERE – that we know of.

  • Thu, Oct 15, 2015 - 02:38pm

    #7

    David Huang

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    visual size of sphere

First, I think this is a great example in principle to help conceptualize the fragility of the living skin of the earth.

I'm wondering though why the video uses a sphere considerably smaller than 30 inches.  I realize in the video it isn't a real sphere, just a superimposed computer graphic.  However in relation to the guy it would be in the 6 to 8 inch diameter range.  I make spherical metal objects for a living.  I can tell you with certainty that there is a huge difference in impact between a 6 inch diameter sphere and a 30 inch diameter!

The visual impact of this demo would be vastly more impressive if it was done on a sphere proportionally representative of 30 inches in diameter to the figure!

Part of me is also wondering if this was a misquote of Fuller, and he was actually using a smaller size sphere in his talks.  A 30 inch diameter sphere is also a bear to transport around for a lecture!

  • Fri, Oct 16, 2015 - 02:32pm

    #8
    jgritter

    jgritter

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    Wondered about that myself

A misquote seems possible.  The demo makes much more sense if you start with a 30cm sphere.

If we use a basketball for ease of visualization then 2 miles of ocean divided by 8000 miles of planet times a 25cm sphere equals an ocean depth to scale of .06mm.  So if a piece of printer paper is 0.9mm this would seem to suggest that if the Earth were the size of a basketball the average ocean depth would less then 1/10 of the thickness of a piece of paper.  Ask someone to hold a basketball then tell them that if the Earth were the size of a basketball then the oceans are about as deep as the perspiration on the palms of their hands and the International Space Station is orbiting at about the altitude of their finger nails.

LOL.  Makes one wonder if the price of gold or what Putin is doing in Syria is really all that important after all.

John G

  • Fri, Oct 16, 2015 - 09:13pm

    #9
    Mark Reis

    Mark Reis

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    Wrong Earth Model

Interesting video and thread of comments here. It serves as a reminder that we always need to care for and respect earth. However, I have to comment about something fundamental which makes "getting the math right" particularly difficult, and that is that the earth model that is being used is wrong.

 

Chris often admonishes economists, environmentalists or "scientists" for not using the correct models in their calculations and projections. The debate over Buckminster Fuller's quote is specious in light of the reality that the earth is NOT a sphere; and therefore, the analogy that breath condensation on a 30 inch (dia) sphere is representative of the depth of the ocean relative to a spherical earth is fantastical.

 

The navigable earth is a circular flat plane (with many peaks and valleys on the land masses, and with bodies of water of varying depth); the north "pole" is at the center of the circle and Antarctica is a circular mass of ice that surrounds and holds in all the earth's oceans.

 

For an accurate (enough) view of the earth, please google "Azimuthal equidistant projection map", or look at the map used on the flag of the United Nations (UN). And for those who like discussion boards, you should check out this one:  ifers.boards.net.

 

For anyone who would like to understand our world better: use an accurate model; seek the truth and start trusting your own observations of the world (e.g. water doesn't curve around a ball, it is flat and in fact any body of water is the definition of flat).

 

And if you were wondering, no, I am not joking.

 

-Peace

  • Fri, Oct 16, 2015 - 09:30pm

    #10

    Jim H

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    Markreis

Is this a joke, or are you really, really, really serious?

(e.g. water doesn't curve around a ball, it is flat and in fact any body of water is the definition of flat).

Say what?  The ocean layer does indeed curve around the (somewhat flattened) ball that is the earth.  Here is proof.    

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon#/media/File:Horizon,_Valencia_%28Spain%29.JPG

 

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