Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Politically Uncorrect

Posted from Culver City, California at 4:15 pm, September 1st, 2006

Spent the past two days in Catalina with Audrey, her mom, and mom’s husband. There are stories circulating that I may have let a dingy float away while grabbing a bag off the back of the boat, but I can assure everyone that it was all intentional – I just needed an excuse to dive in and chase down a rubber raft.

The Catalina trip offered tons of time to read, and I’m on to another Carl Sagan book – The Dragons of Eden, a non-fiction book about the evolution of human intelligence. At the beginning of the book he makes an attempt to give some idea of how long the time periods are when discussing evolution. To illustrate the point, he condenses all of history into one year, and then lays out the following dates:

January 1: The Big Bang
May 1: The Milky Way galaxy Forms
September 9: The solar system forms
September 14: The Earth forms
September 25: Origin of life on Earth
December 1: Significant oxygen atmosphere develops on Earth
December 20: Plants begin colonization of land
December 24: First dinosaurs
December 26: First mammals
December 28: First flowers, dinosaurs extinct
December 31:

10:30 PM: First humans
11:00 PM: Widespread use of stone tools by humans
11:56 PM: End of the last Ice Age
11:59:50 PM: Beginning of Egyptian civilization
11:59:53 PM: Bronze Age, Trojan War
11:59:56 PM: Birth of Christ
11:59:59 PM: Rennaisance
The first second of New Year’s Day: Present Day

It’s a pretty cool way to look at it; if it takes (relatively) just four minutes to go from the last Ice Age to the present it puts in perspective how much things can change over a much, much longer period of time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *