Clever websites show how totally insignificant the universe thinks we are

By David Self Newlin | Posted - May 13th, 2013 @ 11:46am



SALT LAKE CITY — The Earth is old. Really, really old. Comparatively speaking, the Earth is older than you by about the same amount that Bill Gates is richer than you. And Bill Gates is super rich.

That doesn't even take into account that the Earth is a relative newcomer to the universe, which is roughly four times as old as the Earth, coming in at roughly 13.8 billion years.

But if you're having trouble visualizing these impossibly large time scales, UK-based graphic designer Luke Twyman has a website to help you out. HereIsToday.com puts it all in perspective, breaking down how large today is compared to the week, month, millennium, geological epoch, history of life itself and many other scales.

It's all rather stunning, but cleanly put together and worth a click through. If anything, you might just come out feeling a little more humble and a little younger.

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Another website can help put your size in perspective if you've been feeling a little biggish or smallish lately. ScaleOfUniverse.com, the work of designer Cary Huang can help in either case, taking you on a journey from the inconceivably small to the laughably large.

As it turns out, when you take into account the relative sizes of the smallest possible and biggest possible things, we're a little above the median, coming in at just a couple meters on average. The smallest distance, the Plank scale, is roughly 10^-35 meters, many trillions of times smaller than we are, while the known universe is about 10^27 meters wide.

In either case, whether it's size or time, we humans insignificant compared to pretty much everything that currently is, ever was or ever will be. But don't let it get you down. Who else is going to design the nifty graphics that conveniently explain to us our own insignificance?

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