Int UK 17611 Folder Collection
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Time makes sense in small pieces.
But when you look at huge stretches of time,
it’s almost impossible to wrap your head around things.
So let’s start small
with minutes, hours, days.
You probably spent the last 24 hours mostly sleeping and working,
with some coffee in there somewhere.
Please watch less TV.
Now let’s look at 2013: relatively unnoticed,
Hitler’s bodyguard died at the age of 96
while in June, Edward Snowden started the NSA scandal.
Moving back a bit, the 21st century is still pretty young and largely shaped
by the attacks on 9/11 that ultimately led to the third Iraq war.
Oh, and Facebook and smartphones took over our lives.
But we’re just getting started:
Let’s back up further!
The 20th century has seen its share of conflicts too.
After two devastating World Wars,
the Cold War lasted for almost the whole second half of it.
An average human lifespan covers most of this stuff
as well as the birth of the internet and the beginning of the information age.
The oldest living person on Earth is currently Misao Okawa,
who was born in 1898, which means that her birth was closer to
Napoleon ruling Europe than to the current day.
The last 500 years of human history
brought enormous changes to our lifestyles:
Industrialisation gave rise to new ideas like communism,
farmers became workers and knowledge became easier to distribute.
The theory of evolution changed how we saw ourselves and the world we live in.
All in a few hundred years!
The 15th century was very eventful:
Columbus’s “discovery” of America and the fall of Constantinople
mark the end of the Middle Ages.
People in the Middle Ages where super into war over territory and religion
but the Black Plague was far more efficient than war,
killing every third European in six years.
Arriving in the Common Era, let’s take a look where we came from!
Our current century is tiny, and 2013 is barely visible.
This is recorded human history.
The pyramids were constructed 4,500 years ago,
the peak of the Roman Empire was 2,000 years ago,
so to the Romans the pyramids were as old as the Romans are to us today.
History starts with writing. But what happened before that?
About 12,000 years ago, the agricultural revolution took place.
Mankind began farming, which gave rise to
the existence of cities and larger communities.
The dominance of the human species over planet Earth really started here.
90,000 years ago, neanderthals and humans coexist in Europe.
Fun fact: this is roughly the time period a modern spacecraft
would need to reach the nearest star.
Homo sapiens, the modern human, evolved 200,000 years ago.
Looking at all of human history, what we call AD seems pretty small, doesn’t it?
6,000,000 years ago, our ancestors
and the modern chimpanzee shared a common ancestor for the last time,
and for 2,750,000 years, stone tools were all the rage.
A mere 65,000,000 years ago, the age of the dinosaurs ended in
an enormous explosion, which paved the way for the rise of mammals.
But the dinosaurs ruled the Earth for an incredibly long time:
over 165,000,000 years!
That’s so long that it means a T. rex that lived 65,000,000 years ago
is closer to seeing a live Miley Cirus concert
than to seeing a live stegosaurus!
Animal life on this planet started 600,000,000 years ago:
the earliest animals were fish and other small simple sea creatures,
then came insects, then reptiles,
and finally, around 200,000,000 years ago,
mammals join the party!
Life itself began much further back:
3,600,000,000 years ago.
Before any animals appeared, there were 2,400,000,000 years
when life consisted only of tiny microbes,
countless single-cell bacteria.
For 3,000,000,000 years, all life on Earth was invisible to the naked eye.
It’s hard to understand how single-cell organisms
could develop into complex life forms like fish or sloths.
The answer is time, a whole lot of time:
2,400,000,000 years is lot of time to work with!
4,600,000,000 years ago, the Sun was born from the remnants of a giant explosion,
60,000,000 years later, Earth formed.
In those early years, frequent bombardment by comets and asteroids
supplied the Earth with large oceans and a moon to send spaceships to.
But as far as the whole universe goes, our Solar system is pretty new.
13,750,000,000 years ago, the universe was born, and
600,000,000 years later, our own galaxy formed from billions of stars,
but what was before the Big Bang?
The truth is, we don’t know that yet, and maybe we never will.
But we gave it some colours so at least we have that.
And there you have it:
the past.
Now let’s take a look at what we know about the future.
In roughly 1,000,000,000 years,
the Sun will be so hot that life on Earth becomes impossible.
The death of the Sun 4,000,000,000 years later marks the end of the Solar system.
OK, so no more Solar system.
And what happens after that?
A few trillions years from now, star production will cease
and one day the last star in the universe will die.
The universe will turn dark,
inhabited only by black holes.
Long after the last black hole has evaporated,
our universe reaches its final stage,
something called heat death.
Nothing changes anymore,
the universe
is dead
forever.
Now you’re feeling some pretty weird feelings right now, aren’t you?
We are too.
It’s only natural.
The good news is:
this is all far, far away.
The only time that actually matters is now!
That cute girl you like,
ask her out!
Time is precious,
make it count!
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The History and Future of Everything -- Time

17611 Folder Collection
羅紹桀 published on June 13, 2015
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