By Bob Aronson
One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is, “I don’t have time for….” You can complete the sentence. The fact is you only think you don’t have enough time, you have plenty it’s just that it comes in fits and starts – little pieces of time that we don’t acknowledge as “useful.”
This blog is about organ donation/transplantation and related subjects and there are a lot of related subjects. Today’s post is about time, time chalked up as wasted, the time you spend waiting.
Yesterday as I sat waiting in my Doctor’s office it occurred to me that I spend a lot of time waiting, not just as a heart transplant recipient but everywhere I go I wait. I wait at the bank, the pharmacy, getting the car serviced and standing in line at check-out counters in stores. I wait for the pasta water to boil, the alarm to go off, for traffic lights to change and in line to use a public restroom. I wait a lot and so do you and for the most part that time is totally unproductive and non-edifying.
While sitting in the “Waiting room” at the clinic I did what a lot of people do, I took out my cell phone (it does everything but make coffee, I can even use it as the remote control for the TV) and began to surf the net (don’t you love that tech talk) looking for something, anything interesting. I looked around the room and almost everyone sitting there either had a laptop, a phone or a tablet and I wondered if they were surfing, too, or if they had something specific they were studying. Being the curious type I couldn’t wait to get home to my laptop.
Here’s what I found; the Timex company (you know the ones who said, “Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”) did a study a while back on just how much time we spend waiting and the results were very interesting.
Timex made it quite clear that we all know we waste time, we just haven’t made the effort to determine how much. The Timex survey revealed that on average each day, people wait seven minutes for a cup of coffee, 20 minutes in traffic, 20 minutes for the bus or train and 32 minutes each time they go to the doctor…that’s for each appointment. If you have three or four physician’s appointments in a day you could waste up to two hours waiting.
Having established that we have a lot of free (wasted) time I can get to the point of this blog. Do you use that time wisely? As long as you have to wait doesn’t it make sense to use the time to be entertained, to learn or even to meditate? The problem is that most of us aren’t prepared to use the time wisely, we spend it surfing. So I thought, “I’ll give my readers something interesting and entertaining so that “Waiting” time is not “Wasted” time.
I love science and technology stuff, you know interesting pieces of information about science and space and space travel and the building blocks of life and all that. Actually I love to read something and say, “Wow, I didn’t know that.” When that happens I tuck that information away for use as a conversation starter or enhancer when needed. Anyway, I did some research for you so the next time you are waiting somewhere you can say, “I’ll click on some of that stuff from Bob’s Newheart.”
Let us start with some absolutely mind boggling information.
- According to NASA the biggest thing in the universe is a recently discovered Galaxy. From “Tip to tip” the NGC 6872 spans 522,000 light years, five times the length of our own Milky Way…which is pretty darned big. 522,000 light years and a single light year is almost 6 Trillion miles (5,878,499,810,000 miles). And…remember that is just one galaxy. So, your next question then is, “How many galaxies are there?” Good question but tough to find an exact answer because no one really knows but, the most current estimates guess that there are 100 to 200 billion galaxies in the Universe, each of which has hundreds of billions of stars. A recent German supercomputer simulation put that number even higher: 500 billion. In other words, there could be a galaxy out there for every star in the Milky Way.
What do you think is the biggest living organism on the planet? I’ll bet you said a Blue Whale or some other sea creature. Wrong! Nope…not a Redwood tree either. The biggest living organism on earth is a honey mushroom that grows underground in Oregon. It covers 2,385 acres—a single organism, with identical DNA all the way through. That’s the biggest living thing on earth.
More mind bogglers
- When you look at the stars you are looking into the past. The starlight we see in the night sky has taken a long time to travel across space to reach our eyes. This means whenever we star gaze we are looking at how they looked a long time ago. For example, the bright star Vega is pretty close to us at only twenty five light-years away. That means that what you are seeing took place twenty five years ago. As you view stars even farther away your look into history becomes ever deeper until your peek into the past allows you to witness the Big Bang itself.
- Sagittarius B is a vast molecular cloud of gas and dust floating near the center of the Milky Way, 26,000 light-years from Earth, 463,000,000,000 kilometers in diameter and, amazingly, it contains 10-billion-billion-billion liters of alcohol. That’s a lot of beer or vodka…wow! The vinyl alcohol in the cloud is an important organic molecule which offers some clues how the first building blocks of life-forming substances are produced.
- Venus is the slowest rotating planet in our Solar System, so slow it takes longer to fully rotate than it does to complete its orbit. This means Venus has days that last longer than its years. It’s also home to one of the most inhospitable environments imaginable, with constant electronic storms, high CO2 readings, and it’s shrouded by clouds of sulfuric acid.
- You may not remember the Voyager Program which launched two spacecraft, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, in 1977. The probes explored the planets and moons of the outer Solar System over several decades and are now continuing their mission to travel through the edge of our Solar System and into interstellar space.
On March 20 2013, Voyager 1 became the first human-made object to leave our Solar Sytem and is now the furthest human-made object from Earth, it’s around 1.15581251×1010 miles away. Putting it mildly this is a long way from home.
- Did you know that there could be 500 million planets capable of supporting life in our galaxy? Scientists searching for extraterrestrial life focus on “Goldilocks Planets“; whose which fall into a star’s habitable zone. Planet Earth seems to have exactly the right conditions for life to exist – its distance from the Sun means the temperature is right, water can exist as a liquid solid and a gas, and there are the right combination of chemical compounds available to build complex life forms. Other planets thought to have similar features are known as Goldilocks planets.
- In the Milky Way alone there are estimated to be 500 million potential Goldilocks planets, so if life can exist in places other than Earth there is a huge number of potential planets on which it might thrive. If these numbers are applied to all the galaxies in the universe there could be a staggering variety of planets capable of supporting life. Of course, we have no evidence life exists elsewhere, but if it does there are plenty of places for it to set up home.
- There May Be More Universes. Credit: Stephen Feeney/UCLThe idea that we live in a multiverse, in which our universe is one of many, comes from a theory called eternal inflation, which suggests that shortly after the Big Bang, space-time expanded at different rates in different places. According to the theory, this gave rise to bubble universes that could function with their own separate laws of physics.
The concept is controversial and had been purely hypothetical until recent studies searched for physical markers of the multiverse theory in the cosmic microwave background, which is a relic of the Big Bang that pervades our universe. [Full Story]
Are you finding these items interesting? Well, there’s more. Here are 25 amazing space facts. http://www.amazingspacefacts.50webs.com/
1. Saturn’s moon Titan has plenty of evidence of organic (life) chemicals in its atmosphere.
2. Life is known to exist only on Earth, but in 1986 NASA found what they thought might be fossils of microscopic living things in a rock from Mars.
3. Most scientists say life’s basic chemicals formed on the Earth. The astronomer Fred Hoyle said they came from space.
4. Oxygen is circulated around the helmet in space suits in order to prevent the visor from misting.
5. The middle layers of space suits are blown up like a balloon to press against the astronaut’s body. Without this pressure, the astronaut’s body would boil!
6. The gloves included in the space suit have silicon rubber fingertips which allow the astronaut some sense of touch.
7. The full cost of a spacesuit is about $11 million although 70% of this is for the backpack and the control module.
8. Ever wondered how the pull of gravity is calculated between heavenly bodies? It’s simple. Just multiply their masses together, and then divide the total by the square of the distance between them.
9. Glowing nebulae are named so because they give off a dim, red light, as the hydrogen gas in them is heated by radiation from the nearby stars.
10. The Drake Equation was proposed by astronomer Frank Drake to work out how many civilizations there could be in our galaxy – and the figure is in millions.
11. SETI is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence – the program that analyzes radio signals from space for signs of intelligent life.
12. The Milky Way galaxy we live in: is one among the BILLIONS in space.
13. The Milky Way galaxy is whirling rapidly, spinning our sun and all its other stars at around 100 million km per hour.
14. The Sun travels around the galaxy once every 200 million years – a journey of 100,000 light years.
15. There may be a huge black hole in the very middle of the most of the galaxies.
16. The Universe is probably about 15 billion years old, but the estimations vary.
17. One problem with working out the age of the Universe is that there are stars in our galaxy which are thought to be 14 to 18 billion years old – older than the estimated age of the Universe. So, either the stars must be younger, or the Universe older.
18. The very furthest galaxies are spreading away from us at more than 90% of the speed of light.
19. The Universe was once thought to be everything that could ever exist, but recent theories about inflation (e.g. Big Bang) suggest our universe may be just one of countless bubbles of space time.
20. The Universe may have neither a center nor an edge, because according to Einstein’s theory of relativity, gravity bends all of space time around into an endless curve.
21. If you fell into a black hole, you would stretch like spaghetti.
22. Matter spiraling into a black hole is torn apart and glows so brightly that it creates the brightest objects in the Universe – quasars.
23. The swirling gases around a black hole turn it into an electrical generator, making it spout jets of electricity billions of kilometers out into space.
24. The opposite of black holes are estimated to be white holes which spray out matter and light like fountains.
25. A day in Mercury lasts approximately as long as 59 days on earth.
And, in case you want still more:
- Did you know that the Blue whale’s heart is the size of a VW Beetle and that you could swim through some of its arteries?
- Were you aware that hydrogen is a light, odorless gas, which, given enough time, turns into people.
- And did you know that all of the gold mined in the history of the world would more or less fit into a 20 x 20 x 20 meter cube.
From Wikipedia: A total of 165,000 tons of gold have been mined in human history, as of 2009.1 This is roughly equivalent to 5.3 billion troy ounces or, in terms of volume, about 8,500 cubic meters, or a 20.4m cube.
- Finally, consider this. There are more atoms in a single glass of water, than glasses of water in all the oceans of the Earth.
Now retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida with his wife Robin he spends his time advocating for patients with end stage diseases and for organ recipients. He is also active in helping his wife with her art business at art festivals and on her Rockin Robin Prints site on Etsy.
Bob is a former journalist, Governor’s Communication Director and international communications consultant.