Fold a piece of paper in half 103 times, and its wider than the observable universe.
this is due to exponential growth; the increase in previous thickness is doubled each time you fold the piece of paper again. physically you could probably only fold a piece of paper about 7 - 8 times on your own.
Given a paper large enough—and enough energy—you can fold it as many times as you want. If you fold it 103 times, the thickness of your paper will be larger than the observable Universe; 93 billion light-years distance.
How can a 0.0039-inch-thick paper get to be as thick as the Universe?
The answer is simple: Exponential growth. The average paper thickness in 1/10th of a millimeter (0.0039 inches.) If you perfectly fold the paper in half, you will double its thickness.
Folding the paper in half a third time will get you about the thickness of a nail.
Seven folds will be about the thickness of a notebook of 128 pages.
10 folds and the paper will be about the width of a hand.
23 folds will get you to one kilometer—3,280 feet.
30 folds will get you to space. Your paper will be now 100 kilometers high.
Keep folding it. 42 folds will get you to the Moon. With 51 you will burn in the Sun.
Now fast forward to 81 folds and your paper will be 127,786 light-years, almost as thick as the Andromeda Galaxy, estimated at 141,000 light-years across.
90 folds will make your paper 130.8 million light-years across, bigger than the Virgo Supercluster, estimated at 110 million light-years. The Virgo Supercluster contains the Local Galactic Group—with Andromeda and our own Milky Way—and about 100 other galaxy groups.
And finally, at 103 folds, you will get outside of the observable Universe, which is estimated at 93 billion light-years in diameters.
NASA engineers use origami as inspiration when they fold up solar panels for their trip to space. Shown here: the Miura fold. Once a piece of paper (or solar array) is all folded up, it can be completely unfolded in one smooth motion. You can read more about origami in space here, and learn how to do the Miura fold in this video:
Image: Astronaut Scott Parazynski repairs a damaged ISS solar panel (NASA)
British researchers have created the ‘new black’ of the science world - and it is being dubbed super black.
The material absorbs all but 0.035 per cent of light, a new world record, and is so dark the human eye struggles to discern its shape and dimension, giving the appearance of a black hole.
Named Vantablack, or super black, it also conducts heat seven and half times more effectively than copper, and is ten times stronger than steel.
It is created by Surrey NanoSystems using carbon nanotubes, which are 10,000 thinner than human hair and so miniscule that light cannot get in but can pass into the gaps in between.
Join me on a jazzy journey through Mister Rogers Neighborhood…
This morning I was reminded how much I love Mister Rogers (present tense), and how much that show influenced me as a kid. Fred made me the curious adult I am today. Well, Fred and Sesame Street, but I refuse to pick favorites.
I especially remember the above video, about how crayons are made. It must have had a hell of an impact to stick in my noggin after all these years, eh? But as awesome as the story of the classic Crayola 64-pack is (remember the built-in sharpener?), today I want to talk about the music.
I never realized it until now, but most of the “how it’s made” segments on Mister Rogers had no sound. That makes sense, because factories are horribly loud places and are a nightmare to film in. But listen to how the iconic Mister Rogers jazz soundtrack takes the place of sound effects! The clicks and whirrs are really just the drummer using brushes or percussion blocks. And the piano runs match the action so well!
Reminds me of the Dutch filmmaker Bert Haanstra, whose 1958 film Glas won the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. Glas features a bunch of glass-blowers doing their glass-blowing thing, but instead of live sound their motions are blended perfectly with a peppy, beat-driven jazz soundtrack. Watch it below and compare to Mister Rogers:
See the similarities? I wonder if the influence was intentional. The virtuoso pianist behind Mister Rogers iconic jazz arrangements was Mr. Johnny Costa, whose trio recorded the music live as the show was videotaped! It’s pretty progressive music for a children’s show, but I think by pushing the boundaries Rogers and Costa were able to create some really special experiences, and prove that kids have no problem enjoying complex creativity.
Here’s a short chat with Johnny Costa (man, those fingers!) about what it was like to work on Mister Rogers Neighborhood:
The size of North America compared to the Great Red Spot on Jupiter.
Great Red Spot, an enormous, long-lived storm system on the planet Jupiter and the most conspicuous feature of its visible cloud surface. It is generally reddish in colour and oval in shape, approximately 20,000 km long and 12,000 km wide (12,400 by 7,500 miles)—large enough to engulf Earth and Mars side by side.
How old do fish get? Today’s Smarter Every Day Infrographic helps understand!
Layers of the Grand Canyon: The Trail of Time
This morning I visited the Grand Canyon and along the trail that runs along the south rim there is a segment called “The Trail of Time.”, which showcases several different types of rock taken from the various layers of the Grand Canyon.
The first rock you encounter at the trailhead, also the oldest rock of the collection, called Elves Chasm gneiss (pronounced “nice”) is about 1,840 million years old, or 1.84 billion years old. As you move along the trail you see about 15 other rocks all in descending order of age until you finally come to the last one called Phantom granite, which is a mere 1.66 billion years old.
All photos were taken by me.