Monday, December 24, 2018

Our Empty Earth

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds links to a story of a meteor fireball just west of San Francisco that was seen (and photographed} by many, and adds a comment I’d underscore.
“Fireballs aren’t rare; several thousand of them occur every day around the world, according to the AMS. But most of these dramatic meteors grace skies over the open ocean or thinly peopled tracts of land.” The Earth is emptier than we tend to realize.
Recent personal experiences reinforce Reynolds’ home truth. The Earth is very much emptier than we tend to realize.

Cruising for seven long days - at 500 miles per day - from Guam to Hawaii and seeing maybe one other ship the entire time. Or cruising up the Amazon 900 miles inland from the mouth to Manaus one sees little human activity.

Driving across northern Nevada noting hundreds of miles unused for anything, which we do twice a year, makes the same point. As does driving west across Kansas toward Denver - long distances, few people. The drive from Great Falls, MT, to Lethbridge, Alberta, is the same.

Much of lightly populated northern Canada is darned empty too. And how about the hundreds of miles of Russian boreal forest seen from a river cruise between St. Petersburg and Moscow?

We humans cluster in cities and then conclude the world is densely populated. The world isn’t densely populated; where we choose to congregate sometimes is.