We’ve evolved here on Earth, and for tens of thousands of years, we just thought the Earth is also the universe, or at least the most important and the biggest part of it. Our brains have been adapted to the basic survival needs. So we can deal with the moderately sized objects which have moderate velocity, and we can conceptualize small numbers like 1, 2, 50. But when the numbers get bigger than that, the problem begins: our puny brains cannot conceptualize them anymore. The larger a number grows, the harder it becomes to deal with. Take the age of the Earth, which is almost 4.6 billion years. We don’t have an intuitive sense of what this number means. But, visualization can help: we can better understand things if we visualize them. Author Andy Bergmann just did that. He created a Timeline of Earth to get a better sense of how key events relate in time over our planet’s 4.6 billion year history. It’s hard to get a sense of how vast it is until you can see it laid out visually.
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