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Mathematical Equations
This We Know : Matters of Fact

« What Don't We Know? | This We Know # 7

Matters of Fact

By Tom Evans

Over 250 million Tweets are posted each day on Twitter. One in every thirteen people on Earth is on Facebook. People spend over 700 billion Earth minutes per month on the site.

When it comes to discovering facts, humans are masters at it.

We know with some accuracy that the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second. Note though that is not true in all circumstances across the whole Universe — and all time.

You only have to go 93 million miles from our planet, into the centre of the Sun, where light speed slows down to a snail’s pace. It’s thought light generated inside the Sun takes anything from 10,000 to 100,000 years to reach the surface.

Even on Earth itself, light in the water in your own bath tub slows down by 1.333 times from its speed in the vacuum of space.

Perhaps unlike any other species on the planet, we are equipped not only with this ability to discover facts. We also the possess the ability to change them.

We take it as fact that there are 7 billion people on the planet and that, by 2050, this will rise to 9 billion or more.

The jury is still out on this but imagine if we all agreed that it was a ‘fact’ that this growth was unsustainable.

We could all agree that 7 billion people were quite enough and we should do something about balancing birth and death rates.

All it would take is world leaders to convene and agree to start education programmes in their countries. The Catholic Church would have to change its ludicrous doctrine on the non-use of condoms. Members of the Twitterati and the huge ‘virtual country’ which is Facebook would start tweeting and poking their thoughts on the matter. The message would circle the globe at something approaching the speed of light.

Some would do their bit to control their breeding voluntarily. Others would need to be educated, incentivised or cajoled. It is a fact that one billion Chinese have already had a go at this.

This would not limit life for humans on Earth but help sustain the species. Every 100 years or so there would be 7 billion New People experiencing life on this wonderful planet.

Never before in history have we been in a better position to come to global consensus on matters of fact that affect us all.

Now, of course, it could well be that the planet can support 70 billion people or more.

For this to be viable, we would simply have to learn some new facts about how to do this without upsetting the rest of the interconnected biosphere.

Note too that recently some scientists may have discovered things that go faster than light. Other scientists have then challenged these reports. Just possibly, all that is going on is for opinion to sway and the results then follow the collective thought pattern.

This we just don’t know — yet! •

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Tom EvansThis inspiring article is serialized from the ebook This We Know © 2012 Tom Evans. All rights reserved. More »