It is all a miracle … ‘bits of cosmic context’ … ‘I can echo the words of Ptolemy: “Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.” … ~ Mary Hrovat, from “This Year on Earth”
- Earth picked up about 40,000 metric tons of interplanetary material, mostly dust, much of it from comets.
- Earth lost around 96,250 metric tons of hydrogen and helium, the lightest elements, which escaped to outer space.
- Roughly 505,000 cubic kilometers of water fell on Earth’s surface as rain, snow, or other types of precipitation.
- Bristlecone pines, which can live for millennia, each gained perhaps a hundredth of an inch in diameter.
- Countless mayflies came and went.
- More than one hundred thirty-six million people were born in 2018, and more than fifty-seven million died.
- Tidal interactions are very slowly increasing the distance between Earth and the moon, which ended 2018 about 3.8 centimeters further apart than they were at the beginning. As a consequence, Earth is now rotating slightly more slowly; the day is a tiny fraction of a second longer.
- Earth and the sun are also creeping apart, by…
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