3 to 2 odds that it isn't tobacco they're smoking.
Gary Larson was a genius. But that isn't a Gary Larson drawing. It's a still from The Simpsons. But the main thing is, 99% of you know what the caption is supposed to be.
The Far Side ranks right up there next to Calvin and Hobbes in terms of greatness. Todays comic strips don't quite reach the level of those two. As I stated in a previous post, Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine and Dilbert all come close. But, in my eyes at least, the oldies reign supreme. (I have to give a nod to Bloom County since I'm talking comic strips)
Some of you remember the days when the oldies were in the paper. Those of you who are younger are asking yourselves, "What's a paper?". While there are still newspapers out there, their popularity has diminished. That's something I regret.
Getting home from work and reading the paper was something I enjoyed. Sure, by todays standards, the news was old. But we didn't have the internet then. You got your news from the paper, the TV or the radio. And the paper was where you got the in-depth news. As a child I read the paper. (I've always had a rampant curiosity)
So what do newspapers and comic strips have to do with todays subject? Nothing. Except they are from a bygone time. And time is todays subject.
Time is something people don't understand. And that's understandable, because time is very complicated. For example, time is actually a measurement of distance.
But that's not what I'm talking about today. Today, I'm going to attempt to demonstrate the span of time. Since we, as humans, live for such a short span of time, we have trouble comprehending the amount of time involved in things.
Let's use dinosaurs as todays example.
The last dinosaurs died off 65 million years ago. (ignore birds. they aren't dinosaurs. they evolved from dinosaurs) How long is 65 million years? A long time. A very long time. How long? Well, modern humans have only been around for about 100,000 years. Look out your window. See any mountains? They weren't there 65 million years ago.
What was here, though were Tyrannosaurus Rex's. Big, mean, hungry and with chronic halitosis. Also a very well know dinosaur. There are 65 million years separating T-Rex's and humans.
How long is that? Well, if we use 75 as the average lifespan of humans, it's 866,666 human lifetimes. Let's put that into a little perspective. Let's say the pyramids in Egypt are 5,000 years old, and we use the same average lifespan of 75 years, that means only 67 human lives separate us from the pyramids.
And, how long sis the dinosaurs exist? They first appeared 235 million years ago. (3,133,333 lifespans). It took 35 million years from the time they first appeared before they were the dominant species.
One of the more familiar dinosaurs from that time would be the Stegosaurus. They first appeared about 155 million years ago. (2,066,666 lifespans). They became extinct about 140 million years ago. (1,866,666 life spans).
The Tyrannosaur didn't appear until 70 million years ago. (933,333 lifespans).
So, where am I going with this? 70 million years separated the last Stegosaurus from the first Tyrannosaurus. That's longer than the time that separates the last Tyrannosaur from the first human.
And the Stegosaur was a long way from the first dinosaurs.
So, next time you're waiting for some slow red light, remember what time is. It's meaningless in the long run. After all, time is just how we measure the distance the Earth rotates.
For a bit more perspective, I'm going to use my fossil of some Nemiana Simplex from the Archean period. It's 650 million years old, and one of the oldest fossils I own. I'd use my stromatolite, but it's aged at 1 billion to 1.5 billion years old. That's a huge margin of error for this example. That 650 million years translates to 8,666,667 life spans.