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Friday, March 26, 2010

Light Speed to Oblivion

In a previous post I said that the country was heading into debt at light speed. You know, light moves pretty fast. When you talk about the speed of light you quickly move into some mighty big numbers. When you talk about the national debt, you also quickly move into some pretty big numbers.

Our national debt is a little over 12.5 trillion dollars. Click on the debt clock and you'll see the numbers are continually going up. I dunno about yall, but it's hard for me to get my arms around a sum as large as 12.5 trillion.

I decided to do a little playing around with numbers to see if I could gain a better understanding. Let's pretend that we could take our national debt and convert each dollar into a statute mile.......12.5 trillion miles! Wow! How far is that?

Well, it's about 23.5 million miles to our closest planet, Venus, when Venus is at it's closest point to us.........heck that's just a drop in the bucket compared to 12.5 trillion. It's 93 million miles from here to the sun.......another drop in the bucket.

It's about 5.6 billion miles across our solar system if you consider the orbit of Neptune (sorry Pluto) to be the edge. 5.6 billion miles is pretty far. If we could fill a space ship with our national debt and get a mile of travel out of each dollar, we could travel back and forth across our solar system about 2240 times before we'd run out of fuel........whew! That's a long long way folks.

(I know that a region beyond the Kuiper belt is actually the true edge, but I wanted to keep it simple for the people in Rio Linda.)

If we took our solar system trips at the speed of 25000 miles per hour (Earth's escape velocity), it would take us a little over 57,000 years to make all the trips before the fuel ran out.

What if we had a ship that would travel at light speed? Light moves pretty fast, about 186,000 miles per second. We can make it to the moon in a little over a second. We can make it to the sun in a little over 8 minutes. I calculated that we could make our 2240 solar system excursions in about 2.1 years at light speed.......finally we'd run out of money....oops fuel.

I was relieved to see that we still could not make it to our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, with our allotted fuel supply. This simply accounts for the vastness of space and time. It's nice to know that there are a few things left in the universe bigger than our national debt....but at this rate I don't figure that will last too long.

All I know is that 12.5 trillion is a big big big number. If we don't get rid of the liars, crooks, and thugs in Warshington soon, we're all gonna be in deep doodie.

I thought I'd leave you with a picture that would make you smile.


  1. Better command: All PORT weapons... FIRE! Port is to the LEFT.

  2. Frightening.

    Right Truth

  3. Actually, the national debt is not $12.5 trillion. The national debt as of 4/1/2010 is $12.6 QUADRILLION.
    To confirm, go to http://www.treasurydirect.gov/NP/BPDLogin?application=np and you will find the following statistics:
    1. Current Debt Held by the Public-$8,200,073,493,391.96
    2. Intragovernmental Holdings-$4,484,497,403,388.84
    3. Total Public Debt Outstanding: $12,684,570,896,780.80

  4. Quadrillion? I must have missed a few zeros.