One of the takeaways from this week’s disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner is this reality: it’s not a small world after all.
Rob Cockerham at the website Science Club has calculated how hard it is to find something the size of a jetliner in the expanse of the Indian Ocean. He writes today that he thought it would be like finding a needle at Disneyland. What he found is it’s a lot harder.
“Finding a jet in the Indian Ocean is equivalent to finding a two-foot toy plane in Texas,” he writes.
But that actually sounds doable. So he did more calculations.
“Imagine trying to find a sesame seed in Yosemite,” he says.
Or a grain of salt in San Francisco.
The width of a human hair in Manhattan.
A red blood cell at Burning Man.
Assuming it’s there at all, of course.