Phoenix

COVID and climate change shrunk our world and will shape our actions

Visitors look at the Magic Planet, a digital video globe inside the new Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building 4 on Arizona State University's Tempe campus, on the day of its dedication, Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012. The $185 million building is the largest single research building at ASU, and the most expensive one to date, and houses some of the university's signature programs including the School of Earth & Science Exploration.

More than 2,000 years in the past, someplace close to the Mediterranean Sea, a mathematician named Eratosthenes used a shadow cast at midday on the equinox to calculate the circumference of the Earth. The answer he received was 28,735 miles.

In fashionable occasions, with the help of GPS models and satellites, scientists know the true answer to be 24,850 miles. Basic math hasn’t modified a lot since Eratosthenes’ day, and his conclusion was impressively shut. But since then, communication technology, international journey and particularly the COVID-19 pandemic have made the distance across the planet really feel a lot smaller.

Air journey can now transport a human across the world, by the ambiance shared by Earth’s 7.9 billion different people, in just some days. In 2020, it grew to become apparent that viruses could make that journey too.

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