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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Media Trickery: Part 4

Lack of Comparison
When news writers hype, for example, the enormous figure of 580 billion pounds of CO2, they want to impress us with the unimaginable amount of what they regard as poison being kicked into the atmosphere. While they write extravagantly about the enormity of the amount of carbon dioxide that is vented into the air as in the above example, they make sure they do not write about the enormity of the whole atmosphere of the earth.

Think about the size of the atmosphere that surrounds the earth. A thirty-one mile deep layer, that contains 99% of all existing air, surrounds the earth’s surface that is a ball 24,900 miles around. That is a lot of air.

What is the weight of that air? It is about 5.5 quadrillion tons. That number is 55 with 14 zeros after it: 5,500,000,000,000,000 tons. So that is 11,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of air—11 with 18 zeros after it.

The 580,000,000,000 pounds of carbon dioxide mentioned above is just a very small part of the total air. 580 billion pounds of CO2 divided by 5.5 quadrillion tons of air is a very small number. Carbon dioxide is 0.0000053% of the total air in the atmosphere. Now that is small. For every molecule of CO2 in this example, there are 18,965,517 molecules of air.

So the above news writer threw around the large number of 580 billion pounds to impress us with enormity, but that amount is just a very small drop in a very large bucket. Now that puts things in perspective.

Well kids, that’s your science lesson for today. Al Gore and his climate change buddies didn’t want you to learn it because the mole hill is truly shown to be a mole hill when compared to the mountain.

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