54 hair-width’s of change

In my life time, that’s how much the radius of the earth has changed, according to NASA.

The scientists estimated the average change in Earth’s radius to be 0.004 inches (0.1 millimeters) per year, or about the thickness of a human hair, a rate considered statistically insignificant.

I am sure you were waiting with bated breath for that bit of news!

I’m just wondering if that means 108 hair-widths for the diameter??



  1. d4v34x says:

    Also, if my Encyclopedia Brown Book of Weird and Wonderful Facts is to be believed, the moon is getting farther away.

    • Undoubtedly someone will come along to refute even this! The universe is an amazing place.

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  2. We discussed this important topic over dinner as a family today.

    One person wondered how we know that this hair width is not just a function of the wind blowing a particularly thick coating of dust on the date of measurement.

    Someone pointed out that since the earth is not perfectly spherical, it cannot be guaranteed that diameter = 2 * radius. Others questioned that assertion.

    There are questions of rounding/precision, and how appropriate it was for you to extrapolate without knowing how precise the 0.004 measurement was.

    My 11 year old raised the question of whether the rate has been consistent over 54 years, which gave me the opportunity to point out that you had fallen into the trap of uniformitarianism (which underpins evolution, though I didn’t take it that far).

    Also, we want to know if you are precisely 54 years, or if we should factor in a partial year as we try to calculate the diametrical change.

    There are questions over whether the annual change is an increase or decrease, whether it is constant, whether it might actually be an exponential change, whether it might increase one year and decrease the next in an oscillating pattern while averaging out to 0.004 per year, etc.

    I was able to draw two conclusions from the discussion. First, we can’t answer your question about the diameter, and second, our family has a PROBLEM.

    • Hilarious!

      Well, I am a bit over 54 years, by almost 4 months, but given the annual measurements, I think that difference would be statistically meaningless.

      Also note that I didn’t say 54 hair widths of increase or decrease but change. So it could have gone up or down in any given year and might be exactly the same today as my birthday.

      I think it is true that the radius could be different at different points in the earth, say, from the top of Mt Everest down as compared to the Top of the Dead Sea down… so your budding genii ask good questions!

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  3. d4v34x says:

    The Book of Wierd and Wonderful Facts also says that Earth is getting heavier, so I’m guessing the the diameter is increasing.

    That’s how sit seems to work with me, anyway.

    • Maybe that is a reflection of the obesity epidemic!

      Don Johnson
      Jer 33.3

  4. IF this is increasing by that much a year and IF we take the evolutionary presupposition of uniformitarianism, does this have any impact on the age/size of the earth according to evolutionists? My calculations were done very quickly and I could be doing this wrongly, but at an assumed age of 4.2 Billion years, an increase of .004 inches per year would seem to mean that the earth’s radius would have increased by 16.8 million inches over that time – which may not be insignificant.

    Just a quick thought – but I am tired, so I could be not thinking clearly.