The Jeff Wise Blog

Snowfall as a Way to Visualize Death

Looking out my window last night at this winter’s umpteenth flurry, something about the fading light and the softness of the oblivion as the little flakes settled into the sidewalk and instantly melted turned my thoughts to mortality. I wondered, how does this snowfall compare to the overall death rate of the human race?

With a little searching around, I found an estimate of the overall death rate of the world’s human population: 155,000 a day, or 6548 per hour. I guesstimated that about 2 flakes were falling per square foot per second, or about 120 per minute, or 7200 per hour.

That means that as I look out my window, I can imagine that for every flake settling onto a flagstone in my back garden, some person somewhere is passing away.

Filed under: Mortality

Thinking About Fear & the Brain

If I find myself in a severe crisis, will I be able to keep it together? How can I control anxiety and panic? Is it possible to lead a life less bounded by fear? These are the sorts of questions that I'll be exploring in this blog, an offshoot of my book, Extreme Fear: The Science of Your Mind in Danger, published on December 8, 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan.

Video Introduction

Also by Jeff Wise