A minute is a funny amount of time. It’s long enough to notice—reading this article will take just about a minute—but it’s too short to do much of anything with. There are famously only about five hundred thousand of them in a year.
But when you add all of humanity together, a lot starts to happen in that lowly minute. Here at The Atlantic, we did some calculations and consulted research, and—as you’ll see in the video above—a minute of life on Earth is almost unbelievably full of life. Before the second hand of a clock completes one rotation:
25 Americans will get a passport, according to the U.S. Department of State.
58 airplanes will take off around the world, according to the International Air Traffic Association.
116 people will get married, according to data from the United Nations and some Excel handiwork.
144 people will move to a new home, according to Gallup.
11,319 packages will be delivered by UPS, according to UPS.
83,300 people will have sex, according to the (offline) Atlas of Human Sexual Behavior.
243,000 photos will be uploaded to Facebook, according to Facebook.
5,441,400 pounds of garbage will be created, according to the World Bank.
136,824,00 pounds of carbon dioxide will be released into the atmosphere as a byproduct of burning fossil fuels, according to the CIA World Factbook.
7,150,000,000 human hearts (according to the United States Census Bureau) will beat…
500,500,000,000 times, according to the American Heart Association, as their bodies create…
858,282,240,000,000,000 new red blood cells, according to the National Institutes of Health.
In this project, Sam Price-Waldman and I were inspired by XKCD’s recent comic on the frequency of the universe and Jason Kottke’s exploration of the frequency of humanity. So much happens in a second, we thought—let’s see what happens in a minute.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.