License Plate Tectonics

So I applied my new registration sticker to my license plate today. Like a lot of lazy people, I usually just wipe the dust off the sticker from the previous year and stick the new one on top of it. I’ve been doing this for the last ten years, leaving me with a sticker stack about 1mm thick.

Then I got to wondering what would happen if I started applying stickers say, 4.54 billion years ago at the time the Earth was formed. How big of a sticker stack would I have?

If each sticker is about 1/10th of a millimeter, 4.54 billion stickers would give me a sticker stack that’s 454 kilometers (282 miles) thick, which is roughly the driving distance between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. In other words, in order to apply a new registration sticker to my car that’s parked in Los Angeles, I would have to rent another car and drive for five hours through the desert before I reached the end of the stack.

A lot of crazy stuff can happen on the drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, just as a lot of even crazier stuff can happen in 4.54 billion years.


2017-03-16T17:33:14+00:00 01.30.17|curious, interesting, random|3 Comments


  1. Vinay March 25, 2017 at 11:05 am - Reply


  2. Christopher Worth January 26, 2018 at 3:20 am - Reply

    I love your Solar System distance chart. I also saw that your last name is Worth( with an o not an i) and thought it might be fun to let you know I’ve been performing a show on Solar System science for elementary school kids for about thirty five years now called Birthday to Birthday.
    I write a lot of kid songs about science and nature.Given the (slightly) whimsical nature of your stuff I thought you might enjoy the latest one. A friend of mine send me a list of animal group names with a cover photo of a “tower of giraffes” I’m sending you the link for my attempt at imparting totally useless information, except, of course the entertainment value, to young minds.
    In any case, again thanks for that great ride through 99.9999999999999999999954% empty space.

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