Local Real Estate Comments and Ramblings


At the speed of light .... with the windows down!

Are you smarter than a fifth grader? ... I want to give full credit that the inspiration for his came from my 11 year old son.

We were riding in the car the other day and Ryan asked me

Q: "What is the speed of light?"
 I could tell that he knew the answer and was going somewhere with the question.... I think it's 186,000 per second, I answered.  Correct!  

Q: "So how far is a light year?"  

Again I could tell that he knew the answer so I said  "That is the distance that light will travel in one year".  

Well my answer was technically correct but he was looking for the actual number in terms of how many miles would be traveled in one light year.  

He told me the answer and went on to make a point   .... but, before I share the wisdom of an 11 year old let me illustrate

Imagine with me that have your very own spaceship parked in the driveway and that you can actually travel at the speed of light!


Flickr creative commons by Brent and MariLynn

photo:Flickr Creative Commons by Brent and MariLynn

Ok now here is where you really have to use your imagination.  :-)    .... You and Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and a few of your rich friends decide that it would be cool to ride around with the windows down and throw dollar  bills out in to space.  $1 for every mile travelled!  I know that your arms will be spinning and you'll get tired real fast throwing all that money in to outer space but like I said ... just imagine it.

So here is how it will work.  

In the just about the blink of an eye you'll be to the moon and only out of pocket just a little over $200,000.  That's just pocket change and your arms are doing just fine.  

In about 5 minutes or so you are going to pass the planet Mars and be out about $60 Million.  Ok, now it is starting to seem like it's real money.  This is getting serious.

In another half hour or so you pass Jupiter and in about an hour you pass Saturn.  At his point you are out about $750 million.  

In a couple of more hours you have left our solar system and you're heading out in the reaches of the Milky Way.  Bill and Warren are still there, but man they are really sweating it now!

After a couple of days Bill and Warren are homeless and broke while you are still "boldly going where no man has gone before" ... still with the windows down and at $186,000 per second.

And your journey continues for 1 entire year!  You now have traveled the distance of 1 light year! Our sun will still be quite visible since the next closest star is still another 3 light  years away, but it will look more like a really bright star and you certainly won't see any of the planets.
Back to the point my son was making:

Q: So how far is a light year?  In miles?
I don't know I can't do the math in my head on that one!

A: About 6 Trillion miles

And then my 11 year old told me this.....  

Did you know that if you traveled at the speed of light and spent $1 every mile for an entire light year you still would have spent less than the national debt.

Hold that thought son because I'm sorry to say that most of that debt will fall on your shoulders.

The national debt is about 11.3 Trillion right now.  By most estimates it is going to reach $12 trillion by the end of this year.

I guess that we need to make that space trip a round trip if you want to catch up with congress!

How about it Congress?  Are you smarter than a 5th grader?



Bob Southard, e-Pro, Realtor ®, Solid Source Realty, Inc. Buy a home, Sell a home, in Powder Springs, Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Dallas, Hiram,and Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, North Fulton, South Cherokee, County, Ga. Call me for all of your real estate needs.

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Buy a home, Sell a home, in Powder Springs, Marietta, Kennesaw, Acworth, Smyrna, Dallas, Hiram,and Cobb, Paulding, Douglas, North Fulton, South Cherokee, County, Ga. Call me for all of your real estate needs.

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Comment balloon 5 commentsBob Southard • May 14 2009 03:40PM


If I had to put money on congress I know I would lose all the way around!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 11 years ago

Smart kid!  And I miss that show.  I wonder if it's coming back...

Posted by Donna Harris, Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator (Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com) over 11 years ago

Bob - your son appears to understand somethings. What a fantastic analogy.

Posted by Mike Saunders (Lanier Partners) over 11 years ago

William - Thanks for th ecomment.  Amen to that.  Nobody can spend it better than congress!


Donna - thanks.  I'm not a Trekkie at all but it seemed to fit :-)


Mike- He is quite advanced.  The analagy helped me a lot.  Congress thorows around "trillions" and I don't think people comprehend how much it is.

Posted by Bob Southard, e-Pro - Cobb, Cherokee, North Fulton (Atlas Realty Service, LLC) over 11 years ago


That's a good analogy; your son gets to ingerit this mess too. Jeez!

Posted by Terry Chenier (Homelife Glenayre Realty) over 11 years ago

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