Each year around this time we like to take stock of the size of the awesome Zooniverse population of volunteers. Last year we celebrated the fact that there were 740,000 of you. That number has swelled to 890,000 now – despite us making it easier and easier for anyone to take part without signing up for a Zooniverse account! At the exact time of writing zooniverse.org reported 891,493 of you – which is actually a prime number . It’s also the colour code for a lovely shade of purple.
You’re based all over the world, in fact our web stats show that you literally come from every country in the world! However you are mostly located in the USA, UK, Canada, Poland and other Western nations. That means that you likely have quite a large combined carbon footprint. If you’re all typical North Americans then you produce about 20 tons of CO2 each every year. From some other nations if might be only about 5 tons. So collectively you’re producing somewhere between 4 and 18 million tons of CO2 each year. Crikey.
Never mind your carbon footprint – what about your actual dimensions as a group of people? It’s pretty hard to visualise that many people. If you all stood on each others shoulders you’d reach more than 1,500 km (~970 miles) into the sky. Of course then many of would be crushed under the community’s weight so instead let’s lie you end-to-end. At nearly 1,000 miles it would take light about 5 ms to travel along the line and it’s almost as far as the Proclaimers would be willing to walk to fall down at your door.
More acrobatically, if we made you all into a human pyramid then you’d tower 1.3 miles above the surface of the Earth. If you we stacked you into an actual pyramid (square-based) then rather spectacularly you’d be about the same size as the Great Pyramid of Giza. In fact the Great Pyramid is a bit squat, so you’d have the same size footprint in the sand, but would be nearly twice as tall.
We used to measure you by the number of stadiums that you would fill. At 890,000 you’re now much bigger than the world’s largest stadium, Rungnado May Day Stadium in North Korea, which can hold up to 150,000 people. You’d occupy almost 10 Wembley Stadiums, and more than 21 Wrigley Fields.
World religions is a potential way to measure you – though many are quite massive. There are literally billions of Christians, for example. There are, however, more Zooniverse volunteers in the world than Rastafarians or Unitarian Universalists. Though you can’t stand against the Vatican, there are several countries you measure up to. For example at 890,000 you outnumber the people of Cyprus (865,000), Fiji (858,000), and Montenegro (620,000). You’re miles ahead of some smaller nations, including Luxembourg (537,000), Malta (416,000), and Iceland (325,000).
Of course, if you compare us to the armies of the world, things look much better for the Zooniverse. In fact there are only 5 armies larger than us – China (2.2 million), USA (1.4 million), India (1.3 million), North Korea (1.1 million), and Russia (1 million). Does all this mean that we need a flag?!
Finally, let’s get gross. 890,000 people is an awful lot. You collectively shed about 6 kg of skin cells every day. That’s 6 kg of material left to bob around in our atmosphere and to be vacuumed up from the world’s household surfaces. Nicely done, everybody.
I wonder what number I’l be calculating these stats for next year. I’m excited to find out!
[This post is part of the 2013 Zooniverse Advent Calendar]