What would happen if everyone on earth stood as close to each other as they could and jumped, everyone landing on the ground at the same instant?
This crowd takes up an area the size of Rhode Island. But thereâ€™s no reason to use the vague phrase â€œan area the size of Rhode Islandâ€. This is our scenario; we can be specific. Theyâ€™re actually in Rhode Island.
Earth outweighs us by a factor of over ten trillion. On average, we humans can vertically jump maybe half a meter on a good day. Even if the Earth were rigid and responded instantly, it would be pushed down by less than an atomâ€™s width.
Next, everyone falls back to the ground.
Technically, this delivers a lot of energy into the Earth, but itâ€™s spread out over a large enough area that it doesnâ€™t do much more than leave footprints in a lot of gardens. A slight pulse of pressure spreads through the North American continental crust and dissipates with little effect. The sound of all those feet hitting the ground creates a loud, drawn-out roar which lasts many seconds.
Eventually, the air grows quiet.
Seconds pass. Everyone looks around.
the stick figure characters standing around. one says ‘why did we do that?’, another says ‘…is this rhode island?
There are a lot of uncomfortable glances. Someone coughs.
same standing stick figure characters. one says ‘I should get back to Dublin’, one says, in Hindi, ‘Where’s the airport?’
A cell phone comes out of a pocket. Within seconds, the rest of the worldâ€™s five billion phones follow. All of themâ€”even those compatible with the regionâ€™s towersâ€”are displaying some version of â€œNO SIGNALâ€. The cell networks have all collapsed under the unprecedented load.
Outside Rhode Island, abandoned machinery begins grinding to a halt.
The T. F. Green airport in Warwick, Rhode Island handles a few thousand passengers a day. Assuming they got things organized (including sending out scouting missions to retrieve fuel), they could run at 500% capacity for years without making a dent in the crowd.
But this isn’t even close to being over. Go to XKDC to find out more.