Razor Thin: A New Perspective on Earth's Atmosphere
Connect with us

Misc

Razor Thin: A New Perspective on Earth’s Atmosphere

Published

on

Earth's Atmosphere

Can I share this graphic?
Yes. Visualizations are free to share and post in their original form across the web—even for publishers. Please link back to this page and attribute Visual Capitalist.
When do I need a license?
Licenses are required for some commercial uses, translations, or layout modifications. You can even whitelabel our visualizations. Explore your options.
Interested in this piece?
Click here to license this visualization.

Razor Thin: A New Perspective on Earth’s Atmosphere

Earth is the only known planet that sustains life. Its atmosphere provides us with oxygen, protects us from the Sun’s radiation, and creates the barometric pressure needed so water stays liquid on our planet.

But while Earth’s atmosphere stretches for about 10,000 km (6,200 miles) above the planet’s surface, only a thin layer is actually habitable.

This graphic, inspired by Andrew Winter, shows just how small Earth’s “habitable zone” is, using the state of Florida as a point of reference.

Earth’s Like an Onion: It Has Layers

Our planet’s atmosphere is made up of a unique cocktail of gases—roughly 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen, with trace amounts of water, argon, carbon dioxide, and other gases.

It’s separated into five different layers:

  • Exosphere: The uppermost layer of our atmosphere that melds into outer space.
  • Thermosphere: Begins at around 80 km (50 miles) above sea level and extends to approximately 600 km (372 miles), reaching temperatures as high as 2,000°C (3,600°F).
  • Mesosphere: Around 30 km (19 miles) in range, meteors burn as they pass through this layer, creating “shooting stars.”
  • Stratosphere: Home to the ozone layer, which is responsible for absorbing a majority of the sun’s radiation.
  • Troposphere: The closest layer to ground. It stretches about 7–15 kilometers (5–10 miles) from the surface.

The troposphere makes up approximately 75-80% of the atmosphere’s mass, as it’s where most of the dust, ash, and water vapor are stored. But only a part of this layer is suitable for human life—in fact, the atmosphere’s habitable zone is so small, several mountain ranges extend beyond it.

Reaching Into Earth’s Atmosphere: Extremely High Altitudes

Elevations above 5,500 meters (18,000 ft) are considered extremely high altitude and require special equipment and/or acclimatization in order to survive. Even then, those who choose to venture to extreme heights run the risk of getting altitude sickness.

When it comes to the world’s tallest mountain ranges, the Himalayas are the highest. At their peak, Mount Everest, the Himalayas reach 8,848 m (29,000 ft) above sea level.

Mountain rangeHighest mountainHeightCountries
HimalayasMount Everest8,848 mNepal, China
KarakoramK28,611 mPakistan
Hindu KushTirich Mir7,708 mPakistan
Kongur ShanKongur Tagh7,649 mChina
Daxue MountainsMount Gongga7,556 mChina
Pamir MountainsIsmoil Somoni Peak7,495 mTajikistan
Kakshaal TooJengish Chokusu7,439 mChina, Kyrgyzstan
Nyenchen Tanglha MountainsGyala Peri7,294 mChina
AndesAconcagua6,960 mArgentina
Kunlun MountainsChakragil6,760 mChina
Cordillera de la RamadaMercedario6,720 mArgentina
Tian ShanXuelian Feng6,627 mChina
Hindu RajBuni Zom6,542 mPakistan
Cordillera OccidentalChimborazo6,263 mEcuador
Alaska RangeDenali6,191 mUSA
Saint Elias MountainsMount Logan5,959 mCanada
Eastern Rift mountainsMount Kilimanjaro5,895 mTanzania
Sierra Nevada de Santa MartaPico Cristóbal Colón5,700 mColombia
Caucasus MountainsMount Elbrus5,642 mRussia
Trans-Mexican Volcanic BeltPico de Orizaba5,636 mMexico
AlborzMount Damavand5,610 mIran
Yun RangeJade Dragon Snow Mountain5,596 mChina
Bogda ShanBogda Peak5,445 mChina
Cordillera OrientalRitacuba Blanco5,410 mColombia
Armenian HighlandsMount Ararat5,137 mTurkey
Rwenzori MountainsMount Stanley5,109 mCongo, Uganda

Despite the dangers of extreme altitude, hundreds of mountaineers attempt to climb Mount Everest each year. On Everest, the region above 8,000 m (26,000 feet) is referred to as the “death zone,” and climbers have to bring bottled oxygen on their trek in order to survive.

Life Beyond Earth

Earth is the only known planet with an atmosphere we can survive in. And even on Earth, certain areas are considered dead zones.

But there may be other life forms out in the galaxy that we haven’t discovered. Recent research in The Astrophysical Journal predicts there are at least 36 intelligent civilizations throughout the galaxy today.

So life may very well exist beyond Earth. It just might look a bit different than we’re used to.

Click for Comments

Misc

Which Countries Have the Most Similar Values?

Where you’re from greatly influencers how you view the world. Here’s a look at the core values in 94 different countries.

Published

on

Country Values

Which Countries Value the Same Things?

Our culture can have significant impacts on our belief systems and our values.

In fact, research has shown that our cultural influences can rewire our brains, which can impact our visual perceptions and how we view the world around us.

Because of this, where we’re from can greatly influence what we prioritize in life. This graphic by Anders Sundell illustrates the primary values of 94 different countries, and highlights which places share similar values.

Methodology

Sundell used data from the World Values Survey, an international survey that interviews hundreds of thousands of participants from across the globe.

For the purposes of this graphic, Sundell focused on one specific section of the survey that asked respondents to rate various aspects of their life on a scale of one (very important) to four (not important at all). Six aspects were included: family, friends, leisure time, politics, work, and religion.

From there, Sundell calculated the median score for each country and identified their primary value, then grouped them based on their similarities. On this netgraph, each country is connected to three other countries that share the most similar values.

Generally speaking, countries that prioritize friends and leisure are concentrated on the far left of the graphic, whereas countries that value religion and work fall more to the right.

Each Country’s Primary Values

Interestingly, family came first for all 94 countries—except Indonesia, where religion was considered most important.

Because of this, Sundell identified each country’s primary value besides family, which was much more diverse across the board:

Abbr.CountryContinentPrimary Value (Exc. Family)
AL🇦🇱 AlbaniaEuropeWork
AD🇦🇩 AndorraEuropeLeisure
AR🇦🇷 ArgentinaSouth AmericaWork
AM🇦🇲 ArmeniaAsiaWork
AU🇦🇺 AustraliaOceaniaFriends
AT🇦🇹 AustriaEuropeFriends
AZ🇦🇿 AzerbaijanAsiaWork
BD🇧🇩 BangladeshAsiaReligion
BY🇧🇾 BelarusEuropeWork
BO🇧🇴 BoliviaSouth AmericaWork
BA🇧🇦 Bosnia and HerzegovinaEuropeWork
BR🇧🇷 BrazilSouth AmericaWork
BG🇧🇬 BulgariaEuropeWork
CA🇨🇦 CanadaNorth AmericaLeisure
CL🇨🇱 ChileSouth AmericaLeisure
CN🇨🇳 ChinaAsiaWork
CO🇨🇴 ColombiaSouth AmericaWork
HR🇭🇷 CroatiaEuropeWork
CY🇨🇾 CyprusEuropeFriends
CZ🇨🇿 Czech RepublicEuropeFriends
DK🇩🇰 DenmarkEuropeFriends
EC🇪🇨 EcuadorSouth AmericaWork
EG🇪🇬 EgyptAfricaReligion
EE🇪🇪 EstoniaEuropeFriends
ET🇪🇹 EthiopiaAfricaReligion
FI🇫🇮 FinlandEuropeLeisure
FR🇫🇷 FranceEuropeWork
GE🇬🇪 GeorgiaAsiaWork
DE🇩🇪 GermanyEuropeFriends
GH🇬🇭 GhanaAfricaWork
GR🇬🇷 GreeceEuropeWork
GT🇬🇹 GuatemalaNorth AmericaWork
HT🇭🇹 HaitiNorth AmericaWork
HK🇭🇰 Hong KongAsiaFriends
HU🇭🇺 HungaryEuropeFriends
IS🇮🇸 IcelandEuropeFriends
IN🇮🇳 IndiaAsiaWork
ID🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsiaReligion
IR🇮🇷 IranAsiaWork
IQ🇮🇶 IraqAsiaReligion
IT🇮🇹 ItalyEuropeWork
JP🇯🇵 JapanAsiaLeisure
JO🇯🇴 JordanAsiaReligion
KZ🇰🇿 KazakhstanAsiaWork
KW🇰🇼 KuwaitAsiaReligion
KG🇰🇬 KyrgyzstanAsiaFriends
LB🇱🇧 LebanonAsiaWork
LY🇱🇾 LibyaAfricaReligion
LT🇱🇹 LithuaniaEuropeWork
MO🇲🇴 MacaoAsiaFriends
MY🇲🇾 MalaysiaAsiaReligion
MX🇲🇽 MexicoNorth AmericaWork
ME🇲🇪 MontenegroEuropeWork
MA🇲🇦 MoroccoAfricaReligion
MM🇲🇲 MyanmarAsiaReligion
NL🇳🇱 NetherlandsEuropeFriends
NZ🇳🇿 New ZealandOceaniaFriends
NI🇳🇮 NicaraguaNorth AmericaWork
NG🇳🇬 NigeriaAfricaReligion
MK🇲🇰 North MacedoniaEuropeWork
NO🇳🇴 NorwayEuropeFriends
PK🇵🇰 PakistanEuropeReligion
PE🇵🇪 PeruSouth AmericaWork
PH🇵🇭 PhilippinesAsiaWork
PL🇵🇱 PolandEuropeWork
PT🇵🇹 PortugalEuropeWork
PR🇵🇷 Puerto RicoNorth AmericaWork
QA🇶🇦 QatarAsiaReligion
RO🇷🇴 RomaniaEuropeWork
RU🇷🇺 RussiaAsiaFriends
RW🇷🇼 RwandaAfricaFriends
RS🇷🇸 SerbiaEuropeFriends
SG🇸🇬 SingaporeAsiaFriends
SK🇸🇰 SlovakiaEuropeWork
SI🇸🇮 SloveniaEuropeWork
ZA🇿🇦 South AfricaAfricaWork
KR🇰🇷 South KoreaAsiaFriends
ES🇪🇸 SpainEuropeWork
SE🇸🇪 SwedenEuropeFriends
CH🇨🇭 SwitzerlandEuropeFriends
TW🇹🇼 TaiwanAsiaWork
TJ🇹🇯 TajikistanAsiaReligion
TH🇹🇭 ThailandAsiaWork
TT🇹🇹 Trinidad and TobagoSouth AmericaReligion
TN🇹🇳 TunisiaAfricaReligion
TR🇹🇷 TurkeyAsiaFriends
UA🇺🇦 UkraineEuropeWork
GB🇬🇧 United KingdomEuropeFriends
US🇺🇸 United StatesNorth AmericaFriends
UY🇺🇾 UruguaySouth AmericaWork
UZ🇺🇿 UzbekistanAsiaWork
VN🇻🇳 VietnamAsiaWork
YE🇾🇪 YemenAsiaReligion
ZW🇿🇼 ZimbabweAfricaWork

After family, work was the most valued, with 46 different countries identifying it as their second-highest priority. Friends came second, followed by religion, and then lastly, leisure.

Work

Almost half of the countries on the list perceive work as the most important aspect of their lives, apart from family.

South American countries, in particular, put an emphasis on work, with seven of nine South American countries valuing work over friends and politics. The only outliers on the continent were Chile (leisure), and Trinidad and Tobago (religion).

Friends

Friends were identified as a top priority in 25 of the 94 countries on the list. Europe in particular valued friendship, especially in Norway and Sweden.

While these Nordic countries prioritize their existing friendships, research shows that they aren’t generally keen on making new ones. A global survey found that expats in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark found it extremely difficult to make new friends.

Religion

18 of the 94 countries ranked religion as a top value.

These countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, are predominantly Islamic except for a few. For instance, in Trinidad and Tobago, the largest religious group is Christianity.

Leisure

Only five countries on the list ranked leisure as a top priority—Japan, Canada, Andorra, Chile, and Finland. Finland takes leisure seriously. Its capital, Helsinki, was recognized as the number one city in the world for work-life balance. And Canada’s capital, Ottawa, ranked sixth on the ranking.

Continue Reading

Misc

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality

The world isn’t as it seems—here are some of the most important cognitive biases that are messing with how you think the world works, and why.

Published

on

We are each entitled to our own personal world view.

But unfortunately, when it comes to interpreting information and trying to make objective sense of reality, human brains are hard-wired to make all kinds of mental mistakes that can impact our ability to make rational judgments.

In total, there are over 180 cognitive biases that interfere with how we process data, think critically, and perceive reality.

Flawed Human Reasoning

There is no simple way to get around these basic human instincts, but one thing that we can do is understand the specific mistakes we make and why.

Today’s infographic comes to us from School of Thought, a non-profit dedicated to spreading critical thinking. The graphic describes 24 of the key biases that warp our sense of reality, providing useful examples along the way.

24 Cognitive Biases That Are Warping Your Perception of Reality

At the beginning of the infographic, you may have noticed illustrations of two gentlemen.

In case you were wondering, those happen to represent Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, two of the leading social scientists known for their contributions to this field. Not only did they pioneer work around cognitive biases starting in the late 1960s, but their partnership also resulted in a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002.

Biases Distorting Reality

Here are some of the biases we found most interesting from the list:

Declinism:
You remember the past as better than it was, and expect the future to be worse than it is likely to be. This is an interesting one, since statistically this is one of the most peaceful and prosperous times in history—yet the 24-hour news cycle rarely reflects this. (For a good example how the world is improving, see these six charts)

Just World Hypothesis:
Your preference for a just world makes you presume that it exists. Of course, it’s much more uncomfortable to think that the world is unfair, but by understanding this you will make more accurate judgments about people and situations.

Belief Bias
If a conclusion supports your existing beliefs, you’ll rationalize anything that supports it. In other words, instead of willingly looking at new information, we are primed to defend our own ideas without actually questioning them.

Framing Effect:
Context and delivery can have a big impact on how a story is interpreted. We must have the humility to recognize that we can be manipulated, and work to limit the effect that framing has on our critical thinking.

The Curse of Knowledge
Ever try to explain something you know intricately and have worked on for many years? It’s hard, because you’ve internalized everything you’ve learned, and now you forget how to explain it. This bias is similar—you know something inside and out, and what is obvious to you is not to others.

Reactance:
Sometimes we all get the urge to do the opposite of what we’re told. Nobody likes being constrained. The only problem is that when we’re in this situation, there is a tendency to overreact and to throw any logic out of the window.

Spotlight Effect:
Because we each live inside our own heads, our natural focus is on what we’re thinking and doing. We project this onto others, and we overestimate how much they notice about how we look or how we act.

Want to see more on cognitive biases? Here are 188 of them in one infographic.

Continue Reading

Subscribe

Popular