A googol of geese

This doesn’t qualify as a challenge post, since there’s nothing empty about the featured image.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I just thought I’d pass on our encounter with a googol of snow geese at a refuge not far from Chico – one of the most memorable bird sightings of our lives.  You might especially appreciate the video, in the post of our ride to Llano Seco.

A googol, in case you didn’t know, is a very big number: 10 to the 100th power.  There aren’t really a googol of geese here, but there’s certainly many more than the usual gaggle.  As I understand it, Google got its name from this number, but they misspelled it.

also, I see that gaggle is the wrong term here anyway, as it apparently is only correct for a flock of geese walking around on the ground.  In the air, the correct term is skein.  Odd that I’ve never heard of a skein of geese before, but now we know.  I won’t make that mistake again.

Oh, wait.  Let’s make this a challenge submission after all.  Here’s three miles of emptiness, cycling away from the refuge:


This is just a placeholder for now. I’ll add a real description when I get more time.

12 response to "A googol of geese"

  1. By: BobinVT Posted: November 22, 2020

    The video is really amazing. And as to challenges, I think it was you who proposed the “Just Ride” challenge. I think you and Rocky definitely have that one covered.

    • By: Scooter Posted: November 22, 2020

      Thanks for the reminder. I’d forgotten about that cop-out challenge. I could have been posting all along this month.

  2. By: Suzanne Posted: November 22, 2020

    Oh my, googol, gaggle, skein and google! Almost as impressive as the picture of all those birds!

  3. By: gregblood Posted: November 22, 2020

    That’s a lot of geese. A googol of them, in fact.

    Little known fact: The word “googol” originated from the great Russian author, Nicolai Gogol, who knew exactly 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,
    000,000,000,000,000,000 Russian words. He used about 10,700 of them in his excellent satire, “The Inspector General,” alone.

    • By: Scooter Posted: November 22, 2020

      Interesting little known fact about Gogol, alright. It reminds me that there are were allegedly a googol of dead souls in Dead Souls. And great to get a visual of what a googol looks like, expanded out in base 10. I wonder what it would look like in hexadecimal?

    • By: Scooter Posted: November 22, 2020

      So, let’s think this through. If The Inspector General contains roughly 10 to the 4th words; and if a copy of a single volume weighs roughly roughly a pound; and if the weight of Planet Earth is roughly 10 to the 25th pounds; does that mean it would take roughly the weight of a thousand Planet Earth in volumes of The Inspector General to contain a googol of words?

      • By: gregblood Posted: November 22, 2020

        Not exactly. Gogol used many of the same words in other plays and short stories that he used in The Inspector General. I would estimate it to be more in the area of 120 planet earths by volume. But there were also many billions of word that he KNEW, but never used in his writings. That brings it down to only 3 planet earths by volume. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to clear that up.

        • By: Scooter Posted: November 22, 2020

          And presumably because his prose is so dense it takes up less space.

  4. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: November 22, 2020

    That is a massive amount of geese! Googol Air Traffic Control must have major collision avoidance issues.

  5. By: The Navigator Posted: November 26, 2020

    That is very impressive! I have a co-worker that has an amazing tally of the number of times she’s been shat on by birds. Like 5 times as many incidents as anyone else I know. I think she would have been very nervous in that setting.

    • By: Scooter Posted: November 27, 2020

      Interesting metric to keep track of, a lifetime record of avian strafings. I think I’m holding steady at well under ten, but I haven’t kept a good record.

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