If our planet suddenly turned into an Earth-size pile of blueberries, things would start exploding. This is science.
Specifically, it’s the conclusion of a juicy paper submitted to the preprint server arXiv on July 27. (Papers on arXiv have not yet passed through the peer-review process or been published in journals.) The author, Anders Sandberg, a computational neuroscientist with a broad research portfolio at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, addresses the problem — originally posed on the website Stack Exchange — in thorough, blueberry-bursting fashion.
Sandberg’s paper aims to answer the question, “What if the entire Earth was instantaneously replaced with an equal volume of closely packed, but uncompressed blueberries?” In doing so, Sandberg makes a key assumption: The Earth turns into “big, thick-skinned highbush blueberries” and not “wild, thin-skinned blueberries.”
That turns out to be a big deal: The bigger, thick-skinned blueberries would have a lot more space between them when Earth spontaneously transformed into the evenly spaced blueberry pile. And, in Sandberg’s model, that space would be filled with air — air that would start doing some very interesting things very quickly