[Question] Fermi Challenge: Trains and Air Cargo

Jacob (Jacob) and I are giving each other Fermi estimates to complete.

  1. From Ben: How many miles of train tracks exist in the world?

  2. From Jacob: How many metric tons of air freight cargo shipped globally in 2009, and in 2019 (either by commercial airlines or specialized freight companies)? (Final score will be average of those scores.

Whoever is the furthest from the truth (in log space) loses.

The deadline is Monday 12th October. You are welcome to participate.

If you submit a Fermi estimate as an answer (not comment) to this post, it will be scored. If you submit for both and would like them both to be scored, your scores will be averaged.

This thread has the following rules which you must obey or else your answers/​comments will be edited/​deleted.

Rules for this thread

  1. All analysis of the question must be in spoiler tags (how do I do that?)

  2. You’re only allowed to use numbers you don’t need to Google.

  3. No object level analysis is allowed outside spoilered text.

  4. If your comment contains the answer, or if you know the true answer, make sure to mention this outside the spoilered text.

If you’d like an example of what that looks like in practise, see this and this thread. The first thread is especially good, where only whitelisted things are allowed outside of the spoiler text.

This is what spoilered text looks like! Your comment should mostly look like this, except for some metadata at the start so people can make an informed choice about whether to read your comment.

Why do this?

Last week Jacob ran the babble challenge. More than 20 users joined to practice their creativity by coming up with 50 ways of sending something to the moon.

This challenge continues in the same spirit. We want to build a culture of practice on LessWrong. A place where you users can come together, push the limits of their abilities, and grow stronger as rationalists. This is an experiment in that direction.