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108 Billion

12 Aug

Gideon_inhabitantsGeorge Johnson is looking for an estimate of how many humans have ever lived on Earth. The answer: 108 billion.

I was stunned by the magnitude of the number. It is still common to hear that more people are alive today than have ever lived. Or an even more extreme claim: that 75 percent of everyone who ever walked the earth is living today. If the Population Reference Bureau is correct, the proportion of living to dead is only about 3 percent.

Stunning, yes, and enough to make me feel a bit constrained.

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I should just call this the "podcast demolition derby" blog. There days most of my epiphanies start with a podcast on a shuttle to or from work. Today’s jolt: Paul Ehrlich‘s argument about the population bomb, back to Julian Simon‘s counter-argument, and now…fuck me if I know.

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