12 August 2009

What's it all about?

Someone once said that the World would be a better place if everyone just stayed in their room. That brings to mind one of my favorite musicals, the movie version of Paint your Wagon with Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin that came out in 1969. There is a song in the movie called "A Million Miles Away Behind The Door" sung by the character Elizabeth played by Jean Seberg. The last part goes:

"No fears,
No fools,
No lies,
No rules,
Just doing with my life,
What life is for...
A million miles away behind the door."

Today I read on CNN I read that the world's population will reach seven billion by the year 2011. That means that there are around eighty-three million people being added to the world every year over and above the number people who die or who are aborted (China alone aborts thirteen million babies every year). The population of New York City is around 8.3 million, so in other words there are the equivalent of about ten "New York Cities" added to the world on a yearly basis. My, oh my, but that is a hard thing to grasp. I tried to put the number in perspective and that's when things got weirder and weirder. I started playing around with the calculator.

The state of Texas has an area of 268,820 square miles.
7 billion people divided by 268, 820 square miles is 26,040 people per square mile.
There are 27,878,400 square feet in a square mile.
27,878,400 square feet divided by 26,040 people is 1,070 square feet per person.
The square root of 1,070 is about 33.

This means that every person on Earth could have a personal space 33 feet square and it would all fit within the boundaries of state of Texas. If you have a family consisting of 6 people that would mean that you have just about half an acre of space. I know that this seems hard to believe but you can do the math yourself. Hey, then it gets even weirder. I found out that the average volume of the human body is about three cubic feet. Follow along with me:

7 billion people times 3 cubic feet is 21 billion cubic feet.
The cube root of 21 billion (21,000,000,000) is 2,758.92 or in other words a cube that is about 2759 feet on each side or just over a half mile on each side. This means that you could put the entire population of the world in a box that is one half mile wide, one half mile long, and one half mile high. If you set this box on the rim of the Grand Canyon and pushed it off it would fall into the Canyon and disappear from sight. So I guess there aren't that many people after all.

The thing is that about information like we now get from the news media it almost overwhelming. When I read about this supposed population problem I can just imagine a wide eyed Wolf Blitzer with a wrinkled brow and a worried voice asking President Obama what he is going to do about it. I can also imagine the jackals and hyenas on Fox news in a feeding frenzy trying to cast the blame for excess population on the Liberals for their evil progressive ways. So what am I personally going to do about it? First thing, I think I will go clean my room. If everyone else would do the same perhaps we could make some sense out of the situation. In any case, it looks like there is plenty of room for everybody if could just learn to share. Hmmm, I thought we were supposed to learn that in kindergarten. At the very least we could stop aborting the babies! That would be the best place to start...sharing life itself.


Steve Cotton said...

The Hitlers, Maos, and Castros of this world always think they have the answer to their perceived population problem. Good for you for setting the record straight. People are an asset to this world, not an infestation. God requires us to be good stewards; certainly not to exterminate ourselves.

Leslie Harris (de Limon) said...

I for one took the words "Be fruitful and multiply" to heart! I wish more people thought like you. Dios te bendiga, Bob, hoy y siempre.

MxSailor said...

I have seen calculations like yours before, but with much smaller numbers, long ago, when "The Population Explosion" was on everybody's mind. Thanks for updating the math, Bob. Sometimes a handheld calculator is all the world needs to reduce stress.But 13 million babies a year? It makes Hitler look almost cuddly!

1st Mate said...

One of the songs I've really been enjoying singing is the Beach Boys' "In My Room." I've been in my room quite a lot lately, and I haven't added a bit to the world's strife.

But that image of the half-mile box gave me claustrophobia. Some of us may fit in three feet, some of us need a little more, or we start tearing our hair.

Know what's really sad about those 13 million babies? The great majority of them are probably girls. The next generation of Chinese boys is going to be lonely.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Thank you Bob. I started another media fast yesterday. It is just too much right now. Good for you and doing the math and setting the record straight.

Chrissy y Keith said...

Oh, and I love "Paint your Wagon" too.

GlorV1 said...

I will clean my room and I will share the fruits of our labor. I loved Paint your Wagon too. You really do a lot of reading Bob, I'm proud of you.

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I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. I have been living in Mexico since January 6th, 1999. I am continually studying to improve my knowledge of the Spanish language and Mexican history and culture. I am also a student of Mandarin Chinese.