7 Billion People: How Near Is Overpopulation?
On October 31st, the United Nations estimates that the seventh billion child will be born. But people have worried about overpopulation since long ago. Are we approaching a threshold?
What's the Latest Development?
The United Nations estimates that the seventh billion child will be born this October 31st, bringing world population to its highest point yet. The international body had long thought that birth rates would level out at about nine billion around 2050, but now, as a result of steady birthrates even in developed countries, the world population is expected to reach ten billion by 2100 and continue climbing. Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson has called 'the pattern of human population growth' in the twentieth century 'more bacterial than primate.'
What's the Big Idea?
Concerns about overpopulation have been around for a long time, since at least the late 18th century when Thomas Malthus wrote that population would always be kept in check by 'inevitable famine'. How long can the planet continue to provide for an ever-increasing human population? "As many, including Bill Gates, have pointed out, just to keep per-capita food production constant in the coming decades will require a second 'green revolution'," the first of which increased food production by two percent every year from 1950 to 1990.
Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.
- Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
- At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Neuroscience research suggests it might be time to rethink our ideas about when exactly a child becomes an adult.
- Research suggests that most human brains take about 25 years to develop, though these rates can vary among men and women, and among individuals.
- Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments within the prefrontal cortex and other regions still take pace well into one's 20s.
- The findings raise complex ethical questions about the way our criminal justice systems punishes criminals in their late teens and early 20s.
Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?
- Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
- Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
- Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
A new method of growing mini-brains produces some startling results.
- Researchers find a new and inexpensive way to keep organoids growing for a year.
- Axons from the study's organoids attached themselves to embryonic mouse spinal cord cells.
- The mini-brains took control of muscles connected to the spinal cords.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.