from the world's big
Is 10 Billion Mankind's Limit?
What's the Big Idea?
At TEDxSummit 2012, Hans Rosling predicted that mankind’s population threshold will be 10 Billion people. His talk was entitled Religion and Babies, as his goal was to find the correlation between the two, which in fact, is non existent. He reasons that it is not religion that affects how many children a woman has, but the economic climate of her country. He shows a timeline of these variables proving his point: as a country diminishes its level of poverty, birth rates follow.
With this in mind, he forecasts that birth rates can only decrease in developing worlds, and gravitate towards the numbers we see in developed worlds. Extrapolating on this, he concludes with a simple demonstration, illustrating how he envisions the world’s population to behave: with the old dying out and making way for the new, in a repetitive cycle that hovers around 10 billion people worldwide.
Watch the video here:
What’s the Significance?
Based on his data, Sir Hans makes a very sound argument (and his GapMinder software and wry humor always make for an entertaining talk). However, he is missing a crucial aspect to the equation: the unpredictability of the future.
The information available us today is merely a small piece to the puzzle. Sure we can forecast some expectations based on the data we currently have, but this being the case, one of our expectations should surely include an increase in human longevity. Chief Science Officer at the SENS Foundation (an anti-aging science lab and think tank), Aubrey De Grey firmly believes we will have found the cure to aging by 2020. The feasibility of fighting death has been echoed by many others in the field of biotechnology and the anti-aging communities, and would surely impact Rosling’s prediction.
Watch the video here:
While this might sound like science-fiction to many, look at how dramatically different the world is only 10 years back. We could not have imagined some of the things that are currently mainstays of our lives today. To say anything 10 years from now is ridiculous would be a ridiculous claim in and of itself. Not only does De Grey’s work potentially conflict with Rosling’s argument, but Elon Musk has made his intentions for Space X clear: he wants to make life multi-planetary, and Space X has the wheels in motion to put a man on Mars in the next 10 years (see video below). Crazy to some and inspiring to others, these are paradigm shifts that totally preclude us from talking about the future with any type of certainty. These both may be radical ideas, but we are living in radical times.
This article is not intending to bash on Rosling’s prediction as, first and foremost, it is more than rational to expect a decrease in child rates, with global poverty ceasing in the coming years thanks to technology and innovation. However, forecasts always need to be taken with a grain of salt. The future of our world is filled with black swans, which by their by their very nature will profoundly alter life as we know it. Creating visions for our future is how we progress, improve, and evolve, but If we can be certain of anything it is that we know very little about the possibilities of tomorrow.
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Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.