Monday, January 01, 2007


Don’t worry, it’s not you.

SFWILLIE’S BLOG’s first annual Person of the Year awardee doesn’t have a name or face. But he or she does have a number. Our Person of the Year for 2006 is American #300,000,000.

He or she was born in or immigrated to the United States in 2006.

The roundness of the number is a story in itself, like an odometer turning 100,000. You say, “Wow!” Then you think about lunch.

What makes this the story of the year and hence American #300,000,000 our Person of the Year is the alarm sounded about population growth. [The Census Bureau has a neat website. ]

The U.S. Population reached 100,000,000 in 1915.

It reached 200,000,000 in 1965.

It reached 300,000,000 just a few months ago in 2006.

A person born in 1915 would be about 90 or 91 years old today, so it’s not impossible that we could gather all in one place, Americans #100,000,000, #200,000,000, and #300,000,000.

This explains why I’m so damn cranky. Things REALLY ARE more crowded. Life TRULY IS shittier.

According to Census Bureau projections, U.S. population will reach 400,000,000 in approximately 2043.

I guess we all have to scrunch over.

So American #300,000,000 reminds us of a non-transient, non-horse-race global political issue. As population increases and resources are used up, ecological disruption and political struggle will render human life on earth if not extinct, certainly way less fun.

Some of our best scientific minds recommend colonization of space. Pud points out that we can’t even afford to deport our illegal aliens across a shared border, “I’m sure we’re gonna like, send them to Mars!”

Face it, our species is earthbound, at least for all practical purposes. Efforts to peacefully and voluntarily control the earth’s human population are pretty much futile. Resources are finite, especially our atmosphere’s ability to deal with heat and other byproducts of consumption.

Hopeless? No. Miniaturization is the solution. What’s important is a species’ total biomass, which equals total population times average size per individual. The consumption of resources is a factor of biomass, not of numerical population.

Take seagulls and staph aureus (bacterium). There are probably billions of staph aureus bacteria in any given city, and they go unnoticed. Put billions of seagulls in even the largest city and people are going to say “We have too many seagulls.”

Since we can’t control the number of humans, let’s control their size. “Nano” used to be hot, now it’s necessary.

If bioengineering can reduce the average size of humans to that of, say, ants, there will be plenty of food, water, and fresh air for many centuries to come right here on earth. There is no reason to think that the experience of being human can’t be just as good if not way better at that reduced size.

Sci-fi? Pud says all sci was once fi. Pud asks, “Can you say 'annihilation'?”

This needs to happen in just a few generations. Time’s a-wasting.

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