Thursday, April 30, 2020

The Measure of Success

how to use a logarithmic graph to flatten a curve

One of the truly useful sites I have used over the years is Worldometer.  If you are writing a speech and you want to quote how many computers were made that day or that year, or you want to talk about how much energy was used by humankind and how much was given to us by the nuclear reactor located on the other side of Venus and Mercury, this site is for you.  So, you may not know this, but a few weeks ago, somewhere around April 14th, the number of people living here on earth hit 7,777,777,777.

Now I knew this was happening, and being a bit of a numbers nut, I really wanted to see it happen.  I looked at the counter on Sunday and saw that it was 7,777,300,000 something and knew that since humankind grows about 250,000 a day it would be a couple of days yet.  I told my cousin in Seattle that Seven Day was coming, but at that time Seattle was patient ground zero for Covid 19, so I doubt if it made much of an impression on her. Somehow, I missed it by about 100,000.

It took a long time for us to get to a billion folks.  According to Wikipedia:

"It is estimated that the population of the world reached one billion for the first time in 1804. It would be another 123 years before it reached two billion in 1927, but it took only 33 years to rise by another billion people, reaching three billion in 1960. Thereafter, the global population reached four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987, six billion in 1999 and, by some estimates, seven billion in October 2011 with other estimates being in March 2012.[3]

It is projected to reach eight billion by 2024–2030.

According to current projections, the world's population is likely to reach around nine billion by 2035–2050, with alternative scenarios ranging from a low of 7.4 billion to a high of more than 10.6 billion.[4]  Long-range predictions to 2150 range from a population decline to 3.2 billion in the 'low scenario', to 'high scenarios' of 24.8 billion."

Obviously, projections vary a lot because of fertility models.  But it also depends on resources too. Most contemporary estimates for the carrying capacity of the Earth under existing conditions are between 4 billion and 9 billion. Depending on which estimate is used, human overpopulation may have already occurred. But using the 9 billion number, we have perhaps 15 years before we reach our so-called carrying capacity.

Perversely, that's about the date when climate change mitigation efforts will need to be in place if we hope to have a chance of avoiding significant disruptions.  It's estimated that about 250,000 humans will lose their lives from Climate Change every year in the very near future. 

This from Live Science:

"In the coming decades, more than a quarter-million people may die each year as a result of climate change, according to a new review study.

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that climate change would lead to about 250,000 additional deaths each year between 2030 and 2050, from factors such as malnutrition, heat stress and malaria.

But the new review, published Jan. 17 in The New England Journal of Medicine, said this is a "conservative estimate." That's because it fails to take into account other climate-related factors that could affect death rates — such as population displacement and reductions in labor productivity from farmers due to increased heat.

In the last 50 days or so, we have lost almost 250,000 humans to the Pandemic.  On the 2nd of April, I posted on Facebook that if the United States doesn't get its act together, the current global numbers for Covid 19 of 1,000,000 cases and 50,000 deaths will be our numbers before May Day.

Now, 27 days later, the US mortality numbers for April 29th are 1,064,000 cases and almost 62,000 deaths.  Meanwhile,  the models for the future are all over the place.

Yet our leadership spouts this:

"On a day when the nation’s death toll of covid-19 neared 60,000 and 26.5 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits, President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner called the administration’s response a “great success story."

“The government, federal government rose to the challenge,  and this is a great success story."

I'm wondering what challenge old puss face is referring to.

And what is his measure of success.

For these are not just numbers,

Statistics are people without the tears.

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