The Seven-Billion-Person Question

The Seven-Billion-Person Question from Carl Bialak, “The Numbers Guy,” at the Wall Street Journal.

From the post:

My print column examines the numbers underlying the designation by the United Nations of Oct. 31 as 7 Billion Day — the day when the world population will hit that milestone number.

Unlike its approach to the equivalent milestone 12 years and a billion people ago, the U.N. won’t be naming the seven billionth inhabitant of the planet. Instead, the agency is calling for hundreds of newborns to take the mantle, by encouraging all countries to identify their own seven billionth baby. The Canadian magazine Maclean’s recently tracked down Adnan Nevic, the designated No. 6,000,000,000, who receives attention each year on his birthday for his achievement but whose Bosnian family has trouble making ends meet.

Personally I thought they should have auctioned off the right to pick the seven billionth inhabitant on eBay. Only countries allowed to bid and hard currency as a requirement.

And since we may cross the 7 billion line several times (due to wars, natural disasters, people who lost in the bidding, etc.), an auction could be held each time.

As the post points out, the counts are more in the nature of weather forecasts. If you don’t like the forecast on one channel, simply change to another one.

The UN hasn’t called (ever) so I can’t suggest the eBay solution to them.

Perhaps I should write a topic map of political advice I would give if asked so that if a political body calls I won’t fumble around to find all the advice I have for them.

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