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Estimated World Population to Pass 6,666,666,666 Today 645

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the you're-special-and-unique-just-like-everyone-else dept.
suso writes ""The estimated population of the world will pass 6,666,666,666 today. No doubt an interesting number for people everywhere (not referring to any religion connotations). 5,555,555,555 was passed about 14 years ago. You may not realize that only 80 years ago, the population of the Earth was only around 2 billion. This shows how the population of the world has increased at an alarming rate in recent times, although the growth rate is almost half what it was at its peak in 1963, when it was 2.2%. Unrelated but also an interesting coincidence, the estimated number of available IPv4 addresses is getting very close to 666,666,666. It should cross over today as well.""
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Estimated World Population to Pass 6,666,666,666 Today

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  • An update (Score:5, Informative)

    by suso (153703) * on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:53PM (#23353450) Homepage Journal
    The two counters just crossed over each other about 10 minutes ago (2:42:36pm EDT). I estimate that the population counter will reach 6 repeating at approximately 11:30pm EDT.
    • by CSMatt (1175471) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:56PM (#23353500)
      6 repeating? How do you have 2/3 of a person?
    • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:19PM (#23353856) Homepage Journal
      Didn't that put a dent in things? I don't want to be crass but the disaster in Burma isn't even countable. I know they can do estimates and such but major events like Burma should be accounted, are they? What about Iraq?

      Besides, whats the fear? Its not like this planet cannot support double that if not more. Do people realize just how much arable land is not in use? Hell on my recent 1600 mile trip to and from Ohio I can tell you this, this country is empty in many spots and I am sure it is in others. Hell I know there are substantial areas of Europe that are essentially empty. Yeah there are villages and towns nearby but its not like we even try to exploit the lands we have. Look at Africa! How much of that is still like America of a hundred if not two hundred years ago?

      One thing I have learned in my short time on this planet. Every doomsayer's predictions of over population and food shortages comes to nothing. We always shift how things are done and accommodate it. If we didn't we would not be here today. Food shortages are all the rave now but forever in our history some groups have been short of food but this is how we progress. If the population cannot create more food then it supports less people. Its a horrid fact of life but it happens. We actually do very well in this day and age from allowing nature to takes its course.

      It all comes down to need. When the need arises we always step up.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Agreed. Wake me up when the rest of the world reaches the population density of Japan.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I'm not sure if near 100% land utilization is such a good idea.
      • by Waffle Iron (339739) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:36PM (#23354112)

        I don't want to be crass but the disaster in Burma isn't even countable. I know they can do estimates and such but major events like Burma should be accounted, are they? What about Iraq?

        IIRC, somewhere in the neighborhood of 200,000 people are born and 100,000 die every day. The Burma disaster and/or the Iraq war would throw off the count by only a few hours. The bigger issue is that the entire count is just a gross estimate.

        Besides, whats the fear? Its not like this planet cannot support double that if not more.

        Some estimates say that will happen. Then what? What if everyone in the world manages to raise their standard of living to US levels? Then you'd need to find resources at 5X or more the rate we're currently using. Have you checked commodity prices lately?

        Hell on my recent 1600 mile trip to and from Ohio I can tell you this, this country is empty in many spots and I am sure it is in others.

        The problem is water, without which all that space will stay just as empty as it is now. We're already mining it out of aquifers that are drying up, and we're diverting so much from surface sources that it's causing problems downstream.

        • by Arccot (1115809) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:35PM (#23354964)

          Besides, whats the fear? Its not like this planet cannot support double that if not more.

          Some estimates say that will happen. Then what? What if everyone in the world manages to raise their standard of living to US levels? Then you'd need to find resources at 5X or more the rate we're currently using. Have you checked commodity prices lately?

          That's what I'm afraid of. There simply isn't enough resources for everyone in the world to live like a middle class family in the US, and production isn't increasing as fast as population growth or standard of living.

          Something has to give, and it's going to be within 25 years. The standard of living is going to start coming down in the US and other highly developed countries, due to demand for resources worldwide.

          Sort of some miraculous deus ex machina technology is needed ASAP. Or we'll end up in a world war over resources.
        • Zero Growth Rate (Score:5, Insightful)

          by dreamchaser (49529) on Friday May 09, 2008 @05:26PM (#23355530) Homepage Journal
          If everyone raised their standard of living to about what the US and most of Europe enjoys then population growth would slow dramtically. Most developed nations are either losing population slowly (barring immigration) or just maintaining steady levels.

          The better the standard of living, the fewer babies people have. Google around and you'll see plenty of studies to that effect and plenty of theories why that is.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hammerwing (970401)
        "Besides, whats the fear? Its not like this planet cannot support double that if not more. " This is crazy short sighted. 80 years ago the planet had ONE billion people. We'll have 7 pretty soon. So another 20,30 years, we'll either hit the theoritical limit or have billions of people dying every year to prevent us from getting there. Sounds real pleasant. At least it won't happen in our lifetimes. Oh, wait, it will.
      • by plague3106 (71849) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:51PM (#23354332)
        Those empty spots in Ohio are called "farms." That's where we grow our food. If we reduce the empty space, we reduce the amount of food we can grow. Also, there's a big empty space a bit to the west where we can't grow food and is a bit lacking in water. It would be difficult to live there.
        • by lgw (121541) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:03PM (#23354510) Journal
          The total land area used for farming in America has decreased significantly over the past 50 years, and the total land area covered by forests has increased significantly as a result. Crop yields per acre are ridiculously high these days. The pollution created by agriculture is a potential concern if we needed more food, but the land area just isn't.
      • by Scrameustache (459504) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:18PM (#23354734) Homepage Journal

        Besides, whats the fear? Its not like this planet cannot support double that if not more. Do people realize just how much arable land is not in use?
        None. All land is used by the organisms forming its ecosystem. If we double the number of humans, we must destroy their habitat and convert it to our needs, and through that we destroy entire species, simply to spread as much as possible.

        Hell on my recent 1600 mile trip to and from Ohio I can tell you this, this country is empty in many spots and I am sure it is in others. Hell I know there are substantial areas of Europe that are essentially empty. Yeah there are villages and towns nearby but its not like we even try to exploit the lands we have.
        It is not empty. It is full of NATURE.
        Unexploited doesn't mean nonexistant.

        One thing I have learned in my short time on this planet. Every doomsayer's predictions of over population and food shortages comes to nothing. We always shift how things are done and accommodate it. If we didn't we would not be here today.
        What you haven't learned yet is that if the predictions are heeded and countermeasures are taken, tragedies are averted.
        The doomsayers had been saying for years that if a cat 4 or more hurricane were to hit New Orleans... but nothing was done.
        The doomsayers had been saying for years that if Haitians kept clearcutting the hills for fire wood... and their warnings fell on deaf ears.

        If you weren't so ignorant, you'd know about all the tragedies that were foretold, and all the ones that were averted.

        but its not like we even try to exploit the lands we have. Look at Africa! How much of that is still like America of a hundred if not two hundred years ago?
        [...] We actually do very well in this day and age from allowing nature to takes its course.
        Hypocrite.
  • by SkankinMonkey (528381) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:53PM (#23353464)
    looks like ipv4 is the antichrist, three times over...
  • by doubtless (267357) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:55PM (#23353482) Homepage
    Slashdot comments passed the 66,666,666 mark, and CowboyNeal was passed over by 6,666 women.
  • by Daniel Weis (1209058) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:56PM (#23353504)
    Did you know that 6 to any power other than zero produces a 6 in the resulting number?! It's just as arbitrary as this...
  • by blind biker (1066130) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:57PM (#23353508) Journal
    ...when is it that we're totally screwed?
  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:57PM (#23353520) Homepage
    Come on slashdotters, we can make it
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Friday May 09, 2008 @02:57PM (#23353524) Journal

    You may not realize that only a 80 years ago, the population of the Earth was only around 2 billion.
    I think it was in Billions and Billions by Carl Sagan that I was first exposed to this idea that poverty and illiteracy could be linked to high birth rates. Since then I have read articles by Paul and Anne Ehrlich as well as Collapse by Jared Diamond. I had been exposed to the Chinese way of economically pressuring citizens to have only one child. I ignorantly thought this was a form of extreme fascism.

    But a key difference at that time was I was still Catholic.

    One of many reasons for divorcing myself from Catholicism was its stance towards birth control. Iâ(TM)m not talking abortion (or âoebaby killingâ as some of them like to refer to it)â"Iâ(TM)m talking about preventative measures like condoms and Plan B. For some reason, the Vaticanâ"the organization that is the Catholic Churchâ"took it upon itself to stop the use of preventative measures. In pre-industrial times, this may have been advantageous to a religion and even a people. However, as it stands now this attitude results in a powder keg leaving the populace open to drought, famine, disease and brutal warfare (probably as a result of the famine) to keep the human population in check. Just look at the enterovirus (EV71) in China [google.com].

    I think a lot of the responses are going to be along the lines of what Iâ(TM)ve said so far; that if we donâ(TM)t start to pay attention to population and think of non-intrusive non-immoral ways to keep it in check then weâ(TM)re in some serious trouble. Instead, Iâ(TM)d like to relay some views Iâ(TM)ve heard from people quite close to me on this issue. Iâ(TM)m not sure if this will become a political issue in the near term but I know that, at least in the United States, there are people with conflicting views.

    A close friend of mine who is a Christian and a bit conservative voiced concern that the United Statesâ(TM) population growth is lagging behind many other countries. Many of the Western countriesâ"such as those in Europeâ"are also lagging behind those of Muslim nations like Turkey and several others in the Middle East & Africa. He claimed (or âoefear mongeredâ if you will) that if the current trend continued the end state of the world would most certainly be Muslim Dictatorships everywhere. I would like to quickly point out that I do not share his ideas in this Christian Vs Muslim war he believes has been going on since the crusades. I am merely relaying what many conservative Christians in the world are probably subconsciously thinking.

    Now just last week my uncle sent me an e-mail that was along his thinking of people should have to have a license to have children. They should have to pass tests demonstrating they can provide food shelter clothing water all the basic life necessities before they can start to procreate. This would require a source of income to sustain a child ⦠he also has said that criminal record and health history should be taken into consideration. He linked an unfortunate story [foxnews.com] and was perhaps half joking.

    Are either of these ideas the future? Is the idea of a procreation license issued by the state an unfortunate reality? Is it my friend wrong to push to close the âbirth rate gapâ(TM) between West and East?

    Personally, all I can do is rail for education worldwide for all and, with that, the power to do what is right for us and the future of our children.
    • Iâ(TM)d like to say â"great postâ", but somehow Iâ(TM)ve found I canâ(TM)t focus on the âbirth rate gapâ(TM) discussion therein. Weâ(TM)d all appreciate it if your future postsâ(TM) punctuation was âoevalid HTMLâ ⦠thanks.
    • First thing I thought about while reading that story on Fox news was the movie Idiocracy [imdb.com]. It's becoming more of a reality (horror) movie than a comedy/scifi/adventure movie.
  • by jamesl (106902) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:10PM (#23353754)
    Tomorrow Phrenology. Coming soon: Tea Leaves, Entrails, Astrology and Tarot Cards.
  • by pembo13 (770295) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:15PM (#23353808) Homepage
    But considering how distracted and divided humans still are, the earth will likely fix this load we are putting on it's resources. It has been known to erase lives hundreds of thousands at a time. In the USA alone there is a super volcano about due, and a few plate movements are overdue. A lot of people take issues with the population control methods utilized by the Chinese -- how much more densely populated would China be without those measures? What's point of a new bouncing baby girl if there isn't enough food available to feed her?
  • Good thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Cabri (13930) * on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:19PM (#23353876) Journal
    I resent people who are stating that 5, or 6, or 7 billions is too many and that the growth of world population should make us worry. I would like to point out that, compared to the era when world population was less than 1 billion, the average life expectancy, quality of life and, yes, access to ressources and opportunities has dramatically increased for our species. How far is the time when a single pandemic, natural disaster or mass migration would wipe out a third of a continent population and make whole civilization disappear from History ? Notwithstanding the current price fluctuations that call for natural adjustments in production and distribution systems, REAL hunger, the one where the basic intake of food necessary for survival simply isn't available within reach, has been reduced to cases relatively limited in scope and mostly due to geopolitical circumstances rather than natural resource limitations.
    • Re:Good thing (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jIyajbe (662197) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:30PM (#23354890)
      A man fell from the top of the Empire State Building. As he passed the tenth floor, he said to himself: "I've fallen 92 floors, and haven't gotten hurt. I guess this wasn't dangerous after all!"
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mab_Mass (903149)

      Your argument is specious.

      As the population grows, the use of natural resources increases. The point at which you start using resources past the sustainable limit will come a lot further than the point of massive starvation, etc. In the short term, doing things like clearing forests and irrigating can yield wonderful results. The trouble is that these practices can lead to topsoil erosion and saline soils.

      If you wait until the mass starvation are imminent, it is WAY too late to do anything to stop

  • by multipartmixed (163409) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:23PM (#23353932) Homepage
    ..God is a sixist bastard!
  • by Drakin020 (980931) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:29PM (#23354020)
    And here I just read a story today that some lady is having her 18th baby.

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D90I4TN00&show_article=1&catnum=0 [breitbart.com]

    Yes this is really helping things out....
  • by mlund (1096699) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:33PM (#23354054)
    I'm not really worried about this number.

    The actual "global population" is a big number that people wave around for dramatic effect. It is so far divorced from the realities at hand that it's a joke.

    "Over population" is relative to the boundaries constraining that population. If the global population drops but the population of China continues to increase then the burden of "over population" in China continues to escalate. Of course, there isn't an "over population" problem in China proper - there is a problem with Population Density near the cities the Chinese Military Dictatorship cares about.

    It reminds me of how dedicated coastal city-dwelling folks complain about urban sprawl and population control from their high-rises and college dorms in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles. Take a trip out to New Mexico or Arizona some time. Visit Wyoming. There isn't a lack of land - you just can't to be away from your precious urban island. The idea of lacking having a neighborhood Starbucks, of not being able to slip down to the bistro and meet with your vegan friends to complain about the soulless carnivores, of maybe needing to own a gun - these things are so unthinkable to some.

    We've got room in the U.S.A. folks - no need for the current generations to go all "0 population growth" fanatic on us. That negative reproductive rate isn't helping Europe either - they are just importing more immigrants and more unsustainable reproduction in the exporting nations fills the gap. Meanwhile, they are having serious problems assimilating their immigrant population and in some ugly cases (Londonistan, some suburbs of Paris) losing their domestic tranquility and culture in unprecedented fashion.
    • by MadUndergrad (950779) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:41PM (#23355044)
      Having land to stand on isn't the problem. The problem is resources. People need food, water, fuel, electricity, building materials, plastic and metal for their toys, etc. Water especially is a big issue. We're living on borrowed time and resources right now.

      From wikipedia: "The Ogallala Aquifer is being depleted at a rate of 12 billion cubic meters (420 billion ft3) per year, amounting to a total depletion to date of a volume equal to the annual flow of 18 Colorado Rivers. Some estimates say it will dry up in as little as 25 years. Many farmers in the Texas High Plains, which rely particularly on the underground source, are now turning away from irrigated agriculture as they become aware of the hazards of overpumping."

      Once the Ogallala is depleted, we're going to be facing another dust bowl. We're going to be increasingly relying on desalination in the future for our fresh water, and that's quite energy intensive. This drives our energy usage up even more. Once our fossil fuels run low, where do we get the energy? We're going to have to seriously expand nuclear and renewables to cope. Empty desert doesn't do much to solve these problems.
      • Water Resources (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mlund (1096699)

        Having land to stand on isn't the problem. The problem is resources. People need food, water, fuel, electricity, building materials, plastic and metal for their toys, etc. Water especially is a big issue. We're living on borrowed time and resources right now.

        To be fair, New York, Los Angeles, and Boston have been "living on borrowed time" in terms of resources for centuries now. Our oldest, largest settlements were built as ports - none of their surrounding areas can feed their population.

        We're going to be increasingly relying on desalination in the future for our fresh water, and that's quite energy intensive. This drives our energy usage up even more.

        You know, nature has been engaging in desalinization for a long, long time in the water cycle. We're running a water surplus in the U.S.A., but we don't pay much attention to the distribution methods. Heck, we let our water reserves evaporate regularly. Storage and distribut

  • Do not worry... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by little1973 (467075) on Friday May 09, 2008 @03:34PM (#23354084)
    ...many people will die soon as the energy crisis hits. Energy usage and world population have a very close correlation. Do not forget that the energy we use (fossil fuels) was produced millions of years ago. It is essentially free, we just have to use it. Any other method which requires us to produce energy will be more expensive (unless something marvellous happens, but I do not think so).

    Less energy means smaller population. The future does not bode well for us.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      .many people will die soon as the energy crisis hits.
      Well, thank *you*, Little Miss Sunshine.

      The future does not bode well for us.
      Oh, cheer up. It's nearly Christmas.

      What? It's not. Oh. Cheer up anyway. Grand Theft Auto 4 is out, and it is neat.
  • In tonight's top story, people are fucking.

    Film at 11^H^H^H^H^Hall over the Internet.
  • by vorlich (972710) on Friday May 09, 2008 @04:10PM (#23354630) Homepage Journal
    The Earth as a managed system can easily support 18 billion people and all the other plants and animals.

    Just wanted to mention this before slash dot fills with Casandra's whom I last heard whining about the population explosion (yeah that old pile of horse manure, when really they were worried about the population explosion amongst the great unwashed) after Alvin Toffler published his rather popular but well dodgy Future Shock.

    According to that we were actually all dead now.
  • No worries! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Nullav (1053766) <`moc' `at' `liamg.valluN'> on Friday May 09, 2008 @08:41PM (#23357248)
    That means the world population is only ~4,310,251,930 in Europe.
  • Alarmist reporting (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lewko (195646) on Saturday May 10, 2008 @02:31AM (#23358882) Homepage
    This shows how the population of the world has increased at an alarming rate in recent times.

    People are having kids. Exactly why is this "alarming"?

The bomb will never go off. I speak as an expert in explosives. -- Admiral William Leahy, U.S. Atomic Bomb Project

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