Post by Michael F. Stemper Post by Robert Carnegie
So the current population of Earth is 7.8 billion. Using planetary
growth factor of 2.6% is (1.026)^100 * 7.8e9 = 101,585,256,208 people.
Wow. That is a lot of people. And a lot of flavored soy.
Is anything else alive on Earth outside zoos, except
for the people and the soy? And we only have the
author's word for it that it is soy.
I did think of that one, though I didn't remember the title.
As I say, it is "that one". Isaac Asimov "calculated that
at the then-current rate of human population growth,
doubling every thirty-five years, that would be the year
when the world's animal biomass would consist entirely
of human beings. Asimov wrote the story on April 26, 1970,
but it was rejected as 'Think' had actually wanted a story
that refuted the quotation.[*] ("Well, they never said so,"
Asimov remarked later.) Asimov wrote a second story that
did refute the quotation" - later that afternoon, I suppose. ;-)
I'm not clear what H. G. Wells's Martians eat when
people aren't available, but another earlier case is when
_Skylark Three_ obtains supplies at a planet which
synthesises matter, including food:
"quarter after quarter of fresh meat going into the freezer
room from a planet upon which no animal other than man
had existed for many thousands of years."
At least I assume it's synthesised! :-)
[*] J. N. Priestley, _Thoughts in the Wilderness_ (1957) [**]:
"Between midnight and dawn, when sleep will not come
and all the old wounds begin to ache, I often have a
nightmare vision of a future world in which there are billions
of people, all numbered and registered, with not a gleam of
genius anywhere, not an original mind, a rich personality, on
the whole packed globe."
I'm not clear what Priestley is unhappy about, there.
In the [**] quoted longer passage, he seems to be complaining
about governors who are only competent administrators.
But we see from time to time what happens when people
in charge are not.
Then again, the competent administrators in _Brave New World_
come to mind.