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L. Neil Smith's
Number 797, November 16, 2014

Ignorance is no longer an excuse

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Re: "Getting The Lead Out" by MamaLiberty

Excellent article, but I saw one thing lacking:

You can be tested for lead exposure any time your Doctor is drawing blood. The test is covered by most insurance companies, and the worst down side is that you will face some questions about what your exposure is from the Dr (and from your state if it comes back over a certain level). I highly recommend anyone who shoots a lot on an indoor range, or reloads using cast bullets (or casts their own) to have this done at least occasionally.

Best regards,

Jeff Colonnesi

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Dear Editor,

In his excellent essay "Democide Is Painless," which title reminds me of the theme song to the film M*A*S*H ("Suicide Is Painless"), L. Neil Smith makes what appears to be a mathematics error. He writes, in part, "...the entire population of the Earth could fit into Texas—allowing an acre of land apiece for each individual..." which does not seem to be correct.

For example, wikipedia lists the area of Texas as 268,581 square miles on this page:

With 640 acres per square mile, there are 171,891,840 acres in Texas. Some 2.5% of that surface area is water, but houseboats work just fine in the canals of Holland, and would also work on the coast of Texas.

The coast of Texas is 3,359 miles long, and the United States claims an exclusive economic activity zone out to 200 nautical miles, which gives us 3,359 x 200 x 1.15 = 772,570 square miles of sea surface, for an additional 494,444,800 acres. Together, land and sea, these figures combine to 666,336,640 acres.

Bombay has a population density of about 84 persons per acre. Using the combined land and sea surface area for Texas, we would only need to have a population density of 10.5 persons per acre to accommodate 7 billion humans. Using only the land surface of Texas we get up around 41 persons per acre. That's still quite a ways from an acre per human, at a population of 7 billion.

In the 1960s, as an exercise in design, Buckminster Fuller is said to have provided architectural design ideas that would accommodate the entire population of Earth, then around 3 billion, on the land surface area of the Galapagos Islands, just under 2 million acres. That would be 1,500 persons per acre. So, Neil's point is completely correct—the population of Earth fits very well on the surface of the Earth, without even having to build very tall buildings, mine into the upper mile of crust, build cities on or under the oceans, or develop habitats in the atmosphere using lighter-than-air systems.

What is the carrying capacity of Earth? There are schools of fish in the Pacific Ocean that have tens of billions of individuals in them. Why shouldn't Earth have tens of billions of humans? And why should Earth be the only home for humanity? We don't actually live on a planet, we live in a Solar System—we already get most of the energy used on Earth by plants and animals from the Sun, every day. There is no box around the planet limiting our choices.

One aspect of human population is individual initiative. Another aspect is individual productivity. With three billion humans, there were only a few million persons of genius. With seven billion humans, there are more than twice as many—not to mention the Flynn effect which indicates an increase of 3 IQ points per decade going back as far as tests measuring IQ have been performed, about a hundred years. With seven billion people, we have better total production, more total wealth at our disposal, we are feeding a much higher percentage of the population, we are feeding people better foods, we are seeing more inventions, we are lowering the cost not only of living but of thriving, and we are much more than twice as well off, by any measure. We are better off economically, we are better off technologically, and we are doing much more today to keep the environment clean, and to clean up problems from the past than we were fifty years ago.

Personally, I like people. I am better off with more people around. So are you.


Tyrone Johnson

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