Date: Dec 16, 2012 7:40 PM
Author: Richard Hake
Subject: The Second Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race

Some subscribers to MathEdCC might be interested in a recent post 
"The Second Greatest Shortcoming of the Human Race" [Hake (2012c)].
The abstract reads:

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ABSTRACT: Among the "Twenty-eight Quotes Relevant to Overpopulation"
in my post "L.A. Times Population Report: Beyond 7 Billion - Fighting
the Last War?" [Hake (2012b)] at <http://bit.ly/TeOpJj> is one by
biologist Joel Cohen from his NYT piece "Seven Billion" [Cohen
(2011)] at <http://nyti.ms/SU6gFM>.

Cohen, in a masterful online talk "You are 25 100-Watt Light Bulbs,
Burning All Day" at <http://bit.ly/VI86rj> stated that: "If you have
3 people in a room and it gets warm, it's because they're generating
300 watts of heat - it's like having a 300 watt light bulb going on.
If you multiply 100 watts by 6.8 billion, the number of people on the
planet, you find that the whole power generation of the human species
is about 0.68 terrawatts - a terra watt is a lot of watts: there's
kilowatts, megawatts, gigawatts, and terrawatts - so that's a lot!"
. . . . .[[i.e., it's 10^3, 10^6, 10^9, and 10^12 watts]]. . . . .

According to Al Bartlett (2004) at <http://bit.ly/VpN2pm>:

"The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our
inability to understand the exponential function.". . . . . . . . . .
. . . . (1)

I would propose a corollary:

"The second greatest shortcoming of the human race is our
inability to understand the meaning of large numbers." . . . . . . . . . .(2)

See e.g. the You Tube video "Powers of Ten" <http://bit.ly/T0UyKM>
from the Eames Office.
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To access the complete 10 kB post please click on <http://bit.ly/T0nCk6>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Links to Articles: <http://bit.ly/a6M5y0>
Links to Socratic Dialogue Inducing (SDI) Labs: <http://bit.ly/9nGd3M>
Academia: <http://bit.ly/a8ixxm>
Blog: <http://bit.ly/9yGsXh>
GooglePlus: <http://bit.ly/KwZ6mE>
Twitter: <http://bit.ly/juvd52>

REFERENCES [URL's shortened by http://bit.ly/ and accessed on 16 Dec 2012.
Hake, R.R. 2012a. "L.A. Times Population Report: Beyond 7 Billion,"
online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/Ufro6y>. Post
of 5 Dec 2012 14:23:20-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and
link to the complete post are being transmitted to several discussion
lists and are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at
<http://bit.ly/YBNFUU> with a provision for comments.

Hake, R.R. 2012b. "L.A. Times Population Report: Beyond 7 Billion -
Fighting the Last War?" online on the OPEN! online on the OPEN!
AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/TeOpJj>. Post of 13 Dec 2012
16:14:29-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The abstract and link to the
complete post are being transmitted to several discussion lists and
are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at <http://bit.ly/W2EV8u> with a
provision for comments.

Hake, R.R. 2012c. "The Second Greatest Shortcoming of the Human
Race," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at <http://bit.ly/T0nCk6>.
Post of 15 Dec 2012 16:53:57-0800 to AERA-L and Net-Gold. The
abstract and link to the complete post are being transmitted to
several discussion lists and are also on my blog "Hake'sEdStuff" at
<http://bit.ly/TnRqHg> with a provision for comments. See also the
precursors Hake (2012a,b).