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Topic: [math-learn] Re: The world's biggest problem? Too many people
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Richard Hake

Posts: 1,248
From: Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Registered: 12/4/04
[math-learn] Re: The world's biggest problem? Too many people
Posted: Jul 23, 2011 2:02 PM
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Some subscribers to Math-Learn might be interested in an OpEd "The
world's biggest problem? Too many people" <http://lat.ms/p4rOFa>
[Harte & Ehrlich (2011) that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of 21
July 2011.

Q. What's "Too many people" got to do with Math education?

A. "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to
understand the exponential."
Albert Bartlett

Harte & Ehrlich wrote [bracketed by lines "H&E-H&E-H&E-. . . ."; my CAPS]:

H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E
. . . . .[[The general neglect of the over-population problem in the
media]]]. . . . pretty much reflects the appalling state of U.S.
public education today on population. THE U.S. APPROACH TO POPULATION
ISSUES ACROSS ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT, IN TERMS OF SUCH THINGS AS
EDUCATION, ATTACKS ON FAMILY PLANNING AND TAX DEDUCTIONS FOR
CHILDREN, IS AN EXERCISE IN THOUGHTLESSNESS . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
Globally, the effects of overpopulation play a part in practically
every daily report of mass human calamity, but the word "population"
is rarely mentioned. Wildfires threaten ever more people because
expanding populations are moving nearer and into forests. Floods
inundate more homes as populations expand into floodplains. Such
extreme events are stoked by climate change, fueled by increasing
carbon emissions from an expanding global population.

Overpopulation is also fueling desertification and further
deforestation around the world. We can dream of drastically
decreasing overconsumption by the wealthy, but even realistic
potential decreases are voided by sheer human numbers in all
countries, rich and poor. Our unsustainable population levels are
depleting resources and denying a decent future to our descendants.

What to do? Stop the denial. PERPETUAL GROWTH IS THE CREED OF A
CANCER CELL, NOT A SUSTAINABLE HUMAN SOCIETY.. . . . . . . . WE CAN
DO MANY THINGS TO SOLVE ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROBLEMS,
BUT EACH IS A LOST CAUSE IF WE CANNOT BRING OUR POPULATIONS DOWN TO
SUSTAINABLE LEVELS.
H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E-H&E

The L.A. Times states that "Mary Ellen Harte is coauthor of 'Cool the
Earth, Save the Economy' [Harte & Harte (2008)]. . . . [[FREE!
download at <http://www.cooltheearth.us/download.php>.]]. . . . .
Anne Ehrlich <http://bit.ly/n90kf8> is a senior research scientist at
Stanford University. John Harte and Paul Ehrlich contributed to this
piece. All are biologists involved in the study of climate change and
sustainability.

BTW - John Harte is the author of two great books on estimation:
"Consider a Spherical Cow" [Harte (1988)] and "Consider a Cylindrical
Cow: More Adventures in Environmental Problem Solving" [Harte
(2001)]. These are valuable complements to Sanjoy Mahajan's (2010)
excellent "Street-Fighting Mathematics."

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University
Honorary Member, Curmudgeon Lodge of Deventer, The Netherlands
President, PEdants for Definitive Academic References which Recognize the
Invention of the Internet (PEDARRII)
<rrhake@earthlink.net>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~hake>
<http://www.physics.indiana.edu/~sdi>
<http://HakesEdStuff.blogspot.com>
<http://iub.academia.edu/RichardHake>

"A SELF-EVIDENT TRUTH: If any fraction of the observed global warming
can be attributed to the actions of humans,then this, by itself,
constitutes clear and compelling evidence that the human population,
living as we do, has exceeded the Carrying Capacity of the Earth.This
situation is clearly not sustainable.
As a consequence it is AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH that all proposals or
efforts at the local, national or global levels to solve the problems
of global warming will have little lasting effect if they fail to
advocate that we address the fundamental cause of global warming
namely overpopulation."
- Al Bartlett <http://www.albartlett.org/>


REFERENCES [All URL's accessed on 23 July 2011; some shortened by
<http://bit.ly/>.]
Harte, J. 1988. "Consider a Spherical Cow." University Science Books,
Amazon.com information at <http://amzn.to/nAok7d>, note the
searchable "Look Inside" feature.

Harte, J. 2001. "Consider a Cylindrical Cow: More Adventures in
Environmental Problem Solving" University Science Books, Amazon.com
information at <http://amzn.to/nBwV5y>, note the searchable "Look
Inside" feature.

Harte, J. & M.E. 2008. "Cool the Earth, Save the Economy." "About the
Book" by the authors is at <http://bit.ly/oQNhx4>. Only available as
a 4.2 MB pdf FREE! download at
<http://www.cooltheearth.us/download.php>.

Harte, M.E. & and A. Ehrlich. 2011. "The world's biggest problem?
Too many people: Our unsustainable population levels are depleting
resources and denying a decent future to our descendants. We must
stop the denial." Los Angeles Times OpEd, 21 July 2011; online at
<http://lat.ms/p4rOFa>.

Mahajan, S. 2010. "Street-Fighting Mathematics: The Art of Educated
Guessing and Opportunistic Problem Solving," MIT Press, forward by
Carver Mead, publisher's information at <http://bit.ly/ghF5XY>.
Amazon.com information at <http://amzn.to/olDT31>, note the
searchable "Look Inside" feature.






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