Stories tagged huge numbers

May
23
2011

The difference, really, is negligible.
The difference, really, is negligible.Courtesy NASA
The signs were all there. Exploding melons. Numerological nonsense. It all added up to the obvious conclusion that the apocalypse was happening on Saturday, May 21. And so I spent the day standing on my roof, naked except for a cat-filled backpack, to make the rapture go more smoothly.

And yet ... at the end of the day, there I remained, sunburned, wet, and with a very angry cat on my back. What went wrong?! It was all there! It all made sense! But where were the crashed cars? Where were the half-eaten Kraft dinners? Where were the out of bounds shuttlecocks, and the badminton racquets dropped in mid-swing? How could math have betrayed us so. Math, the universe's most boring and reliable tool. Math, the rubber mallet of the cosmos. Math, why have you forsaken us? Where was the two hundred million-person elevator into the sky?

But wait! With a little thought, and the easiest of math, I came to a realization! The End of the World™ happened after all, we just didn't notice it!

You probably don't think about it that much, but there are, like, a ton of people on the planet. Like a billion. No, like seven billion (6.92 billion, to be precise). That is a huge number! Humans are a big deal precisely because there are so many of us! It's like Growing Pains says: we got the world spinning right in our hands!

Let me show you something:
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Now let me show you something else:
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Notice the difference? No? That's because the second group of i's has only 3% fewer i's. 200,000,000 raptured people are only 3% of the world's massive population! Slightly less, even! No wonder why we didn't notice them missing. I mean, of the 5,303,925 people in Minnesota alone, only 159,117 are gone now. That's like the St. Cloud metro area. No offense if you're still there, St. Cloud, but would we even notice it missing? Has anyone checked on St. Cloud in the last couple days?

So, what I'm getting at is that everything went just as planned. Even though we're at a paltry world population of 6.72 billion people right now, with our current growth rate of about +80 million a year, we should be back up to last Friday levels in just two and a half years! Nothing to worry about! (Except the energy, food, water, and waste issues that come up on a planet with seven billion or more people. But still. Hooray!)