Tag Archives | Population

How Did We Get to 7 Billion from 1 Billion People in Just 200 Years? (Video)

Via NPR:

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West. U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century.

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Mysterious Drop In Mosquito Numbers

Photo: Arthur Chapman (CC)

Photo: Arthur Chapman (CC)

Is this a good or a bad thing? Incidents of malaria are reduced, but there are less people to test treatment on. Via BBC News:

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are disappearing in some parts of Africa, but scientists are unsure as to why.

Figures indicate controls such as anti-mosquito bed nets are having a significant impact on the incidence of malaria in some sub-Saharan countries.

But in Malaria Journal, researchers say mosquitoes are also disappearing from areas with few controls.

They are uncertain if mosquitoes are being eradicated or whether they will return with renewed vigour.

Data from countries such as Tanzania, Eritrea, Rwanda, Kenya and Zambia all indicate that the incidence of malaria is dropping fast.

[Continues at BBC News]… Read the rest

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Food Ark: Will Seed Banks Save Our Sources of Food?

“Experts estimate that we have lost more than half of the world’s food varieties over the past century”. Charles Siebert writes in National Geographic:

Svalbard Vault Mountain (Cutaway). Illustration: Global Crop Diversity Trust

Svalbard Vault Mountain (Cutaway). Illustration: Global Crop Diversity Trust

A crisis is looming: To feed our growing population, we’ll need to double food production. Yet crop yields aren’t increasing fast enough, and climate change and new diseases threaten the limited varieties we’ve come to depend on for food. Luckily we still have the seeds and breeds to ensure our future food supply — but we must take steps to save them.

Six miles outside the town of Decorah, Iowa, an 890-acre stretch of rolling fields and woods called Heritage Farm is letting its crops go to seed. It seems counterintuitive, but then everything about this farm stands in stark contrast to the surrounding acres of neatly rowed corn and soybean fields that typify modern agriculture. Heritage Farm is devoted to collecting rather than growing seeds.

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Woman Is Mayor And Only Resident Of Nebraska Town

Monowi

Monowi, Nebraska. Population: 1.

Via Reuters:

Elsie Eiler is the most admired person in Monowi, Neb. She is also the smartest, wealthiest, best-looking and youngest.

“We probably have the record by going down in population 50 percent,” Eiler quipped. “I chose to stay here after my husband died. It’s home.”

“And the oldest,” she is quick to add.

When you are the only resident of a community, every title fits.

Eiler, 77, is the lone inhabitant of Monowi, a village in northeast Nebraska. That is unique, according to new 2010 U.S. Census data, which indicates Monowi to be the only incorporated town, village or city in the country with only one resident.

Monowi had two people in 2000, the census showed, but the other one was Eiler’s husband, Rudy, and he died in 2004.

[Continues at Reuters]… Read the rest

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India’s Population Reaches 1.21 Billion

800px-ATP_conferenceThe world’s population has had a rapid increase in the last decade, but India takes the cake. With the 2011 census updated, India’s population reaches 1.21 billion. BBC reports:

India’s population has grown by 181 million people over the past decade to 1.21bn, according to the 2011 census.

More people now live in India than in the United States, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan and Bangladesh combined.

India is on course to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation by 2030, but its growth rate is falling, figures show. China has 1.3bn people.

The census also reveals a continuing preference for boys – India’s sex ratio is at its worst since independence.

Female foeticide remains common in India, although sex-selective abortion based on ultraso

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Humans Were Once an Endangered Species

Lin Edwards writes on PhysOrg:

EndangeredHumansScientists from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City in the U.S. have calculated that 1.2 million years ago, at a time when our ancestors were spreading through Africa, Europe and Asia, there were probably only around 18,500 individuals capable of breeding (and no more than 26,000). This made them an endangered species with a smaller population than today’s species such as gorillas (approximately 25,000 breeding individuals) and chimpanzees (an estimated 21,000). They remained an endangered species for around one million years.

Modern humans are known to have less genetic variation than other living primates, even though our current population is many orders of magnitude greater. Researchers studying specific genetic lineages have proposed a number of explanations for this, such as recent “bottlenecks”, which are events in which a significant proportion of the population is killed or prevented from reproducing. One such event was the Toba super-volcano in Indonesia that erupted around 70,000 years ago, triggering a nuclear winter.

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Gingers (redheads) extinct in 100 years

Via news.com.au:

Redheads are becoming rarer and could be extinct in 100 years, according to genetic scientists. The current National Geographic magazine reports that less than two per cent of the world’s population has natural red hair, created by a mutation in northern Europe thousands of years ago.

Global intermingling, which broadens the availability of possible partners, has reduced the chances of redheads meeting and producing little redheads of their own.

It takes only one red-haired parent to produce ginger-headed babies, but two redheads obviously create a much stronger possibility.

If the gingers really want to save themselves they should move to Scotland. An estimated 40 per cent of Scots carry the red gene and 13 per cent actually have red hair.

Some experts say that redheads could be gone as early as 2060, but others say the gene can be dormant for generations before returning. National Geographic says the gene at first had the beneficial effect of increasing the body’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight.

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