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marnixR
Post  Post subject: childhood's end  |  Posted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 7:46 pm
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i recently re-read this SF story by Arthur C Clarke

most of the story is the same as what i remember it to be, but the first chapter, which in the original was set in the context of the early 50s space race between the Soviet Union and the United States, had been rewritten so that it was a joint effort for a manned flight to Mars + set in ther here and now (or thereabouts anyway)

the one thing that made me sit up though was the fact that Arthur C Clarke had left in the original figure of 2.5 billion for the earth's population - oversight or what ?

it definitely brought into sharp focus that the earth's population has trebled in a mere 60 years, something that could easily pass you by as you live your life from one year to the next

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 1:04 am
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That is pretty jaw dropping. Estimates say we'll level off somewhere around 9-9.5B (and potentially even begin to decline a bit) as we arrive at 2050. Anyone know why population wouldn't just keep growing?

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marnixR
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 6:30 am
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it's a well-known fact that when women are allowed to take control over whether and when to have babies, they tend to go for smaller families
also, as people's affluence increases, having children becomes more of a burden (in an attempt to try and give them the same or a better lifestyle than what you've had) rather than the insurance against child mortality and support in later life (someone to look after you in your old age)

whatever the reasons, it's been noticed that people who are more affluent tend to have fewer children, something that's been noticed in many countries where fertility rates have dropped substantially - in fact, the only continent where rates are still high is Africa

the following article is a highly enlightening one :

World Population Decline

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 3:18 pm
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Nice. Education seems to be a key variable, too. More reading, less breeding. :D

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Falconer360
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Mar 31, 2016 4:47 pm
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iNow wrote:
Nice. Education seems to be a key variable, too. More reading, less breeding. :D

That needs to be a national slogan for sex ed!

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Snafuperman
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 4:14 am

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I'm older than the rest of you so I really like Arthur Clarke's SF novels, probably more so than the younger generation. You know, no gratuitous sex, violence, or language. No spaceship chases. No shoot-outs. You know, real science employed by the story. ;) Childhood's End is not my favorite of his but I still like it a lot.

Clarke has been dead for 8 years. Did someone else butcher the first chapter? I can't believe Clarke would have allowed it. I can't believe that whoever owns the right to it would allow it. I won't compare Clarke's works to great literature but surely there is some sort of ethics violations here.

Oh wait . . . money was probably involved. That'll do it.


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 4:22 am
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Clarke, Asimov, Philip K. Dick... The list goes on.

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Snafuperman
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Wed May 25, 2016 4:30 am

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marnixR wrote:
. . . the earth's population has trebled in a mere 60 years, something that could easily pass you by as you live your life from one year to the next

Yes. There is going to be some real pain on this planet, caused by over-population. War, riots, disease, extreme hunger going into famine. I don't believe that the world will do anything to control the population but it will be controlled. When it's too late.

I think the perfect number of people on Earth would be about 1 billion. Enough to support a high-tech world but not enough to deplete the Earth's finite resources until the far future.

The machine entities in the movie The Matrix really had it right about humans -- we are like a virus.


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Lynx_Fox
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2016 1:00 am

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Not sure where the comments about population are coming from. There's little need to control population when small families are already being freely chosen by free women in developed nations to the point where they are near to neutral or even negative population growth. It's also somewhat of a misnomer to the poorest people in the world for having number of children, when overall a single kid in a developed nation, such as the US, puts more pressure on ecology of the planet than ten of their kids.

I do agree a billion people would probably be a nice round number to truly sustainable planet--but barring an unimaginable and unlikely disaster that won't happen this century.


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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:10 pm
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iNow wrote:
Estimates say we'll level off somewhere around 9-9.5B (and potentially even begin to decline a bit)

Well that's not right. We ought to cross ten billion at least briefly, to say we've done it.


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shlunka
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:20 pm

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Pong wrote:
iNow wrote:
Estimates say we'll level off somewhere around 9-9.5B (and potentially even begin to decline a bit)

Well that's not right. We ought to cross ten billion at least briefly, to say we've done it.
But imagine how much more special you'll feel with a planet of only 9.5b as opposed to 10. I think negative growth in developed nations is more important than positive growth in developing nations.

Developed nation child resources: Phone, car, gas, clothes, food, water, electricity, schooling, excess.

Developing nation child: food, water, (Optional: clothes, electricity, schooling)

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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:45 pm
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Negative growth due to low birthrate is also a problem. You get a disproportionate number of elderly, requiring care. Who pays for this? And in the culture of developed countries, who wants to do it?


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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:48 pm
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Pong wrote:
Well that's not right. We ought to cross ten billion at least briefly, to say we've done it.

Lol... It's amazing how fascinated we are with groups of ten and how they somehow get perceived as cleaner... a more important numerical milestone (likely has something to do with the random evolutionary selection for 5 fingers/toes on each limb, 10 total on our bilaterally symmetric bodies).

On the population peak number, we could instead get all numerological and do 9,999,999,999, just because that would be cool for completely arbitrary reasons, too. :lol:

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iNow
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 2:57 pm
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Pong wrote:
Negative growth due to low birthrate is also a problem. You get a disproportionate number of elderly, requiring care. Who pays for this? And in the culture of developed countries, who wants to do it?

Japan provides an excellent current case study in exactly this problem.

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shlunka
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:41 pm

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Pong wrote:
Negative growth due to low birthrate is also a problem. You get a disproportionate number of elderly, requiring care. Who pays for this? And in the culture of developed countries, who wants to do it?

It's a temporary problem that can be addressed adequately and without permanent effects on the environment. While it's a very real and unfortunate consequence I believe the positive effects of negative population growth far outweigh this quibble.

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Pong
Post  Post subject: Re: childhood's end  |  Posted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:33 pm
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I speculate that each country will adopt its own unique solutions, and that globalization may rather polarize the asymmetries.

For example Westerners (this is harsh:) are not very caring, so when we need care we contract (oh dear, very harsh:) maternal women from developing countries. A pattern emerging in Canada is for seniors rightly appalled by understaffed retirement homes to remain in houses sized for nuclear families, requiring a stream of work-visa caregivers coming and going.

There is a stigma against adult children living with parents, and tradition that offspring should want their own homes presumably to found their own independent nuclear families, and so forth. This is entrenched in the economy, yet it's poorly suited to a zero-growth scenario. Most of Vancouver city is actually taken up by half-empty single-family houses, neighborhoods deadset against density, why we squeeze high-rises to accommodate the real-estate have-nots. The Filipino girls live stacked up in those high-rises, each day spreading out to service elderly empty-nesters or push strollers through the quiet tree-lined neighborhoods. This pattern is not fading; it's intensifying.

Japan has no tradition of importing care. But on the other hand the culture is fairly caring. Still they look seriously to robots for a solution. Housing, ironically, will not become all lop-sided as in Vancouver, because Japanese at any stage of life do not expect a large house with garage basement attic and spare rooms all filled with stuff. I predict they will shuffle family members among their already cramped quarters without stigma, and want only a corner of the carport out front to park the Honda Asimo.

Minorities within a zero or negative growth environment may become demographically ambitious, so long as they feel underrepresented. See Israel struggling to restrain a rising demographic of Muslim (Palestinian) citizens, lest they attain democratic influence. In Canada I know Native girls who were brought up to believe raising many of their own Native children a tribal duty. These generations are going to law school and they're serious about reclaiming their lands now that colonization has run down. An expanding network of pseudo-autonomous nations grows in British Columbia. I tend to root for the underdog but I also worry their victories will lead to greater asymmetries.

Okay, that's enough wild speculation.


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