December 29, 2012

The deaths of 2012.

Wikipedia provides a very extensive, day-by-day list of the names of the notables who departed this year. Many others died too. Do you have any idea how many? And by the way, do you know the answer to the question whether there are more human beings alive right now than there are dead — total dead from the species homo sapiens?
The world population hit 7 billion last year, and the number of people who have ever lived is around 107.7 billion. But what about the future? [Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau] said the percentage of people ever born who are still living may increase.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that 55,530,627 human individuals have died in 2012, but there's some clearly false specificity there, considering the additional statement that 1.8 human beings die every second. The stream of humanity is continually refreshed, though, as 4.2 babies arrive. It's impossible to individually mourn the millions who have died. Even if you did nothing else with your life, you could not properly acknowledge even one person per second, shortchanging the .8. How many died while I was clumsily framing that last sentence? And what have I done with myself, each second, as 1.8 persons die? Enough to deserve my place among the 7 billion, the 7 billion, each of whom has his death second, waiting ahead, somewhere in the next 300 million seconds?

But the notables. Let's scan the list of notables. Most of these names, if I've seen them before, I don't remember. There are so many, even among the notables, that I can't trouble myself to read all the names. Riccardo Schicchi, 59, Italian pornographer, renal insufficiency... Sophie Firth, 3, English child actress (Emmerdale), multiple organ failure from blood infection... I try to read the list, and I can't. I give up. Then I realize I'm only looking at the list for December. The notables merge with the non-notables, the 50+ million dead of 2012. Meanwhile, 134 million have joined the temporary festival of life. Who on earth are they?

10 comments:

ricpic said...

If for no other reason I'm putting off dying to piss off the Gaia worshippers.

Panachronic said...

107.7 billion... since when?

When did person #1 live? And why was the person who died just before #1 not counted as a homo sapiens?

I smell some seriously imprecise guesswork here.

gadfly said...

Could this be like Rapture in reverse? All the good people get classified as dead and the rest of us are still in this Hell.

Humperdink said...

@Panachronic. I think it's a given these are only estimates.

Leland said...

My wife is a house supervisor for the nearby hospital. If you want a grasp of the number of deaths a day, talk to someone like her. She attends all the codes during her shift. She doesn't tell me about all, because there is simply too many. And this hospital has much less traffic than the county hospital.

deborah said...

40,000 men and women every day, come on baby, don't fear the reaper.

edutcher said...

They don't mention the great old character actor, Harry Carey, Jr.

We also lost RG Armstrong.

Because they did most of their work in TV (and Westerns), they won't get a mention.

john said...

I would like to see a bar chart of age of death versus occupation. In December at least there seemed to be a lot of football players dying before 60.

OTOH, I saw no deaths of famous geologists in December. I take that as indicating we are all long lived, and not that none of us are famous.

pj (lowercase) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron Zemo said...

Abe Vigoda will live forever!