Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

A Jewish Proverb and The Onion, Part II

I recalled a quote possibly relevant to Part I from The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps by Marshall T. Savage:

The power output of the sun is 380,000 billion billion kilowatts. A true K2 civilization with average per capita consumption of three kilowatts, would number over 100,000 billion billion people. The population in the solar system will probably never climb to such staggering proportions. But a population of five billion billion within a thousand years is a real possibility.

It's hard to imagine such a population. For every man, woman, and child alive today, in a thousand years, there will be a population the size of China's. Just the descendants of the people in your carpool will be enough to fill an entire world. While the vision of your neighbor Ed—a guy who wears plaid ties and tells ‘knock-knock’ jokes—as the patriarch of a billion descendants is indeed chilling, there is an upside. Albert Einstein is the kind of human genius who only comes to us once in every ten billion births. That's about the total number of human beings whoever existed, living and dead. In the world of the future, at any given time, there will be 500 million Einsteins! There will be millions of Michelangelos, billions of Beethovens, trillions of Tennysons. Such a civilization will be awash in art, music, poetry, and science—all of immortal quality.


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