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<   No. 2181   2009-01-15   >

Comic #2181

1 Head Death: ALL RIGHT, ENOUGH CHATTER. START PROCESSING THEM.
2 Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs: BUT SIR, IT'S EVERYONE.
3 Death of Insanely Overpowered Fireballs: FROM ALL OVER THE UNIVERSE. FROM EVERY TIME PERIOD IN HISTORY. EVERYONE.
4 Head Death: YOU HAVE SOMETHING BETTER TO DO?

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One wonders who sweeps the Infinite Featureless Plane of Death clean.

Actually, would it gather dust?

It'd probably be something like Cantor Dust.


2021-06-20 Rerun commentary: If we restrict things a little and just consider Earth and human beings over all of history: How many people is that?

This is a question that many have pondered. It depends on your definition of "human being". Since we evolved from similar beings who shared many of our physical and mental traits, and because the definition of "species" is necessarily fuzzy, it's not easy to draw a dividing line. Also, estimates of population at various points in history (including right now) are necessarily just that: estimates.

But that hasn't stopped people from calculating it as best we can. Modern estimates of the total number of humans who have ever lived are around the 100 billion mark, or around 13 times the current world population. Which means, yes—as often stated—the dead on Earth outnumber the living by more than ten to one.[1]

Even though humans (defined as the species Homo sapiens) have existed for approximately 200,000 years, for most of that time the global population was relatively small, and it only reached 1 billion around the year 1800. So the total count is dominated by recent history, which means that the estimated total is only affected by a relatively small amount by uncertainties of population or cutoff date in the distant past.

All that said, I sure wouldn't want to do the paperwork for 100 billion people.

[1] Although the vast majority of those dead who outnumber the living have decayed well beyond any recognition and are in no state to rise as zombies. Although I suppose they could become ghosts.

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