'No one should be sleeping well tonight': WHO encourages fear of Ebola

The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to fight off the worst Ebola outbreak in years. Butembo, a major regional hub of 1 million people, has now had a confirmed death.

The World Health Organization is worried, and recommends you worry too.

Via HuffPo:

The Democratic Republic of Congo has confirmed its first Ebola death in the eastern city of Butembo, a trade hub with Uganda that is home to almost a million people. This first urban death, combined with ongoing violence in the northeastern outbreak area in DRC and some community resistance, is worrying experts that the slowing outbreak could still escalate.

Having already killed 87 people, this outbreak is close to becoming the eighth-largest Ebola outbreak in history. While officials have been pleased with the decreasing pace of cases and a successful vaccination and contact tracing campaign, this new case in an urban setting is worrisome, Peter Salama, the World Health Organization’s emergency response chief, told HuffPost.

“When you have an Ebola case confirmed in a city with 1 million people, no one should be sleeping well tonight around the world,” Salama said.

The patient traveled from the current outbreak hotspot, the town of Beni, 35 miles southwest, to Butembo after disregarding medical advice, Salama said. The patient died at a health facility there.

While WHO team members are on site and working to quickly trace and vaccinate those with whom the patient came into contact, the potential for further spread could “change the trajectory of the outbreak,” Salama said.

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Watch this cutting-edge presentation on world population

The late, great Hans Rosling presents entertaining global population information here, but equally remarkable is the 3D graphics package he uses in his lecture. Read the rest

Is overpopulation real or legend?

The folks at Kurzgesagt are decidedly in the camp that believes in the grand scheme of things, the "legend of overpopulation" is not a cause for concern. Their case is based on a four-stage theory of demographic transition in a country or region: Read the rest

200,000 years of human population growth in 5 minutes

The American Museum of Natural History's hockey stick graph of explosive human population growth in the last 200 years is projected to increase in the short term, tapering off around 11 billion, give or take several billion depending on a few variables. Read the rest

Map of the world divided into 7 regions, one for each billion inhabitants

I spotted this map on Twitter, showing the world divided into seven regions each of 1 billion people. The source appears to be National Geographic but it's not clear. (Update: it's be Reddit uset delugetheory)

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U.S. States ranked by population—over the last century

Who is that dark blue line shooting wildly upwards? To find out, you'll have to read Phil Edwards' explainer at Vox! Read the rest

Map shows where world's oldest and youngest populations live

The world’s 15 youngest countries are all in Africa.

Interactive map: World population by latitude and longitude

André Christoffer Andersen created this nifty interactive map that estimates world population at any coordinate. Read the rest

Interactive graphic of migration within US

Chris Walker created a fascinating interactive graphic of migration patterns within the United States. It's based on US Census Bureau's 2012 American Community Survey estimates. Here are a few insights that Walker gleaned: Read the rest

Census of the dead, in infographic form

Appfrica has a great infographic that looks at the number of Earth's dead humans and the causes of their deaths, and creates comparisons between the population of the dead and that of the living.

"How many people have ever lived?" The numbers in this piece are highly speculative but are as accurate as modern science allows. It's widely accepted that prior to 2002 there had been somewhere between 106 and 140 billion homo sapiens born to the world.

One interesting fact he digs up: There are more people currently alive in Asia, Africa and Latin America than the total number of people who died—anywhere, and for any reason—during the entire 20th century.

Appfrica: Population of the Dead

(Thanks, Maria Popova!)

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The dumbest thing I heard anyone say in 2009

As the year draws to a close, I find myself turning back to 2009 and to the highlights and lowlights of the year. For instance, the dumbest thing I heard anyone say all year: at the Battle of Ideas in London, I sat in on a panel on whether unlimited economic growth was plausible or desirable. On the pro side there was a man who argued:

1. The Bible gives man dominion over all the beasts and land and so forth

2. The world's per-capita GDP works out to about GBP5,000, which means that if we stop growing now and then redistribute things fairly, every human being will have to live on a mere £5 grand a year.

Hardly a day goes by that I am not freshly amazed by how dumb this presentation was. First of all, for a Biblical literalist, this guy was in serious trouble. He was working on a Saturday! He was wearing polycotton blends! He was clean-shaven! Talk about cherry-picking your scripture.

As to 2., man, how innumerate can you get? You don't find out what the average standard of living is by adding up all the world's GDP and dividing by 6.7 billion -- unless you adjust for relative purchasing power (five thousand pounds goes a lot further in Burkina Faso than it does in Knightsbridge) all you get is a totally meaningless number.

I'm sure there were dumber things said this year, but this was the stupidest utterance that took place in my hearing, by a wide margin. Read the rest