Thursday, January 12, 2006

A Math Lesson From Dr. Bartlett

This 57 minute video is perhaps the most important lesson (on any subject) anyone might take. "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function, " says Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and then proceeds to prove it in this highly entertaining lecture on the effects of exponential growth on finite resources, and the ignorant, carelessly inaccurate way that politicians and the media refer to supplies of energy. The formulas are simple and easy to grasp, even for a being as averse to orderly systems like mathematics as Chaos. It is the application of the principles to our growth-oriented economy, however, that is so devastating. Bartlett demonstrates that our primary problem is overpopulation and the resulting depletion of resources:

"Can you think of any problem, on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way, aided, assisted, or advanced by having larger populations at the local level, the state level, the national level, or globally?"

Food for thought.

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