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?